By Chukwudi Abiandu
In this season of high wire political campaigns and effusions in the media the following intervention has become necessary if only as a means of helping readers whose minds are daily inundated with diverse political sentiments by persons and groups jostling to make impressions in their hearts and so get them to buy into and support the ideas they are espousing.
Of course, those espousing such opinions are entitled to them, and it is incumbent on us to concede that right to them. But beyond that it is also necessary to intervene if only to debunk some illogic they are passing around as truth and destroy the obviously misguided opinions they are bandying about. How on earth can anyone seek to make an issue out of what Senator Ifeanyi Okowa did as senator representing Delta North by accusing him of being lopsided in attracting dividends of democracy to his immediate constituency. To seek to make an issue out of this and use it to cast aspersion on the person of the senator and to blackmail him because he seeks to be governor of Delta State is repugnant and grossly unfair to Okowa.
Reason is that the writer and his sponsors missed the point in attempting to accuse Okowa of lopsidedness in attracting federal presence to his constituency. They pretend not to know that the fact they try to sell against Dr. Okowa as senator is different from the blackmail they are trying to achieve against Dr. Okowa as governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta state. If they are not rabble-rousers they should have understood that Okowa as senator of the Federal Republic has his territory limited to his circumscribed constituency in Delta North. And that rather than vilifying him he should be commended for his large heartedness in giving consideration to the other two senatorial districts thereby ensuring that they also benefited from the goodies which Okowa fought for and attracted to the State.
To seek to condemn Okowa for doing for Delta North what he was sent by the people of his constituency to do is the very height of rascality. Besides, it is malicious to want to deride Okowa for giving due consideration to the other senatorial districts and also attracting some measure of items to them. Elevating such a matter to the level of public discuss is wicked.
The question to ask is why single out Okowa, when there are three senators from Delta State in the senate? And why now? What has been disingenuously kept away from the readers is not to tell them what these other senators from Delta South and Delta Central have done for their constituencies and in addition, how many federal presence did they attract to Delta North?
What is clear is that dispassionate readers and observers of the political goings on are not taken in by the antics to paint Okowa black. And this is simply because Deltans have acknowledged him as a political rallying point for a united Delta state. This much was demonstrated with the euphoria that greeted the senator’s victory at the governorship primary. And the unprecedented quiet and peace that swathed the PDP, nay Delta State in the wake of the news of his emergence as winner of the primary was a major testimony of his acceptance. The icing on the cake is that his acceptance is all pervading, and pan-Delta. The spontaneity of his acceptance and the subsequent calm and quietude that enveloped the political scene, coupled with the gathering and return of erstwhile political foes who decided to sheathe the sword and bury the hatchet speak volume of the Okowa essence in Delta politics. In Delta State PDP today, there is the return of the spirit of camaraderie and a sense of oneness among the political class and party faithful.
It is against this background that the angst and hate syndrome being peddled around by certain trouble makers on the pages of newspapers should be examined thoroughly for what they are: the effusions of misguided bigots, who, dishonestly want to whip up ethnic sentiments and animosity into what every PDP faithful in Delta has acknowledged in Okowa as political leader who richly deserves his emergence as the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer. This acknowledgement have the people also confirmed with the unprecedented welcome accorded the senator’s campaign train when he came campaigning for the people’s votes in all the local government areas. And at each of the campaign venues, Okowa displayed candour, humility and exhibited the prospect in a leader that is ready to carry the people along using the diversity of the people of the state as strength.
At one of the numerous campaign trips, he said: “Whatever is happening today is because the Lord our God has kept us as a party. That is why we have come together as a united family. With today, we have visited the 17th local government, and wherever we have gone the people of Delta State have shown us a lot of love, and we must give thanks to the Lord our God. I must also thank all of you who have come out consistently to support the cause of our campaign. We will give glory to God because power comes from God and God only. And only God deserves the glory.”
Okowa continued: “When I was coming in and I heard them sing that my popular song that I sang at Oghara I was very, very pleased because when you depend on God you can never miss it. PDP depends on God and we will not miss it. No matter the challenges, whatever you read in the pages of newspapers, and whatever you see on television concerning the APC and kue-kue parties they will not stand us.”
The people of Delta State should not allow themselves to be swayed against Okowa by a disgruntled few who go about pandering to ethnic instincts. Rather, now is the time to rally round Okowa and his running mate, Kingsley Otuaro, a barrister at law. With the kind of wonderful reception according his campaign train across the Delta divide; it is clear that Deltans want him to partner with them to move the state forward. And in pre3senting himself as the right person to lead Delta State come May 29, 2015, he pledges to bring to bear exemplary leadership and ensure that democratic governance prevails in Delta State. “ I am the best man for the job. I would offer strategic leadership which would lift the stat to a higher level of advancement and development,” Okowa says.
That Okowa is passionate about giving Delta state exemplary leadership can be seen in the pledge he has made. And how do you determine whether someone is serious and good if you don’t give him an opportunity. Thus, what is ability minus opportunity? Okowa deserves to be given the opportunity to serve as governor and actualize his brilliant plans of prosperity for the state. His manifesto speaks of a man with a mission and vision of quality service to the people.
Mr. Abiandu, a journalist and fish farmer lives in Asaba.