DELTA 2023: Okowa No Show Love O! (Part 1)


By Iteveh Ekpokpobe

It is better to have a thief for a child, than to beget a fool. – Urhobo Proverb

Left Turn! Right Turn! About Turn! Double up!

Of all the contemptuous songs Fela Kuti wrote and produced in his life time, Zombie is arguably the most memorable – and the one that turned everything around.

Fela Kuti, in this 12-minute-long Afrobeat maestro, pounced on the military junta that held sway in 1970s Nigeria. The misfortune that followed Fela after this track was of no small measure.

Decades after, everything remains the same, like the ‘weekly activities of a church’ in the recurring announcements made by Church Secretaries every Sunday from the altar.

While Nigeria suffered military juntas that have reduced the country to a skirmish radiance of its former glory, it is worse in Delta State.

“The Big Heart’ is under a Civilian Junta.

Between 2015 and 2022, the state purse has swelled with about two trillion Naira, a four billion dollars equivalent. This amount of money can make a heaven out of hell.

In Delta State, the money did not. A large chunk of it was embezzled; siphoned through over-bloated contracts, inconsequential consultancies, political patronages, and of course, romance.

The ‘Road Master’, could not complete the Ughelli/ Asaba express, and now elections are at our doors again.

The virtues of youth are courage and hope for the future. While courage is in abundance in Delta State, the latter is bleak. Young Deltans are groaning in pain, gnashing their teeth. The reality before them was never envisaged.

This future is in the hands of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and for his personal interest against the common good of the people, is about to throw it away to dogs, intellectual nobodies, men whose integrity are objects of the Devil’s envy.

If not, how are we going to explain a Sheriff F.O Oborevwori as Governor of Delta State, to the world? Why is so much money being expended on marketing a man who hasn’t won the primary elections of a party?

Until the emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as candidate of the People’s Democratic Party ahead of the 2015 elections, the media engagement was minimal. Reasons being that the man in question was a thoroughly read man, a medical doctor, an administrator with long acquaintance with the business of government. Garri needs no advertisement; No, not in Nigeria.

Okowa no show love O! Or rather, he takes the state and the people in it for a ride.

How do one explains that a state that produced the likes of Tony Elemelu and brothers of economic and political fame, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Bank, Late Prof Alele Williams, Dafinones and Okumagbas, the Ibrus and Ubekus, the Opias and Jim Ovias, the Godwin Emefiele of Central Bank of Nigeria and many other economic giants, is to be run by a man who could not manage and arrange his own academic credentials.

What will the likes of media moguls like Nduka Obiagbena of Thisday newspaper and Arise TV fame, Sam Amuka Pemu of Vanguard, James Ibori of Daily Independent, Ibrus of the Guardian and a plethora of other online media ownership, tell the world about how they produced a governor who cannot sit in a Seun Okinbaloye’s Politics Today on Channels Television to answer to live questions.

Edo State the most blood-linked neighbor, bordering Delta to the North, has a renowned international business man and board room guru, Godwin Obaseki as Governor. Anambra State, the Eastern border, separated only by the Niger River, has a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Charles Soludo as its Governor. So also is the second Eastern Border, River State which boasts of a seasoned administrator, and garrulous lawyer, Nyesom Wike.

Bayelsa State which borders Delta State to the South has Duoye Diri a cerebral political scientist and former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Governor. To say the least, the coast line to the West, which houses the Bight of Benin, and all the terrestrial, metaphysical intelligences thereof.

Meanwhile, the Centre is about to produce a man has no confidence in and who cannot defend his education. And there are more questions Deltans should ask Sheriff Oborevwori.

Deltans should ask Sheriff why the autonomy for Delta State House of Assembly is not viable despite the law passed on the floor of the house. Deltans should ask him, why the law passed and recorded in the legislative Hansard is different from the copy given to the State Governor for assent.

Oborevwori sold Deltans out. Sold the state legislature to the executive for cash. Sold it for a plate of political porridge. Those who thought the 6th Assembly which began with Monday Igbuya was a rubber stamp house should see the 7th under Sheriff.

While Igbuya said, Okowa was always right, Sheriff believes Okowa is incapable of being wrong. This believe is diligently pursued with irrational legislative approvals of lootable loans, amendment and passage of detrimental Mephistophelestic and inhumane laws and many more.

And While Deltans slept, an inflated budget 1.6 billion naira was expended on purchase of cars for legislators without due procurement, sans remittance of Value Added Taxes, amid diversion of funds a case which led to the invitation of Mr Speaker by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abuja headquarters.

The same man who could dribble and dazzle tax remittance in Delta State, presided over a Delta State Internal Revenue Service amendment bill, without recourse to public hearing. Such level of legislative highhandedness.

The same Sheriff, whose watch as Speaker, could not account for funds amounting to N392 million. The funds which were declared missing in Queried Capital Vouchers contained in Annexure IV of the 2019 Audit Report of the Delta State Government, signed by the Auditor General of the State, Mr. Paul Aghanenu.

Apparently, as intelligent as Okowa is, or maybe he just too intelligent that he surrounds himself with and dish out leaders with questionable intellectual mettle on Deltans.

The Generals in Okowa’s political enclave reflect the crudeness beneath his refined and posh outlook. If not, how would he explain foisting an MC Oluomo equivalent, Sheriff Oborevwori on Deltans, a Micheal Diden a.k.a Ejele on Delta South and even an Askia Ogeh, whom although schooled, yet exhibits trappings of “Ojuelegba agberoness”, on Isoko Nation.

Okowa no show love o!

To be continued…

Iteveh Ekpokpobe, is an Investigative Journalist, Anti-corruption Activist and Fellow, Institute of Management Consultant.