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By Julius Oweh
Last Friday, July 8, the governor of Delta State, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa marked sixty-three years of earthly journey. It is seven years shy of the biblical three score and ten. It is a considerable feat and achievement in a nation where the average life span is about forty years. This year celebration shall be last for the man as a governor and vice presidential candidate. Should mother luck nature smile on him and his principal, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, next year birthday shall be marked as a vice president and in the comfort of Aso Rock, Abuja.
The celebration of the birthday was marked with prayers and no elaborates formal ceremony. However, many Deltans especially of the PDP stripe and family used the occasion to send Okowa birthday wishes. Among them are Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay, the Director-General of Warri/Uvwie and Environs Special Area Development Agency, the deputy speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourable Ochor Ochor, Sir Monday Onyeme, chairman of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, the Managing Director/CEO of Delta State oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and the Delta State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists. They all spoke of the political journey of Senator Okowa and his impactful leadership on the people of the state and his rising profile as the PDP vice presidential candidate.
Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay said the birthday of the governor was coming at a time of his political elevation as the PDP vice presidential candidate, adding that many Deltans were happy to see the governor as one of their own. Listen to Macaulays wishes for the governor: ‘I rejoice with you on this joyous occasion and pray that God Almighty will continue to strengthen you with divine health to live life to the fullest. I pray that God will grant you wisdom as well as enable you to finish well and strong in the public service of our nation, Nigeria.
The deputy speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Ochor described the governor as a man of faith who listens to Gods directives. In a statement signed by his media aide, Emmanuel Enebeli, the deputy speaker harped on Okowa administration and how it affected positively all sections of society. Said Ochor:‘You have impacted positively in the development and growth of democracy in Nigeria, a commitment that has also positively touched the lives of many, particularly in our state. You have shown that you are a man of faith, thus God had showered you with his Grace all these years, as you had continued to rely on him. At 63 years, you have made remarkable and outstanding contributions to the development of the political and economy of not only Delta State, but the country.
Bashorun Askia Ogieh spoke on the integrity quotient of the governor that earned him the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, praying that the same character shall make him to emerge as the next vice president of the country. Askia goes philosophical :For the wonderful works you have done for our people, the accomplishments not just in the provision of infrastructure but also giving our younger generation the wherewithal to take their destiny in their own hands and become employers of labour, we are very proud to celebrate you. Most remarkably and it needs stressing here, your choice of vice presidential candidate of the PDP by our party flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , speaks ample volume on the rare quality of integrity that you possess as a loyal party man, team player, bridge builder, reliable, dependable, nationally altruistic and a consummate patriot. We are indeed glad to be part of history.
Askia also mentioned the footprints of the governor in the development of the rural areas through DESOPADEC. This is how he puts it :There is no gain saying that your visionary reform and remodeling of DESOPADEC have ushered robust achievements in meeting the expectations at the grassroots.
Sir Monday Onyeme, chairman of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue described Okowa in the prism of hard working, disciplined and uncommon visionary whose track record for the past seven years had earned him local and national acclaim including the running mate to the PDP presidential candidate. Onyeme explained further on the attributes of Okowa: Unwavering commitment to strengthening the existing peace and security in the state, while also delivering good governance to Deltans as evident in the numerous development projects across the state, as well as youth empowerment programme. Onyeme also pledged the loyalty of Board of Internal Revenue to peak the internally generated revenue for the much needed funding support for the government to fulfill its development agenda.
Speaking on behalf of all journalists in the state, the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of journalists said that they were happy to identify with Governor Okowa. In a statement signed by Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, chairman and Comrade Patrick Ochei, secretary, the NUJ said its members were happy with his leadership and the management of the state resources. Said the NUJ:We are indeed very proud of the governor for the huge gains he had brought into leadership as an astute administrator, thereby maximizing the potentials of managing resources for the benefit of all. We in the media constituency are particular proud of him for the cordial relationship we have continued to enjoy with him in his journey of leadership and we hope to sustain that for the overall benefits of practitioners in the state.


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