The Secret Of Okowa’s Success

BY KINGSLEY AZUH
THE Nigerian economy has been wearing an ugly and disfigured look since the beginning of 2015. No thanks to dwindling oil prices at the international market.
It is a known fact that as a result of the increased domestic production of shale oil, the US slashed crude oil imports from a peak of almost 14 million barrels per day in 2006, to slightly above seven million barrels per day. Crude oil imports from Nigeria, one of the principal sources of light crude, were also slashed from more than one million barrels per day in 2010 to zero in July 2014.This figure is unprecedented since Nigeria started exporting oil about 40 years ago.
India has now become the highest importer of Nigerian crude oil. Unfortunately for the Nigerian ruling elite, India too is aggressively pursuing the extraction of Shale oil domestically. Nigeria earns over 80 per cent of its budgetary income and over 90 per cent of its foreign earnings from oil. The aggressive search for new markets and the intense competition from new oil/gas exporting countries like the US is already significantly putting pressure on the international price of oil; as if the loss of significant markets were not enough for Nigerian economy.
The importation of refined oil coming to Nigeria from the US rose from about 17 per cent to over 50 per cent currently. What we are witnessing is a reversal of the balance of trade in the oil sector; as crude oil to the US from Nigeria is reducing, the importation of refined oil from US is increasing. Nigeria therefore has been experiencing a significant fall in income, which has already reduced the allocation to different states of the federation by almost 70 per cent, subsequently; many states cannot pay their civil servants’ salaries.
Confirmed reports have it that many governors are regretting coming to power at this critical and ugly time in the nation’s history when the country’s economy is just waiting to be laid to rest. Investigation carried out revealed that some of the governors were genuinely in the race to better the lives of their people; construct and rehabilitate roads in their states, provide job opportunities for the army of graduates turned out every year from our various universities and other higher institutions, put in place an educational programme and curricular that will rejuvenate our schools for better performance, and provide security for the citizenry. Some of these laudable plans are just ending up as mere dreams in some states while some governors are going the extra miles to do something for their people.
The problem is that the masses seem not to be aware of these problems that are seriously confronting the entire nation; hence they are in a haste to see massive infrastructural development and economic transformation of the country, especially when the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government promised Change. The masses therefore want the president, the governors and other elected representatives to fulfil their electioneering promises without delay and by any means possible. Yes, they must fulfil their promises. The Nigerian masses of yester-years are not the masses of today. They can no longer be deceived by the rhetoric of politicians. In fact, the politicians of today are aware that it is no longer business as usual. The masses can no longer be fooled and deceived. This is the reason why many politicians lost woefully during the last elections because they did not have connection with the grassroots. They entered the race and failed in their various wards because they never had connection with their people at the grassroots. Their bags of rice, onions and N2000 for fish and other ingredients failed to secure victory for them.
My friend in Abuja told me last year how a sitting governor regretted coming to power at this stage of the nation’s economic woes and threatened to resign if his accountant-general continues to come home after every FAAC meeting with zero allocation. Unfortunately, the said governor is from the northern part of the country and a member of the ruling APC. This goes to show that everybody is getting the financial heat.
Some governors have even resigned their fate to providence, and concluded that they would not bother themselves with the payment of workers’ salaries or engage in project execution because it would only take their blood and life to do that.
To show the disgraceful stage of the economy, the action president, who in 1983 together with Tunde Idiagbon of blessed memory made Nigerians believe that they would have changed the nation for good if Babangida and his group did not stop them half way, is today finding it very difficult to fulfil his electioneering promises. The change has refused to come because of the mighty oil price that fell beyond expectation. Our amiable president has discovered that a critical change has overtaken his own change and the nation can no longer breathe well. Today, the problem of Nigeria has compounded the health condition of our president that he is now in London to recoup so that the problem of Nigeria will not kill him. I wish him speedy recovery.
This is the problem that is confronting the three tiers of governments, the federal, states and the local governments. There is really problem in the land and only those with administrative pedigree and God’s direction can restore the nation, the states and local governments to economic stability.
To be able to find solution to the economic problem, President Buhari has continued to hunt for those he alleged stole the nation’s wealth. The corruption war has been on since the president assumed office a year and 10 months ago, and the war is still dragging. It is the president’s hope that money recovered from the alleged treasury looters would help him fulfil some of his electioneering promises. Unfortunately the accused persons are still defending themselves at the law courts and until those cases are concluded, monies expected from those avenues may not come now. However, the president is still exploring other avenues like the hike in the pomp price of fuel, introduction of stamp duty fee, hike in electricity tariff and so many others. He travelled round the world begging the wealthy nations to come to our rescue, but no help is coming, even the mighty Barrack Obama that invited him immediately after his inauguration is no longer the US President and the new President, Donald Trump may not do anything since he made it clear that it is just America, America and America. In fact, it seems that everything is failing and Nigerians are crying and asking for the mighty ‘change’ that the president promised them. The truth is that it is not the president’s fault. To worsen the situation, all the places he puts his trust are failing him.
A local government chairman in one of the Western states employed native doctors (babalawos) to help him change the economic misfortune of his local government to economic viability. The said chairman spent millions of naira on babalawos, but the economic situation in the local government became more calamitous that he had to disengage them.
Today, many states are confronted with undeniable economic problems that people are today wondering if a brighter future is on sight. In many states, workers are owed salary arrears of eight to 10 months. Labour leaders are not resting on their oars to ensure that civil servants are not treated with levity. An attempt by Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State to retrench workers last year was met with serious confrontation by labour leaders.
Workers in many other states are either on strike or are preparing to embark on one. Sincerely speaking, it is not the fault of some of the states, but the economic meltdown. However, some are to blame because they were not prepared for governance, but were planted there by their godfathers who wanted to vicariously remain in office, though not directly controlling the affairs of the state, but remotely doing it. So, those imposed governors lack administrative competence to deal with the economic situation at hand, especially in the area of prioritising projects according to the immediate needs of the masses. Some have embarked on white elephant projects that run into billions of naira but carries no benefit for the masses. What matters to them is the 10 per cent that accrues to them. At the end, they cannot pay their workers and cannot complete those projects. The surprising thing is that some of the states owing eight to 10 months’ salary arrears have the lowest number of civil servants under their payrolls.
Again, the problem with some of them is that they trusted in their power and party might to turn things around, but all have failed them. That reminds me of the story of Jesus Christ and His disciples.The Holy Book tells a story of the tempest and billows that confronted Jesus Christ and his apostles in the sea. Jesus and His people were travelling when the winds and the waves struck, and according to the Bible, Jesus Christ was relaxing after the hard day’s job of healing and planning for the good of the people when the sea became restless. The sea was troubled and so were the boat and the followers of the Messiah.
As soon as the sea was troubled, the journey was no longer sweet and enjoyable as their hopes were being dashed that they might not complete the journey after all. They were still in this confused state when Jesus stood up and ordered the winds and the waves to cease, and the boat became steady and the journey continued successfully.
The world today is facing great economic and security challenges that many are wondering if the people would ever come out of this great storm of life.
People believe that our governor has the administrative competence to swim out of the troubled water of economic predicament, but he believes that he as a mortal being can do nothing and that the best thing to do is to hand over the affairs of the state to the Almighty God. Some people may see it from the physical point of view, but those who have the spiritual eyes see it differently. To them, Delta State is now totally in the hands of the Almighty God, and people should be watchful and careful with what they do with the state.
Those who are presently working to pull the state down for their selfish and parochial interests should have a rethink because the governor has cleverly and divinely handed over the state to the Almighty Jehovah.
The governor is wise to have handed the state over to God to take charge. Whatever is for God is for God and cannot be tempered with by human or spiritual lions. It is a statement of fact that it is only the Almighty God that can save Nigeria from the present economic problem. Those who understand the workings and mysteries of the Almighty God know that human knowledge without the blessings of God would amount to nothing.
The secret behind the success of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa is that he is drawing his strength from God Almighty, and this is why in spite of the economic predicament facing the country, he is still doing things that appear marvellous in the eyes of men. The projects he executed in the past one year and 10 months in office are unimaginable, unexpected and executed with the highest quality of materials to ensure that they stand the test of time. No wonder, an elderly woman lamented at Cable Point, Asaba that a new Ogbemudia has come. (Ogbemudia was a military governor in the defunct Mid-Western State that actually touched the lives of the rural dwellers through the construction of roads and provision of pipe -borne water).