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Delta State: There is Hope for Change Still

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Ifeanyi OkowaReally I am aware that I ought to give readers a glimpse into what makes up the societal fabric of Delta State; our people and our beautiful cultures, but this will not be a

merry article speaking of all that is good and jolly when there are serious issues at stake. The people of Delta State want to be happy, to benefit from good governance and celebrate dividends of democracy too.

Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Delta State has not been particularly lucky in her choice of leaders; one is currently serving a prison sentence in the UK for corruption and while the other may have not been arrested (yet), there is very little evidence of both the duration of his tenure and the amount of funds allocated to the state while he was in office. Instead of actually recording tangible achievements which could be felt by the people, money was spent on airtime on TV stations extolling the virtues of a leader who, in fact, had no virtues whatsoever to speak of.

Basic infrastructure in Delta State is the stuff nightmares are made of; regular power supply is a farce, our roads are dotted with potholes and craters, the road network is itself suspect and there is something about the state that simply does not attract investment. Security is poor and kidnappers, armed robbers and militants seem to be more in charge than security agents, and there seems to be a curse of dysfunction – no doubt laid by incompetence – on many areas; one good example would be the ports in Delta State, none of which are functional.

In an era when other administrators establish conditions that attract investors and businesses, in Delta, we lost big corporations (e.g. Shell) to the unfriendly environment in the state. Few things are more confusing than watching a state like Edo, which gets considerably less allocation than Delta, develop rapidly while Delta slumbers on. From the moment you drive into Edo state, you feel the difference in the road quality and the work being done in its towns and capital city put the gullies on Warri and Effurun roads to shame.

It is often said that doing something the same way after that method has proven ineffective is a clear indicator of insanity; the people of Delta have chosen a particular type of leader twice – and I say twice because the last elections in the state were replete with fraud and manipulation – and since those two leaders have not lived up to their mandate, perhaps another type of leader should be chosen. This, most of us resolved to do in 2015, but when your state is designated as a trick in someone’s election voodoo bag, what do you do?

Although I am not a member of any political party and have no political inclination, I supported the APC’s Olorogun O’tega Emerhor because of one major reason; someone who has attained dazzling success in business and has been credited with turning-around moribund companies will surely have the Midas touch that Delta so desperately craves. A man, who has been nothing but brilliant since his school years, a beneficiary of a Federal Government scholarship in 1980 as a result of this brilliance, and an alumnus of prestigious business schools around the world, would know how to run Delta State effectively. With a career spanning decades in the financial industry and several other successful investments under his belt, this is someone who clearly has the capacity and good intentions to deliver the dividends of democracy that the people of Delta need.

It would be out of place if I did not also mention the value that this man has added to his community; the number of students whose education he sponsors and how he touches the lives of widows. In fact, it would not be an over exaggeration to state that what the government has failed to do, he has done for his community.

After the presidential election and Buhari’s emergence as President-Elect, a common sentiment among Delta people was not wishing to be in the opposition. This, coupled with the gross dissatisfaction with Uduaghan’s tenure (a man who had been nicknamed “who you help?” because his administration made no real impact on the lives of average citizens), pointed to the fact a snowball had better chances of surviving in a heated oven than the PDP did in the upcoming gubernatorial polls; this yearning was, however, not to be realised, as the spirit that gave PDP 1.2 million votes and the APC 48,000 in the presidential poll, was once more summoned. This spirit had non-usage of PVCs, intimidation, and the conjuring of figures, among other unscrupulous acts, as its enablers.

As the PDP’s purported victory is being challenged in court, the right-thinking indigenes and residents of Delta State hope that their faith in justice will not prove misplaced. This is because there is nothing that they want more than to have the injustice of stolen votes committed against them by the PDP corrected. More than anything, we the people want our state to be governed by a leader for all, not one who will renovate schools selectively and leave infrastructure to whither in other areas in a brazen display of ethnic bigotry and marginalisation.

Garen Umukoro

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