I can’t begin to count how many times I have warned politicians and candidates to worry as much about the good coverage as the bad, because the more air they put in your balloon, the bigger the target when they start shooting.- Susan Estrich
Away in Ikoyi Median Prison, Lagos State, I was monitoring events happening in my home state of Delta, especially on governance. My major concern while in cell was to be out purposely for this day, as I had promised to make the will of Deltans known to the world if Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa should continue in 2019 or be kicked out of the Government House and also take a personal stand devoid of friendship and sentiment. Today, the D-Day is here. This is going to be another public memo and if it offends you, see it as my service to Deltans and not to you as a governor!
Exactly this day in 2015, Okowa made a promise that every Democracy Day in the state will be tagged Praise Day, a promise that he has fulfilled since he came on board. He has fulfilled his promise of praising God, but has he fulfilled his electoral promise to Deltans? Has he created jobs for Deltans? Has he paid civil servants salaries? Has he constructed enough roads and schools? Has he lived up to expectations in two years? If election takes place today, will he win with same wide margin he used in flooring Great Ovedje Ogboru and Olorogun Otega Emerhor?
When the roll call of performing Governors is called, truth is Okowa will not be among the best ten as reported by media houses. Whatever indices and parameters they use in judging it will never make Okowa count among them. Sadly enough, it is not because he is not performing, but his refusal to make the people see what he has done. His stingy nature caused by his new ear deafening song of “Ego Aria” meaning “No Money” is finally becoming his albatross.
He forgets that the judgment of a State in Nigeria is not always seen from within but from outside the state. Agreed that we have more Deltans at home than outside the state and Diaspora but the ones outside are the ones that make analysis of performances of leaders caused by what they see and hear. Two years in office, no one has heard any tangible project carried out by this administration, even though he is succeeding in turning the state into a construction site. Just his ayes have it aides and Internet rodents can testify to his performance, only if they get it from the facebook profile of the Personal Assistant on Special Duties, Ossai Ovie Success, who naturally should be S.A on Social Media. Remove Ossai and the Chief Press Secretary, Charles Ehiedu who is always preaching the SMART agenda of the principal from the picture and the Governor will be daily taunted on the pages of newspapers, News Websites and Blog for non performance.
The Delta of our dreams is gradually coming to fruition under the current administration of Okowa. The State three technical schools has taken us back to when it was built, even though the students can’t be technically intelligent as the pioneer students since they only have beautiful buildings without technical equipments. The Delta of our Dreams is coming to reality as Asaba turns into a befitting capital city, not the upgraded village that it was, even though credit must be given to former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who first stayed in the city as a Commissioner while his colleagues were coming to work from Benin City and also making conscious efforts to construct internal roads within the capital leading to persons building sprawling mansions, even though most of them built with proceeds of looted funds from 1999-2015.
Two years in office, Asaba may just be contesting for the position of fast developing cities in Nigeria as major roads are being constructed but there are great fears that all these roads may not stand the test of time. The Ego Aria government seems to be patronizing made in Agbor contractors that are well paid to do standard jobs but merely doing shadow jobs. Even in Agbor where the governor comes from, the roads are already washing away and emergency patches carried out on it so that the governor does not see it. Sadly enough, those behind this economic sabotage of waste of funds daily smile with the governor in office. The contractor in chief follows him everywhere like a twin brother, while smiling to the bank with money meant for quality jobs but delivering on sub-standard work; after all it is government money he says.
Is Delta State cursed that they cannot use Julius Berger and CCECC for their major road contracts? Even though we agree that local contractors should be supported, shouldn’t it be those with the relevant knowledge and proven expertise in the construction industries? Must we patronize government contractors who are only in the business to make gains irrespective of what the job specification clearly spells out? This is the bane of the two years of Okowa in office. Fantastic governance in terms of roads constructions, but great fears that they will be patched in few months from now.
It will be foolhardy to say that Delta State has never had it good like they do under Ifeanyi Okowa. We have always had it good as citizens but bad in terms of leadership. We cannot call Uduaghan the biggest thief that Delta State ever produced as a governor until Okowa completes his tenure in office. In this administration, we have seen files manipulated and contracts done by NDDC and DESOPADEC re-awarded and not one single person has been fired. Truth is that the governor is not aware of this, because if he knows, he won’t have gotten the jobs done published in the state magazine. In this very administration, we have seen paupers become millionaires and comfortable men become multi millionaires to the detriment of Deltans who stood under the sun and in the rain to vote.
While all these anomalies roll on, Deltans are confident that they elected a good man in office, who will not stain his hands with public funds. Deltans are confidence that they voted a man who did not use state funds to buy bullet proof car for his wife but gave her his own personal car and damn her personal pleasures to blazes if she’s not okay with it. While your Commissioners unknown to you are living like kings and building mansions with state funds, they are assured that the man they elected into office has not bought one tipper of sand to build a new place neither has he stashed money in any Nigerian bank or foreign accounts.
How do I know this? Because I have gotten hold of almost all High Network Individual (HNI) and Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) bank accounts persons in Delta State as they are called in the banking sector when you try to open their account and didn’t find his name among any of them. They will soon be published for the world to know that less than hundred Deltans who held government positions and did government contracts control over N300 billion of the state common patrimony.
Deltans have passed their verdicts. You will lose pensioners votes if you choose to contest in 2019 as they are bitter with you for not paying them just as the local government workers who are unaware that you are not the one owing them are so bitter with you. Your town hall meeting filled with only party faithful and filthy sycophants is not the solution, as the real masses are never in the hall when you enumerate your achievements which they don’t see on news medium. The politicians will kill just to vote for you, so their well of wealth won’t dry up.
The verdict the street pass is not so bright and I am not under obligation to pretend that all is well when it’s actually not well. Have you performed beyond expectation as a governor? Yes! In the South South, the only person who can match your achievement is Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Mr Governor, blow your trumpet for no one will blow it for you. Investors do not just come to states because of countless MOUs like you have signed but base on what they see and read outside. Ekwueme, sing your own praise through showcasing your works not going to Local Governments to commission worthy projects that no one gets to see. No one would have known of Godswill Akpabio transformation in Akwa Ibom State if he kept his works from the public through massive publication and announcement.
You have performed excellently in just two years but like they say in Warri; ‘na for only your pocket’. As dull as Ben Ayade of Cross River State who has underperformed, the outside world believes he is doing great simply because he has choosen to let his little achievement not go unnoticed?
You cannot afford to ride the path of an unknown governor with commendable performance. Your complaint of Ego Aria should end in event centre tonight! It must not follow you to Government House. Your attitude from tomorrow must change and the change alone begins with you, not your numerous media aides with ninety percent of them as useless as the word P in Psycho.
With glaring evidences of excellent performance on ground in just two years in office, the coast for 2019 is very clear that you will sail through but you can make it easier. Do not listen to the sounds of sycophants as you cruise into the third year of your administration for they are only there for their stomach. Listen to the streets by going there yourself and once in a while leave the cozy environment of your office. Reduce your travels to Abuja and stay more in Asaba, for whenever you travel, governance comes to a halt. The election year is here and your impressive record that is among the best ten in the country will speak when you do the right thing. You will excel!
Happy Democracy Day.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver is Editor In Chief of Secrets Reporters News, Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86