The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governorship candidate for the 2015 governorship elections, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa kicked of his gubernatorial campaign at the Oghara township stadium, on Tuesday January 13, 2014, with the promise to review the Education curriculum in Delta state to lay more emphasis on Technical education, improve on the existing free health care for pregnant women and children below 5 years old by introducing a Health Insurance scheme, re-engineer the urban renewal program by developing an Urban City in each of the ten Federal constituencies in Delta state and create employment for the youths of Delta State through Agriculture and the up grading of the industrial initiatives of the Uduaghan administration.
The mammoth crowd that thronged the Oghara stadium, venue of the campaign flag off were galvanized into heightened frenzy when Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Okowa and his running mate, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro with their spouses arrived the venue at about 12.40 pm.
The event was kick started with the opening speeches by Chairman of the PDP Campaign council Professor Sam Oyovbaire, who welcomed the mammoth crowd to the event and of the two national leaders of the party, who spoke on behalf of the other leaders.
Chief Diepriye Alamiesigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State and Chairman, PDP Presidential Campaign Contact Committee, South-South, told the crowd that they must ensure the total victory of the PDP in all the elections from House of Assembly to the Presidency, adding that it was the turn of the South South any effort to deny President Jonathan of his second term must be resisted by the people of the South.
Alamesigha who was sent by the National body of the party noted thus; “We shall not allow that office (President) to be occupied by the opposition. It is the property of the South South for now”, a statement which was well received by the party faithful.
Dr. Steve Oru, Niger Delta Affairs Minister equally lent his voice to the call for massive votes for Okowa and the PDP but the real bombshell of the day came when Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, the South-South party chairman spoke at the occasion and while commending the state chapter for repositioning for victory, maintained that PDP was prepared for total victory.
Chief Ojugboh also passed a message to former members of the PDP who have defected to other parties to contest.
“We are giving anyone who has left the party 48 hours to return or they will be expelled from the party”, Cairo warned.
In his own speech, the state party Chairman, Chief Edwin Uzor said victory at the forthcoming polls would not be compromised, and while listing the achievements of PDP-led administration in the state since the return to civil rule in 1999, urged all Deltans to vote for Okowa/Otuaro ticket of PDP, President Jonathan and all candidates of the party during the elections, even as he emphasized that all eligible voters must ensure that they go and get their Permanent Voters card in order to participate fully in the elections.
And then the man of the moment Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa came to the podium and in his usual style, he sang a worship song to God, just like he did during his declaration rally.
Addressing the mammoth crowd of supporters, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, promised to consolidate on the gains of the Uduaghan administration while expanding the frontiers of industry, agriculture and health among others.
Preaching unity to Deltans, he pleaded that they vote for him massively to enable the prosperity he preached about to reach the whole of Delta State, even as he promised to build two more industrial parks in the State if elected as a governor, while making sure that the agriculture sector receive boost to enable Deltans have food on their table.
Sen. Dr Okowa promised to review the Education curriculum in Delta state to lay more emphasis on Technical education which will go side by side with other skill acquisition programs that will equip the youths to be gainfully employed, adding that his administration will empower every trained youth to ensure that he trains.
Dr. Dr Okowa promised to continue with the free health care for pregnant women and children below 5 years old, and citing the Ghana example, promised that his administration would send an executive bill to DTHA that will make Health Insurance compulsory for all Deltans.
Okowa further promised that the Health insurance policy would target 60% coverage of all Deltans in the scheme and this will provide greater, cheaper and more accessible health which would be easier to access for all Deltans.
In the area of Urban renewal, Sen. Dr Okowa promised to develop an Urban City in each of the ten Federal constituencies in Delta state, even as he stressed that of the 25 L.G.A headqurter in delta state, 24 were already connected by good roads network and his administration would use this as an incentive tobuild more roads. Okowa who promised to complete the Warri Industrial park added that he would build two more industrial parks in Delta state to compliment the good work already started by governor Uduaghan.
He thanked governor Uduaghan and former governor James Ibori for building a Delta where there are roads linking each other in the State, a feat which is not in other states in the country and while inspiring Deltans not to be deceived by the opposition which changes name and party every year to contest elections, emphasized that the unity of the PDP which had been built over the years by Governors Ibori and Uduaghan since the party was founded, must be maintained and consolidated as the party heads to the general elections.
Highpoint of the event was the event was the presentation of flags to party candidates in the three Senatorial districts, including the Senatorial flags to Senator James Manager, Delta South, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Central and Barr. Peter Nwaoboshi, Delta North.
Others who received the party flags were House of representatives and state House of Assembly candidates, including Hon. Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor (Aniocha Oshimili Federal Constituency), Engr. Emeka Nwobi (Aniocha North constituency, DTHA) and Erhiatake Ibori, daughter of former Governor, James Ibori (Ethiope West constituency, DTHA) amongst others.
Earlier, Senator Okowa and his running mate Barr. Kingsley Otuaro as well as Governor Uduaghan and PDP big wigs, had visited the Palace of the Ovie of Oghara, HRH Oyibo Eshemiatu, where they met with the royalmajesty and the Ethiope West Council of Traditional rulers.
Presenting the PDP gubernatorial candidate for the elections, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to the Ethiope West Local Government Area’s traditional rulers’ council at the Palace of the Ovie of Oghara, Governor Uduaghan said, “we have always won elections and we will win again because the PDP has a lot of things on ground to campaign with.”
Senator Okowa at the occasion said he will consolidate on the achievements of Governor Uduaghan and that of former Governor James Ibori administrations and assured the traditional rulers that when elected, he will continue with government partnership with them for the development of the state.
The Ovie of Oghara, HRH Oyibo Eshemiatu commended the PDP for its unity and hailed Governor Uduaghan for providing good leadership to the party.
Ovie of Mosogar, HRH Omene specifically said the traditional rulers have endorsed the candidature of Senator Okowa stating, “we are moving away from politics of ethnicity, we are moving to the politics of development and we know that Senator Okowa will ensure development when he becomes the governor.”
At the campaign rally at the stadium, Senator Okowa assured Deltans that his administration will continue to build bridges of unity in the state, asserting, “we will remain as one united Delta”.
CAMPAIGN TRAIN IN KOKO
Governor Uduaghan, who emphasized the need for the Ijaws and Itsekiris to live together in peace and harmony, used the opportunity to introduce the PDP Candidate for Warri North LGA, Hon. Michael Diden (Ejele) also told the people of how he discovered the Deputy Governorship candidate, Barr. Kingsley Oyuaro, whom he first appointed as the Chairman of the Delta Waterways committee, then nominated him as Commissioner in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC before he was finally picked as the running mate to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Speaking to the people, the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Okowa said that his governorship victory was the fulfillment of a prophecy that had been set when he became Director of Campaign to both Senator Patrick Osakwe, who became a Senator and Governor Uduaghan who became a Governor, reminding the people ofhow he stated during his primaries that Uduaghan will hand over to him and a particular medium (Vanguard Newspaper) and many had said he was boasting.
“I didn’t boast. I only knew that since I was the Director General of Patrick Osakwe Senatorial Campaign and when he was to leave the Senate; he handed over to me. Again on December 13th 2006, His Excellency called me to be his Director General, and again I knew that since I was his DG and he is leaving; he will also hand over to me”, he said.
Senator Okowa praised governor Uduaghan for providing an enabling ground for all aspirants to contest the primaries freely; unlike other states where they were still having problems and promised the people of Warri North that he will complete all ongoing projects in their domain while and ensure that employment would be created for the youths.
Okowa also took time out to praise the representatives from the area, Senator James Manager and Hon. Daniel Reyenieju, whom he described as seasoned Law makers that would bring quality representation and the dividends of democracy to the people.
He equally praised the contributions of Hon. Michael Diden (Ejele) to his campaign and overall victory, adding that the people of Warri North would be given special attention to show appreciation for the loyalty he had received for Hon. Diden.
“You are sending a special person as your representative to the House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Diden (Ejele). I can assure you that with Hon. Diden in the Delta Assembly, when you whisper; I will hear you”, he told them.
Below are more photos of the epoch making event.