By David Diai & Albert Ograka
There is no doubt whatsoever that come May 29, 2015, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa will be sworn-in as the Governor of Delta State by the Grace of God and barring all other unforeseen existential circumstances.
Following his divine and resounding Pan-Delta landslide victory at the April 11, 2015 Delta State Governorship elections, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa not only fulfilled the desired equity mandate of integrating and locating the Anioma people and the Delta North axis centrally in the Delta political family, but at the same time, re-defined and reinforced the essence of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state and in that process, re-affirmed once again, the umbilical bonding that has existed between the people of Delta and the party that has governed the state since 1999.
However, for the avoidance of doubt, the journey of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to Unity House, Asaba, must be put in its proper contextual genesis which of course is his victory at the Delta State PDP Primaries, achieved against the backdrop of a herculean political agenda, plotted and hatched in a diabolically embellished scenario that not only threatened to derail the divine fulfillment of the mandate, but indeed disembowel the structural substance of the PDP in the state and eventually dislocate, and erase the political essence, relevance and existence of the Anioma political credibility into complete extinction.
Thus, in achieving that initial victory at the Delta PDP Primaries, Senator Okowa succeeded in building a formidable political structure and platform, founded on the resilient, committed, dedicated and unflinchingly loyal support and endorsement of some great Deltans, across the three senatorial zones, whose vision, courage, bravery and dynamism, from within the immediate political structure and in the secular external political space, drove the process of ensuring his emergence as the next Governor of Delta State to its ultimate acceptable conclusion.
Prominent amongst the gladiators that delivered Okowa, according to impeccable insider sources in the external political space were, Chief Sunny Odogwu and Chief E.K Clark, both of whom had always been major advocates for an Anioma Governor in 2015 and whose overall contributions to the end result can never really be fully quantified in the scheme of things.
Captain Pius Sinibe, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, and Peter Nwaoboshi, three former Delta PDP Chairmen, and founding members of the PDP, who led the party with great vision, aplomb, dynamism, charisma and panache in their separate tenures and also went the extra mile this time around to forestall the demise of the PDP in Delta State, which had appeared potentially imminent, if someone else instead of Okowa had won the elections.
There was also Senator James Manager, whose authority and influence not only mustered, mobilized and consolidated all the forces in the riverine axis, but equally compelled the withdrawal of opposition to his Senatorial re-election, which has now position him as the most distinguished and ranking Senator from Delta State in the National Assembly.
Chief Michael Diden (Ejele) was an un-shakable, un-bendable, un-breakable pillar of support who not only stood firm and resolute in his conviction that Senator Okowa was the right man, but resisted all attempts, covert and otherwise, to betray his principles on what he had already decided was the right thing to do.
Solomon Ogba, who as an original member of the G3, which delivered Uduaghan in 2007, has remained faithful and loyal to the original party structure in the state; Chief Askia Ogeh, who also covered the Isoko flank with great courage underlined by an unspoken mission of political rehabilitation, and some key political figures in Delta Central including Chief Monday Igbuya.
And of course Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), ex militant leader now metamorphosing into a major statesman and opinion leader, whose latter day influence on the party’s fortunes has crystallized in the most practical yet unorthodox of political calculations.
The political analysts who followed the election equally claim that kudos should also go to some top Anioma aspirants, who not only turned out for the primary election to fulfill all righteousness, but had already allegedly instructed their delegates and political structures to remain faithful to the Anioma and Delta North agenda to deliver Okowa from the primaries to the general elections.
The engine room of the internal working structure of the Okowa mandate agenda was headed by the indefatigable Rt. Hon. Ovie Agas, who was ably supported by the dynamic trio of Dr. Kingsley Emu and especially in the Media and Communications sector by Hon. Solomon Funkekeme and Festus Okubor.
But beyond these very outstanding and highly cerebral Deltans are two men who have remained very central to the entire operations and have been the singular most constant factors in the concerted crusade to ensure that the message of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa continues to echo and resonate strongly vibrantly in the media and socio political space. They are Hillary Ibegbulam and Eugene Uzum.
Hillary Ibegbulam is the Special Adviser to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Hillary Ibegbulam and if there is one man who has been so synonymous and symbolic with the vicissitudes and unraveling of the Okowa political narrative, since he came into the public eye; a man who can literarily lay down his life for Okowa, then that person is certainly Hillary.
Ably supported by the young dynamic Reimund Mgbakor, Personal Assistant to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Hillary Ibegbulam has etched himself indelibly in the Okowa folklore that the political story and narrative of the Okowa mandate will not be complete without an important chapter devoted solely to celebrating the contributions of Hillary in the overall victory anthology.
Barrister Eugene Uzum on the other hand virtually came into his own when the dire need to re-energize and galvanize the media political situation room and re-position it to engage the emerging potency of the opposition propaganda machinery, became an imperative that required an urbane, yet level headed and clinical result oriented sensitization campaign, became an emphatic imperative for the Okowa campaign organization.
Young, cerebral, highly articulate and possessing very robust democratic and post-modern eclectic inclinations, honed on the finer polemics of brilliant legalese, rigorous jurisprudence and cosmopolitan activism nurtured through the excellent understanding, exploration and deployment of exciting new media frontiers, Eugene Uzum has variously served as the Special Assistant to the former Delta state Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Kingsley Emu and most recently as the director, Media/Communications, in Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s Constituency Office, which was transformed into the new social media committee that performed so brilliantly in the collective effort to deliver Senator Okowa as the next Governor of Delta State.
Operating within the fluid ambit and focused direction of the wizened sage and master strategist Dr. Festus Okubor, the new media team piloted by Eugene Uzum and propelled by the tireless efforts of the like of Cletus Uwakina, Jonathan Onwuka, Nelson Egware, Idama Afure and the ‘little genuis’ Ossai Ovie Success, as well as the online media platforms that provided outlets for the stories, amongst other key contributors, have not only delivered on their own self assigned mandate in a total self effacing loyalty to the ultimate agenda but have continued, even in achieved victory, to keep the Okowa mandate, personality and agenda fresh, positive and rejuvenated in the public discourse.
No doubt, the lobbyists have gone to town, employing all manner of tactics including arrogating monumental importance to their contributions during the campaigns, to blemishing and defaming the personalities and reputations of perceived challengers, to even attempting to arm-twist and blackmail Senator Okowa with a false resume of their important public value for mischief or ego massaging, as the case may be.
The fact however remains that there are those whose contributions to the achievement of Senator Okowa’s emergence as the next governor of Delta State, can neither be undermined nor diminished. Senator Okowa himself has already promised to run an administration where positive, pragmatic and progressive effort and results will be duly and justly rewarded and roles will be properly defined to maximize capacity and promote excellence, especially for the youths.
His victory is not only a victory for Deltans, it is most importantly a victory for Delta State as prosperity beckons as a new dawn breaks over the state. To God be the glory.