Let’s support Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to succeed
PRAYERS for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa are necessary because from experience, factors that hinder political leaders surround them. Painfully, sycophants and political bed bucks equate leaders to immortal gods in the phaeton of Olympus, this is where decay starts and a people’s leader becomes prisoner of characters around him. These indices destroy leadership and pollute societal values. If ex-President Jonathan’s team were committed, the agony of defeat suffered by the PDP would have been averted. Gratitude is necessary but praise when it’s like a Trojan horse gift of the Greeks, deceit is imminent. A leader’s vision is enriched when the right team surrounds him.
Jesus Christ understood this when he asked his disciples, “What do people say I am?” and after listening to them; he asked again, “What do you say I am?” Every leader needs a good team if he must heal societal ills. James Ibori in present political travails, with a second chance, will treat some friends and associates as lepers. Okowa’s aura, vision and commitment must reflect his team because power is attractive as honey is to bees.
The recent case of a school certificate holder who stole a medical certificate, to get employed in the Federal Ministry of Health undetected for nine years, reveals decay. Who recommended him for this job? Why was he shielded from interview? If interviewed by a medical team, it would have saved the nation this embarrassment. There are many like him in every stratum of our national life that has become our Achilles heel. Many competent hands, with ideas to fertilise growth and development, are roaming the streets while crooks control our destiny.
Many questionable holders of degree certificates can’t read and write yet occupy positions that define our destiny. Schools are citadel of prostitution and cultism, presided by amoral teachers that extort boys and sleep with young girls, selling of handouts that don’t contribute to knowledge is a rule; the stench is our collective shame. Okowa must step on toes in cleansing the state, for our enemies may not be those who oppose our ways or criticise us but may be those who eat and drink with us daily either as friends or relatives.
The ideas in “s.m.a.r.t” can revamp the state into industrial stable economy:
(a) On strategic wealth creation: This must be driven by commitment because you cannot entrust wealth to a lunatic and expect dividends. Structures to harness the human and material resources are necessary in increasing revenue and depending less on federal allocation. The board of internal revenue must be driven from politicisation and greed to raking financial figures that are credible and verifiable. A career civil servant or person with pedigree can drive this sector, a public servant will not throw away years of toil for uncertainty and unlike a politician whose clandestine interests may negate growth.
Other areas of revenue drive should be consolidated into the revenue board, the present board suffers from flight and revenue leakages, profligacy and lack of dedication, the commitment is what “we can get rather than what we can give the state”.
Revenue flight is lost as a result of inefficiency while revenue leakages are as a result of indiscipline and non-motivation of staff.
Every “keke” tricycle pays two hundred and fifty naira daily while “Okada” motorcycle pays one hundred naira daily but these funds end up in mystery hands. Imagine the financial benefits if these collections were consolidated under the internal revenue board. The state government can rely on property tax, especially buildings, used for commercial purposes in our urban cities.
(b) On meaningful peace building for political and social harmony: Community development as a predictive institutional building for peace and development is necessary, each community would take part in decision making, implementation and conclusion of projects; this creates a sense of belonging and seeing the projects as theirs in order to protect them. Community development in conflict management is the tonic where constant engagements through representatives as change agents listen, discuss and reach a decision, necessary in oil- producing communities to sustain growth and development.
(c) On agricultural reforms to provide food, employment and drive the industrialisation of the state: Commitment is needed, because it is better to have committed uneducated persons who are dedicated than having a professor with all technical knowledge yet corrupt and uncommitted. Agriculture is fundamental that in ancient Greece, Egypt and Roman Empire, it was the basis for economic growth and political stability. Okowa should resuscitate the old Isoko and Warri farms under Samuel Ogbemudia and establish others to provide revenue, employment and food.
(d) On relevant health and educational polices: These sectors are in shambles, the rich who seek foreign medical treatment and send their children abroad to study may not understand the predicament the masses witness. Health institutions are euthanasia slaughters while educational institutions are gladiator’s breeding grounds. The rot is grave that teachers have turned schools into markets and brothels where they sell and exploit girls. Health institutions are clone mortuaries, avoided for traditional healers. These sectors must be resuscitated.
(e) On environment through Urban renewal: The state government should carry the local governments on same page, on holistic ideas not cosmetic; our cities must be driven off filth and cleanliness made part of our life. Roads are dumping ground for faulty vehicles; firms annex parts of federal roads as car parks. Landlords keep premises dirty with no toilets and bathrooms, sewages diverted to public spaces without minding health risk, gutters and drainage blocked making flood a norm.
Local governments are ineffective as sanitary inspectors are. Sanitary inspectors can save our environment, promote health and rake revenue for government. The laws are castrated. Sustaining this through aggressive information management, education on government policies and benefits are necessary. Disciples with passion for ideas are needed not persons who are overwhelmed by office, if we must guarantee economic prosperity.
•Abugo, Vice–Chairman, Board of Trustees, Delta Democratic Alliance (DDA); wrote from Uzere, Delta State.