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Delta State, Season Of Garnering Honours And Awards
Published Nov 05, 2022 IN SATURDAY COVER,
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THIS is indeed a season of jubilation generally for Deltans whose sons and daughter have steadily and surely gotten into the centre of gravity of power, or hub of governance of the federal republic of Nigeria and beyond.

And one of the reasons for celebrations is because history is also about to be made with the incumbent governor of the state, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently the running mate to the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Turaki Atiku Abubakar, in the 2023 presidential contest, truly becoming the number two citizen of Nigeria if PDP becomes the winner of the presidential contest after the forthcoming February 25 poll.

That is on top of the good fortune of the state, in particular, Anioma, and specifically Ika nations, also being the homestead of the current Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, as well as being the origin of the current Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea lrabor.

How can l forget, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-lweala, the first non-Caucasian Director- General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), who hails from Ogwashi-Uku?

So, it was a sort of harvest or bonanza of sorts when many Deltans carted home most of the national awards doled out by President Muhammadu Buhari, in honour of some accomplished sons and daughters of Nigeria on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

In fact, it is only awardees from Delta State that enjoyed the privilege of two siblings receiving national awards on the same podium and on the same day.

And that is Mr.Tony Elumelu, founder of HEIRS holdings, a business conglomerate that received CFR; and his younger brother, Ndudi Elumelu, OON, who is the current Minority Leader of the PDP in the House of Representatives.

Other notable beneficiaries of the national awards range from traditional rulers comprising their royal majesties and highnesses, including Dein of Agbor, Obi Ikenchukwu Kiaagborekuzi l; Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwase Ill; Ovie of Agbon kingdom, Ogunrimeme Ukori l; and the Director-General of World Trade Organization(WTO), NgoziOkonjo- Iweala, plus a couple of renowned banking titans; notably Jim Ovia, Chairman/Founder of Zenith Bank; Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA; as well as Victor Etuoku, Deputy Managing Director of Access Corporation; including military top brass, General Lucky Irabor, who is the current Chief of DefenCe Staff(CDS).

The other Deltans honoured are members of the political class, including the Governor of the State, Ifeanyi Okowa; Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo- Agege; and of course, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, alongside other professionals of Delta State origin from a broad spectrum of activities, particularly in the media and oil/gas sectors; including Prince Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of Thisday newspaper and Chairman of Arise Tv network; as well as founder/owner of the RainOil, Gabriel Ugbechie and Julius Rone Proprietor of UTM Oil/gas services; not forgetting Itsay Sagay, a legal luminary and a host of others too numerous to be listed here.

Hopefully, in tandem with the aphorism: charity begins at home, there would be a positive net effect of the good fortunes of the aforementioned Delta State sons and daughter appointed into the high command, or top echelon of the honours list of our great fatherland, rubbing off on the good people of the ‘Big Heart’ state, legendary for excellence in basically all facets of endeavours in our society ranging from sports, arts and culture, academia to media and financial institutions management and ownership.

But despite all the lofty and enviable accomplishments enumerated above that have put Delta State head and shoulder above the other states owing to its wealth of illustrious fathers, sons and daughters, the state and its good people are often blighted by the purveyors of treachery that are magnifying the vortex of political power struggle in which the state is currently caught up, and is capable of unhinging it from its steady path to collective progress and development in the best interest of the good people of the state that is the indisputable treasure trove of our beloved country and a microcosm of Nigeria, as it is made up of a multiplicity of ethnic groups.

Without a scintilla of doubt, it is the instrumentality of rotation of the governorship of the state between the three senatorial districts; Delta North, Central and South, comprising Anioma, Urhobo and Ijaw, ltsekiri/lsoko people, respectively, birthed and nurtured by the class of 1999 political leaders of the state that is the reason politics and politicking have been relatively less fractious, as each senatorial zone waits for its turn to produce the next governor after two terms of the last governor from the three rotating zones.

That is basically why, regardless of its diversity in ethnic composition, politics in the state has been remarkably stable since the return to multi-party democracy in 1999.

The harmonious political atmosphere in the state is a reflection of the fact that its people, although of multi-ethnic groups, are not roiled by ethnic differences that could result in strife because there is mutual assurance that power would rotate among all the zones accordingly.

That is not the case in the larger Nigerian state, where the principle of rotation of the presidency between the north and south has not worked out well, and as such, power sharing between the multiple ethnic and religious groups in the country has degenerated into a contentious and incendiary issue threatening to result in the conflagration of the country.

It is an anomaly, which the PDP Presidential Candidate, Turaki Atiku Abubakar, has promised to correct if elected president in February next year.

In an essay titled: ”2023 Presidency Of Nigeria: Where Are The Igbo Candidates?” published in the mass media on October 29, 2021, l made a strong case for the Igbos to align with AA and assign one of their own as his vice presidential candidate to prepare him for the presidency, perhaps, in 2027.

And it was refreshing that the PDP presidential flag bearer at a recent consultation meeting with the Igbos during his trip to the east, pledged that he would hand over to an Igbo person after his tenure, if elected in the February 24, 2023 polls.

That is at least light at the end of the tunnel for the Igbos as the current adventure by Peter Obi and Labour party towards clinching the presidency in 2023 in my view would be a very long shot, if not mission impossible, given that the odds are stacked against the candidate and his platform irrespective of the impressive activation of youth interest in politics by Obi candidacy.

With respect to the struggle for the governorship of Delta State, it is relieving that the tussle for who would be the gubernatorial flag bearer of the current ruling party in the state, PDP, has been resolved following the Supreme Court verdict of last October 21, in favour of the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sherriff Oborovwori.

Therefore, since the storm is over, it is now time for healing.




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