Editorial: Why Okowa Should Address Ijaw Youth Council‘s Challenge

By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state no doubt have been a happy man for the past few months and the reason is not far-fetched. His performance has been receiving accolades and his second term bid laced with torrents of endorsement.

But one strange move that has unsettled him, threatened his political calculation and alignment is the recent statement by the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC).

The group had recently, through a release, accused the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration of making no impact in the lives of the Ijaws in the state. And thereafter, challenged him to point at any project that he has started, completed and commissioned.

This, in the estimation of the GbaramatuVoice, sounds very indicting, for we have in recent times observed some appreciable efforts by the state government to better the lots of Deltans.

That notwithstanding, it will be of appreciable importance to this discourse that the governor as a responsive and responsible leader respond to this challenge as when critically examined, the claim by the youths may not completely be without merit.

For example, the newspaper has watched with dismay, the grinding poverty of the people of the region; the blighted environment which has increased the social difficulties of the people; with no good record for survival as their environment has been polluted with half of their population unemployed and starved.

All these happened without a word from the governor or effort from him to hold the perpetrators (the oil prospecting companies) accountable.

Another proof that points to the fact that the government may not be doing very well are the news from the Bomadi Local Government Area of the state which has it that the entire locality has been in darkness for the past ten years.

Such in our views is condemnable and uncharacteristic of a receptive and accountable government.

On top of these woes is the fact that the Bomadi Local Government is predominantly an Ijaw speaking local government.

As if that is not enough, the Warri Boat operators with the vast majority of its members from the Ijaw extraction recently staged a peaceful protest to register their grievance over the state’s ministry of transport levies which the members described as astronomical, draconian and lacking in human face. 

In a related development, the students of the recently established Nigerian Maritime University(NMU) are currently passing through excruciating pains over the state government’s inability to provide an access road to their school.

So, for the youths of Ijaw extraction to have raised such an alarm may not be out of order; a development that can only be ignored by the Delta state government at a heavy political price.

What the governor assiduously needs to do in our opinion is to respond to this challenge not by words but by taking steps to address the issues raised.

The reason for these views is that what binds every follower to their leader is unwavering fate built on trust.

Correspondingly, Governor Okowa must remember that as a leader, he is watched closely and that people are noting every move he makes; that his followers learn a great deal about him and what he really believes as opposed to what he says.

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