Appointment : What is Okowa doing?


THAT the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has done exactly 38 days out of the 1, 460 days he is expected to spend as Governor in the next four years is not in doubt, the question that yours sincerely has been asked and is bound to continue to receive in the next couple of days is, what is Okowa doing with appointments?

Last Tuesday, the governor presided over the swearing-in ceremony of five Special Advisers and followed it up the next day with the swearing in of eight commissioners.  It is on record that Governor Okowa has also, inaugurated the Secretary to the State Government,  Senior Political Adviser and the Chief of Staff as well.   One cannot also lose sight of the fact that he has also, appointed some other aides.

It is a fact that Okowa administration has hit the ground running less than two months after its inauguration.  At every gathering, the issue at stake is, what is Okowa doing with appointments?  Some discuss the issue in hushed tones as if they will not be considered for appointment should the governor get to hear about it.

As I write this piece, we have not heard about the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council and it is a fact that we have also, experienced in Delta State a situation where a governor operated for three months working solely with civil servants before making political appointments.  So, is Governor Okowa so slow or very fast in making political appointments?  This question is tough to answer as the answer varies based on individual's perception.

Agreed that some politicians will readily tell you how they served during the Administration of Governor Felix Ibru, the time of Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and they will go further to tell you that they understand the game of politics very well that they can fix themselves into every government and are very confident that they will play active roles in government for a long time to come.

So, what is Okowa doing with political appointments?   One may be tempted to use the word, meticulous.  The governor may not be having the best of time as a leader bearing in mind that some politicians may engage in any action to achieve their desired objective and one easy thing that can be found among some of them is, character assassination.  One can therefore,  imagine what the governor is going through to sieve out the truth from the numerous lies and propaganda to enable him get it right for Deltans.

Governor Okowa knows what he wants to achieve with the position.  Certainly, he did not emerge as Governor for personal aggrandizement because, if that was his mission for being in politics, he would have made enough money as a medical doctor, secretary to the local government, Chairman of local government,  commissioner, Secretary to the State Government, Senator, among other political positions.  So, the question that will be uppermost in his mind and the mind of most Deltans is, what will he be remembered for when he leaves office as the Governor of Delta State in 2023?

Few weeks ago, yours sincerely was openly confronted for daring to be writing about the activities of government.  Such confrontation was not new, however, it is quite challenging trying to let critics know that there is a very thin line between journalism, public relations, marketing and being an  Ombudsman and as one who has requisite training both in the classroom and in the field, the only thing one can do and will continue to do, is what we did in the administration of Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan - positively changing the perception of the people about government and governance.

Looking at the issue of political appointments, one can say confidently that Governor Okowa did very well in his first tenure (2015 – 2019) which earned him more than 80 per cent of the votes of Deltans to enable him continue as Governor till 2023, but, certainly, as an individual, in his solemn moments, he must have known the areas he needs to improve on and he is obviously, meticulously working to achieve the desired results.

A peep into the pedigree of those he has given appointments shows largely   that the governor is focused and is working to achieving greater results for a stronger Delta, bearing in mind that like a relay race, this is the last lap of his administration as Governor and people who shares in that ideal are likely to join him in managing the affairs of the state.

At the swearing-in ceremony of commissioners on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, the governor urged them to see themselves first as working for the entire Delta State, rather than self, asserting, “as a commissioner, know that you are representing the entire Delta people in the cabinet, and that you are there to serve their interests, because, the task before us is huge.  We have set the goal of building a Stronger Delta predicated on Prosperity, Peace and Progress.
Yes, it is true that each of you was nominated from a local government area, but the moment you become a commissioner, the entire Delta becomes your constituency and as such, you must be fair to all and be responsive to the needs and aspirations of all and sundry.

You cannot operate in isolation or be a one man riot squad; employ and deploy the knowledge, skill and experience of the civil service personnel that work with you.  You will need them to succeed.

As commissioners, you must lead by example; do not expect your staff to be punctual if you are in the habit of coming late to the office.  Do not expect them to be prudent with government resources if you are wasteful.  Do not expect them to go the extra mile to meet targets if you are not willing to do so yourself.  People don’t do what you tell them, they do what they see you do because, as the saying goes, everything rises and falls on leadership.  The buck stops at your table.  Be prayerful; put your trust in God; ask Him for wisdom, strength and direction.  Depend on Him every step of the way and He will see you through.”
Those who were sworn-in and their portfolios include, Chief James Augoye (Ministry of Works), Chief Patrick Ukah (Ministry of Basic and  Secondary Education), Mrs. Flora Alatan (Ministry of Women Affairs,  Community and Social Development), Hon. Chika Ossai (Ministry of Commerce and Industry), Rt. Hon. Basil Ganagana (Ministry of Energy), Barr. Peter Mrakpor (Ministry of Justice), Chief Festus Ochonogor (Ministry of Housing), Prof. Patrick Muoboghare (Ministry of Higher  Education). 

It is significant to state here that Governor Okowa had sworn-in Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Okoro, Hon. Efe Ofoburuku, Dr. Kingsley Emu and Prof. Sylvester Monye as Special Advisers on Housing Development and  Urban Renewal, Rural and Community  Development, Legislative Matters, Chief Economic Adviser and  Senior Policy Adviser respectively.

So, one can only but, thank God for the appointments made so far; as we wait for the release of more names,  we should pray for God to guide the governor to make the right decisions by choosing people who will not see political appointments as their share of the national cake but, people who will see such positions as  opportunities to render selfless service to humanity and contribute their quota in building a stronger Delta State.

Yes!  A stronger Delta is achievable if we pray hard and back our prayers with consistent positive actions.

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