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Okowa's SMART tune for Delta, By Augustine Avwode

By News Express on 17/08/2015

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A new tune is wafting across Delta State. It is the SMART tune with a loveable chorus of “Prosperity for all Deltans”.

The proponent and natural cheerleader is no other than the Executive Governor of Delta State Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, whose consuming passion is how to ensure that his fellow Deltans, irrespective of differences in ethnicity, gender, faith, geographical location and political persuasion, live a good and decent life. 
SMART, an acronym for a well thought-out, all embracing and masses oriented agenda meticulously packaged to usher in “Prosperity for all Deltans” involves: 
* Strategic Wealth Creation Initiatives and Provision of Jobs for all Deltans. 
* Meaningful Peace Building Platforms aimed at Political/Social Stability. 
* Agricultural Reforms and Industrialisation. 
* Relevant Health and Education Policies. 
* Transformed Environment through Massive Urban Renewal.
The aesthetic appeal of Governor Okowa’s SMART agenda can be located in the way and manner the various components are designed to address those things that are at the heart of peoples’ efforts to meet their everyday needs. It was, therefore, not surprising that, notwithstanding frantic efforts in some quarters to divert Deltans’ attention and focus during the April 11 gubernatorial election, they stuck to their choice. For them, the SMART agenda represents the most plausible and reasonable message of hope that is genuine, original in content and appeal and the best option going forward. 
It was not surprising, therefore, that across the three senatorial zones, Deltans consciously and overwhelmingly voted for the opportunity for this new song of hope to be sung with greater fervor and intensity across the state. 
And from the very moment he assumed office, Governor Okowa has left no one in doubt about his determination to walk his talk and ultimately deliver “Prosperity for all Deltans” in line with his campaign promises. 
As we speak, the administration has already unveiled six entrepreneurship schemes that will create 6,000 direct jobs in the next six months.  These schemes include the: Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP); Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP); Tractorisation; Extension of Loans and the Development of Agro–Industries.
Significantly, these schemes are being transparently pursued using the revered traditional institution in the 25 local government areas in the state. Targeting 6,000 direct jobs before the end of 2015 is indicative of the seriousness which Governor Okowa attaches to the implementation of the SMART agenda aimed at economically empowering Deltans. 
Governor Okowa has also taken an unprecedented step in ensuring that a critical agency of government, the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC) is repositioned in a way that it will be able to effectively deliver on its mandate to the people and the state by reviewing legal provisions that have all along impeded the commission’s performance as expected. One cannot but commend the determination, foresight and political will by Governor Okowa to revisit DESOPADEC as it is presently constituted. It is all part of his determination to ensure that Prosperity for all Deltans does not turn out a mere slogan, but to concrete and visible wealth for all. 
Regrettably, few self centered individuals who are benefitting from the skewed arrangement in DESOPADEC have gone to great length to discredit and demonise an otherwise laudable and timely intervention by the governor. It is, however, gratifying to note that the majority of stakeholders, who appeared before the Hon. Dennis Omovie led Ad-Hoc Committee of the Delta State House of Assembly on DESOPADEC during the public hearing on July 17, commended Governor Okowa’s initiative to make the Commission more effective and efficient in utilizing the resources accruing to it.        
For those who have chosen to label Governor Okowa’s line of action on DESOPADEC as having a “hidden agenda”, the Governor, again, personally explained his motives to revered traditional rulers from Delta Central early in the week during a courtesy visit to him at Government House, Asaba. Hear him:
“We are not going to do anything in secrecy. In my inaugural speech, we made it clear that we will strengthen DESOPADEC along the NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) pattern; we want to ensure that we have a structured management system that would not be based on ethnic sentiments. The commissioners from different ethnic nationalities will be members of the Board where they will present issues concerning their ethnic nationalities, while the management which is insulated from ethnic politics, implements policies reached.
“I insisted on a public hearing so as to get the people’s views which will vastly enrich the bill before it is passed into law. It is left for the House of Assembly, after listening to the public to take its own decision and pass a bill that will be in the best interest of Deltans, this I will assent to”, he reassured the royal fathers.
Governor Okowa has also not hidden his desire to see to the quick completion of the Asaba Airport by contractors handling various projects there. This much he made known to the contractors when he paid an unscheduled visit to the airport early in the month.
Besides, Governor Okowa has demonstrated that he is capable of taking big decisions which require strong political will devoid of unnecessary sentiments in the overall interest of the good people of Delta State. 
Governor Okowa has left no one in doubt on his commitment to SMART. While swearing-in some Commissioners and Special Advisers recently, he urged all political appointees to firmly key into it, especially the job creating programmes.
“It is incumbent on you to make the attainment of the lofty goals in the SMART agenda your watchword; they must be the focal point around which all your decisions and actions will revolve”, he solemnly admonished.  
A focused, painstaking and far-sighted pan-Deltan, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa couldn’t have emerged as the Governor of Delta State at a better time. For a man who has superintended three different ministries in the state as a commissioner; functioned as the Secretary to State Government (SSG) and has also represented the good people of Delta North as a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic where he shone like a million stars, Okowa arrived this point well prepared. 
Those who know him speak eloquently and confidently about his near immeasurable passion and selfless commitment to empowering people economically. A conviction they say is second nature to him. If there was one thing for which Governor Okowa is famous as a public figure, it is his ability to deliver on his promises. It is for this reason that he is fondly called Ekwueme, which literally means “a man who keeps promises”. Yet, in all this, he carries himself with disarming humility.
For the majority of Deltans, who are bent double by the excruciating pangs of poverty, SMART, comes as a sweet music to their ears. And they are in their millions. For such people, and many more Deltans of goodwill, it is simply let the SMART tune “play on, play on, play on”, the way a Lionel Richie would render it.

•Avwode, media aide to Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, wrote from Asaba. Photo shows Governor Okowa.

Source News Express

Posted 17/08/2015 03:27:23 AM

 

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