May 29th 2015 inauguration was a mixed bag for informed followers of the State of the economy of Delta State – A dream come true for a NEW DELTA and the challenges of RESURRECTING a battered economy. And so , like everything kept in God’s hand we soldiered on with hope laced with dispassionate planning . It started with restructuring the existing approved budget to align it with the realities of the time, followed strongly with full disclosures on the state of the economy to our esteem legislators and by extension Deltans to bring everybody on same page.
Thereafter, constructive engagements at all levels especially with our brothers who held sway in the agitation for resource control of which delta state was the theatre of war. The seeming haze slowly but gradually gave way to hope and progress and today the story is different. From the rumbles of these challenges emerged a restructuring giant now known as Bulldozer and Road Master, Sports Master, Peace and unity Master, Job Creation Master, Prosperity Ambassador and above all a Promise keeper. These appellations are not politically motivated but earned.
With well over 370 road projects awarded/completed spanning 1,074kms of roads and 380kms of drains inclusive of over 40kms of same in the riverine areas in four (4) years in a struggling economy Okowa deserve the title of Buldozer and a Road Master. By the completion of a world class stadium that hosted 52 African countries, hosted AFCON qualifier and several Super eagles friendlies, revival of school sports at all levels and clean sweep of all national sports competition he deserved to be called more than A Sports Master. That Delta State became unified and experienced real peace borne out of recognition and respect for every community’s uniqueness and originality earned him the appellation of A Peace and Unity Master.
Over 200,000 genuine jobs created with over 20,000 entrepreneurs trained and established apart from creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive makes him a Master of Job Creation. Okowa is an avowed prosperity Ambassador. He grew the nominal GDP of the state from a -12.76 in 2014 to a 40.15% in 2017. Agriculture and services subsectors grew at an average of 9.8% and 11.1% respectively. While industrial subsector grew by 60.66% within the years under reference. As a promise Keeper, he has fullfilled most of his promises in 4years. His performance at the last election is a testament to his mastery of the game and his exceptional quality as a team player. Okowa has demonstrated that new power works. New power is open power and promotes collaboration and participatory leadership. That sure works. As a medical doctor he is committed to good Health for all Deltans with his classic innovation in contributory health insurance scheme.
With over 500,000 enrollees in one year with widows inclusive, he remains the Master. Little wonder then it became a harvest of awards, honours and recognitions. From Independent Man of the Year, through Vanguard Governor of the year, Silver Bird Man of the Year to UNN Dignity of Humanity Award, Outstanding State Government Healthcare Insurance Scheme etc. As he gets inaugurated for a second term HOPE, JOY and a STRONGER DELTA beckons.
A peep into his next four years appears more reassuring than the awesome first tenure. He has promised more jobs by deliberately establishing more technical colleges as centers of excellence. Converting the Three state owned polytechnics to core technical and entrepreneurship centers to make the graduands employable and entrepreneurs. Establish primary healthcare centers in the 270 wards and strive to leave Delta State a more united and peaceful place for Deltans and businesses. By 2023, he would have made Delta State a pacesetter among the committee of States in Nigeria.
© Dr. Kingsley Emu a cerebral don is the immediate past Honourable Commissioner Economic Planning Delta State.