Delta State: Another Dawn

BY TONY EKE
There is always a dawn in the life of man. There are also dawns in the affairs of a geopolitical entity. Both situations generate a new feeling, a conviction of a fresh course. It could be a man who has regained his lost strength. It could also be the discovery of a hidden treasure. A vital thing a man badly needs to revive his life.
A geopolitical entity like a state could be in a new dawn, or in another dawn. It is a threshold the people had looked forward to. It will inject fresh ideas and renew the life of the state. It is periodic but so critical to its survival. Quite strikingly, a state is like a haemorrhage patient. The former needs fresh initiatives to grow just as the latter requires plentiful blood infusion to stay alive.
Delta State:
Another Dawn
There had been two earlier dawns in the life of our beloved state. The restoration of democracy and periodic transition brought it all. Former Governor, Chief James Ibori, ushered in the first dawn which faded away in 2007. Thereafter, the departing governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, was enthroned amid anxieties, hopes and fears. Now, his era has receded into the womb of history. Any inference to the former helmsmen will be echoes from the past.
There is yet another dawn in our lives as citizens of Delta State. It is the third of such dawns since 1999, a peculiar dawn that the people had patiently waited for. A lot of our compatriots were somewhat doubtful about the certainty of this hope. They cannot be blamed because on most occasions dreams lack wings to fly into reality. Yet, it is real, very real about a brand-new governor being in the saddle from May 29, 2015.
We are in a momentous time, one inspired by the inauguration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the fourth governor of Delta State. But it goes beyond such literal significance. Okowa’s emergence represents a symbolic acceptance of Delta North senatorial district as an integral part of the state. Before now, some believed that it was perceived as an appendage, a mere entity which suffered deprivations that approximated to the hateful concept of “otherness” in postcolonial discourse.
Largely too, his election attested to the rise of a brand-new consciousness in Delta State where people seem more disposed these days to judge a politician by the worth of his vision other than the colouration of his ethnic roots. He is, of course, a worthy son of Ika, who alongside Enuani and Ukwuani, people the rich, prosperous land of Anioma. But that was hardly the consideration for his choice. The opinion leaders who wielded considerable influence in his election know him so well and could vouch for his integrity at all times. It underscores the solidness of his appellation as Ekwueme (one who fulfils what he had promised).
Our own Okowa has been vested with power and all its effervescent symbols of authority in Delta State. So, he has in his hands a somewhat intangible instrument which diligent mortals decidedly wield to produce tangible results. There is a likelihood of the new governor using power to greater beneficial end. His antecedents as a public office-holder speak glowingly of him. We are likely to see a governor who, though, embodies human frailty, would be humane in his dealings. He would unlikely fit into the class of politicians who sees power as a plaything to be used in an infantile manner or deployed indiscreetly with a cruel mindset.
Yes, the bestowal of authority on Okowa entails so much responsibility. The task ahead of him is by no means simple. As enormous as it seems, it can be overcome with tact, planning and prioritisation. First, he has to take stock of what is on ground as well as evaluate assets and liabilities to define the first year of his administration. Second, he has to overhaul the wheel of governance to make it more functional to his agenda. Third, he should appoint a crop of lieutenants with enviable capacity and knowhow to make a difference in policy conception and delivery to the delight of the citizenry. Fourth, he has to re-enforce Delta State’s internal revenue capacity in view of the dwindling revenue from the federal allocation caused by the low pricing of crude oil.
Okowa is relatively lucky to inherit a state with some level of development in the education and health sectors as well as human capital development where the Uduaghan administration largely performed well. He therefore has to consolidate on those areas and explore new frontiers to properly define and convey the reality of his vision.
What is expected of him is to hit the ground running once he is sworn-in. He would have no luxury of time because sooner than later, he will see the days roll into months and months into years which provide the template to assess whether a government had generated benefits or deepened the misery of the citizenry who by accidents of creation are massed in a particular clime.
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