A Note for Okowa

2023: Okowa free to choose successor - Ijaw leader

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

Gordon S. Black of The University of Rochester, in his theory of political ambition; Career choices and role of structural incentives’’ posited that; as a politician rises to new positions of power and prominence, his motives for seeking political advancement becomes subjected to intense public scrutiny. In most cases, politicians try to promote the fiction that their motives are unsoiled by private ambitions, that all they wish is to serve the public and to pursue the ‘public good’.

Deltans in the just concluded election subjected your political ambition to serious scrutiny- of which the outcome has made you both lucky and unlucky.

You are lucky because you won your second term bid as the governor of the oil-rich state of which I congratulate you. But unlucky because like success that brings new problems, the result has thrust yet another responsibility on you an extremely important destiny; to complete a process of socioeconomic rejuvenation of the state which we have spent far too long a time to do.

If accomplished, it will be your most powerful accomplishment for earning new respect and emulation.  And if you fail, it will equally go down the anal of history.

Certainly, we have as a state made some advancement under your leadership.  But despite this success, there are also great disappointments- a frustration fueled by the peoples’ economic plights and uneven.spread projects in the state.

It is still not too late to act. But a solution to the present challenge will not come until you abandon doing good for doing well.

To explain the difference, ‘doing-good entails charity service or so-called selfless service where one renders assistance and walks away without waiting for any returns. On the other hands, doing well describes reciprocation and ‘win-win’ because the doer is also a stakeholder and has an intention to benefit at least in goodwill and friendship’.

Without much labour, from the support structure in the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state, you will agree with me that your ability to reciprocate the kindness Deltans extended to you via the provision of creative leadership that will place the state on a healthy socioeconomic pedestal will portray you as doing well, turn your relationship with the people to a ‘win-win’ arrangement while promoting goodwill and friendship- a feat you will disproportionately benefit from.

Concretely, the keys to this victory lay in allowing your actions to be guided by reason and reality, re-investment in education, infrastructural development particularly in the coastal areas of the state, employment generation and injection of young Deltans who have integrity, intellect, energy and drive into your administration as the success of any group or nation depends on the quality of people in charge.

Next to these basic principles of equal opportunities are your realization that with sound educational institutions and infrastructure, a state is as good as made, as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of the state driven by well-thought ideas, policies projects and programmes’.

When you train a man, you liberate him.

It’s not as if you have not made an appreciable effort in this direction during your first term in office, however, the statistics of children classified as the children of fishermen and other less-privileged that are not cared for educationally, are still high, staggering and mind-numbing.

They need attention particularly in the coastal region of the state.  And it will be highly rewarding if your attention is redirected to education in the state to take care of this group of people.

Specifically, today, many children are out of school in the state not because they are not willing to be educated but because the cost of education is beyond the reach of their parents. The public schools as you are well aware are short of teachers with dilapidated buildings- on the other hands, the private schools where the environment is conducive for learning is cost intensive.

Very instructive, why you need ample courage to fund the educational sector in the state is that aside from averting another ghastly experience as recorded at Okotie Eboh Primary school, Sapele area of the state, any plan that the government has for the youths without a quality education is a share waste of time. Second and most fundamental, without accessible and affordable education in the state, the children take to the streets where all forms of criminals and other social misfits who pose the actual threats in the forms of armed robbery thugs, drug abusers and other social ills that give bad names to the society are bred.

The plight of Deltans living in the coastal part of the state is another issue that will in structure and context demand that you abandon romantic illusion and do well concerning their situation. A visit to that part of the state will reveal that they have not vanished physically but only exist in the frames.

You will recall that just recently, an open Letter  dated May 20th, 2019 was forwarded to you by the Riverine communities in Delta state where the group bemoaned the non-presence of government projects in the coastal areas, lamenting the Niger Delta Development Commissions’ (NDDC) and The Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC) choice of cities and towns for their   projects, and advocated for the creation of Coastal Area development agency (CADA), as a way of ensuring a sustained development of the area

Though faced with interminable socioeconomic and environmental challenges, one point I would like to draw your attention to is that these coastal dwellers are that they are troubled but not despondent. A situation that makes it easy for them to be managed and contained if only you could come up with a plan and will to tackle the challenges as currently faced.

Succeeding on this assignment will apart from creating jobs for the youths require you rededicate your energy to doing well and not being just politically correct. Job creation is vital as the large unemployed youth population is a threat to the security of the few that are employed.

The future of the state is full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainty. And the conventional leadership the system is giving way to the one based on knowledge, and for us to build the Delta state of our dreams, we must learn to be part of the knowledge-based world.

Jerome-Mario (jeromeutomi@yahoo.com)  is a Lagos- Based Journalist.

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