By Fred Oghenesivbe
The huge successes recorded during the first tenure of His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, came about as a result of visionary leadership and total commitment towards the socioeconomic advancement of Deltans.
Success is never achieved through wishful thinking or procrastination of any kind. Rather, it is the deliberate effort, consistent prayers and hard work geared towards set out goals. The first tenure was christened SMART agenda with Prosperity for All Deltans as its mantra.
The SMART agenda was a socioeconomic remodelling blueprint to lay the much needed foundation for better days ahead in a futuristic economically Stronger Delta. The huge infrastructure development in all sector during the first tenure including; construction and rehabilitation of 263 roads covering 638.23 kilometres and 295.71 kilometres of drains were achieved based on hardwork and prudent management of the state financial resources.
Visionary leadership of Okowa
The visionary leadership of Gov Okowa has resulted in the renovation and reconstruction of 5,000 classrooms, renovated and equipped six technical colleges in a deliberate attempt to institutionalized a knowledge based economy; and a critical mass of skills for entrepreneurship and business competitiveness.
The six technical colleges have been accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB); and have commenced the issuance of Modular Certificates to the graduates of these schools, while Trade Test Certificates for Practical Proficiency are issued by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, to ensure Unified Standard of Certification for the graduate trainees. As at today, the Technical Colleges now enjoy a World Bank and other funding support.
The Asaba International Airport which today is gradually becoming a major hub in air travel is also a product of a well planned development agenda and its concessioning plans for which a preferred consultium will emerge to manage the airport, attests to the sound and result oriented initiatives of the Okowa administration.
Sports infrastructure development as can be seen from the construction and commissioning of Stephen Keshi International Stadium, hosting of the international Athletics Championship are some of the milestones which shall be recorded for Gov Okowa as genuine legacy. Other examples abound in other sectors of the state economy and history will be fare to this administration for all the giant strides recorded within four years of the first tenure.
Talking of priorities as projected goals in the second tenure; Gov Okowa has announced the planned establishment of additional 19 Technical Colleges to level up the vacuum so that each local government will have a technical college; to boost technical and vocational education.
The gains of technical colleges are enormous but the most striking ones are; that graduates can become self employed as a result of professional skills acquired especially in courses leading to issuance of Trade Test Certificates, and modular certificates by NABTEB and NBTE. The practical skills acquired automatically create jobs, thereby decongesting the labour market.
Another top priority as announced by Gov Okowa is the proposed establishment of fully functional vocation centres in each of the 25 local government across the state; while existing Polytechnics in the state will be reformed. This is another star project that shall take thousands of our youths from the streets and launch them into a new world of self reliance, wealth creation and entrepreneurship in the state.
It has been proven again and again that skill acquisition is the most potent cure to joblessness which is why Gov Okowa decided to bring vocational training closer to the people. These lofty plans incorporated in the second tenure Stronger Delta vision will certainly accommodate a larger number of youths in the expanded job and wealth creation programme of this administration.
Next in the second tenure priority list is the plan to transform Asaba into an economic hub through the concessioning of Asaba International Airport to a major Aviation Consultium; so as to grow the airport and make it a major commercial hub.
Part of the Stronger Delta vision
During this second tenure, a gigantic cargo terminal and business park shall be built and commissioned as part of the Stronger Delta vision in the area of general aviation and air transportation investment in a public-private partnership deal in favour of the state government. These are economic transformation ideas which, among others, would make positive history for this administration during the second tenure.
It follows that planned action spiced with prayers and political will power of the governor associated with Okowa administration shall certainly transform the state into an economic hub with the positive effect of a better and stronger state, where prosperity and socioeconomic advancement shall reflect positively in the living standard of Deltans.
Let’s join hands with Gov Okowa and his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, for the attainment of a Stronger Delta State.
Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, former Executive Assistant, Communications to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa wrote from Asaba.