Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he chose Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate due to the perceived qualities of the Delta State Governor in governance and politics.
Prior to the announcement on Thursday, Atiku explained that it was a tough decision to arrive at his choice of a running mate, one which required wild consultations with various stakeholders.
Atiku said that in his consultations with party stalwarts, he made it clear that his “running mate would have the potential to succeed him at a moment’s notice, i.e a president in waiting”.
According to him, the Governor Okowas possesses the admirable attributes for the position of Vice-President and has the appropriate experiences in both the legislative and executive arms of governance.
Okowa according to Atiku, is someone who will remain part of his everyday life, as they navigate the leading of a complex country such as Nigeria.
“He personifies not only the seriousness the current moment represents for our country but also the future that our young people yearn for and also deserve.
“He’s a serving governor who has demonstrated in his state and through his conduct that governance is about service to the people. I know that he will not only add excitement to our energized campaign but will also help to bring focus, discipline and stability to our government come 2023,” Atiku enunciated before announcing his running mate.
In his opinion, Okowa will help lead the PDP to victory next year not only in the presidential elections but also in the governorship and legislative elections.
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has dissolved the State Executive Council, relieving all commissioners, secretary to the state government, his Chief of Staff, and senior special advisers of their portfolio.
Addressing the press on the development after a State Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, former Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, disclosed that the Governor has instructed all former Commissioners to immediately hand over to Permanent Secretaries of their respective ministries.
In another related development, the State Government has dismissed a civil servant identified as Bernard Onomovo for illegally slotting names into the state’s payroll system.
Okowa is the latest Governor to dissolve his cabinet.
Earlier in the month, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, also dissolved his cabinet, while retaining eight commissioners.
Effective collaboration between the Federal Government through its agencies and State Governments will bring about more dividends and improved service delivery to Nigerians, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Thursday.
Prof. Osinbajo made the comment at the inauguration of the Federal Road Safety Corps Marshal Inspector Training School in Owa-Alero, Delta State.
The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration in the State built and furnished the school and donated it to the Federal Government.
According to the Vice President, as quoted in a statement signed by his spokesman Laolu Akande, “it is an excellent exemplar of the benefits of collaboration between State Governments and Federal Government agencies. And as it should be, the ultimate beneficiaries are the good people of Delta State and the Country at large.”
Osinbajo, who praised Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the construction of the modern, fully furnished buildings noted that this “far-sighted and thoughtful contribution of the State Government is worthy of commendation.
“I am persuaded to encourage all levels of government to emulate Delta, Enugu, Plateau, and Oyo States which have exemplified this spirit of cooperation for development by their tremendous support for the Road Safety institutions within their jurisdictions.”
The Vice President also commended the cordial relationship between the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) and the FRSC which according to him “has led to the establishment of two additional training institutions in the last one year.”
Lauding the efforts of the FRSC management over the years, Prof. Osinbajo said “indeed the choice of Nigeria as one of the Centers of Excellence for road safety in Africa by the Africa Development Bank is a clear acknowledgment of the considerable contributions of the FRSC to the development of road safety in the region.”
“The Corps has continued to show appreciable determination to build staff capacity as a major requirement for the understanding of road traffic matters as well as tackling the associated challenges.
“These laudable efforts of the Corps are in alignment with the Policy thrust of the Present Administration in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). Part of the critical focus of the ERGP is capacity building and skill acquisition interventions,” Prof. Osinbajo explained.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that “the Federal Government will continue to support organizations that demonstrate commitment to their statutory duties”, and appreciated the government and people of Delta State for the huge financial resources dedicated to the project.
“It is certainly an investment with long-term returns to the immediate community, the State, and the country in general. I wish to charge personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps to put this institution to the best of use”.
Besides Governor Ifeanyi and the FRSC Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, other dignitaries at the event included Minister of State for Labour and Employment Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN who accompanied the Vice President, the Obi of Owa-Alero, His Royal Majesty Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II, who is also the Chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, among other top Federal and State government officials.
Before commissioning the school, the VP paid a courtesy call on the Obi of Owa-Alero, where the traditional ruler commended the Vice President for his progressive politics that he observed transcends partisanship. He added that the people of Delta State “will work for the unity of this country.”
As part of the measures to enhance the security of lives and property in the Delta, the state government has inaugurated a new security outfit, ‘Operation Delta Hawk’.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa during the launch of the security outfit at the Police Headquarters in Asaba, the state capital, urged residents of the state to assist in tracking down criminals and their collaborators.
The governor said security operatives have given their best in the fight against cultism, herders and farmers clashes, kidnapping, armed robbery, and other heinous crimes, adding that Operation Delta Hawk is to assist in this regard.
“Today, we are inaugurating the Operation Delta Hawk because of insecurity in the land. We have thought of a new way of securing our people following incessant kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen attack on farms and rape cases,” he said during the launch.
Okowa charged the security outfit to work together with the traditional rulers, community security corps, and other security agencies in the state to bring the desired goal.
Operation Delta Hawk is comprised of different security agencies and vigilante groups.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said the index COVID-19 case in the state is getting the needed treatment.
He also expressed optimism that the state will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on Tuesday evening reported sixteen new COVID-10 infections with Delta State having one.
While reacting to the development, Governor Okowa in a tweet on his official handle, disclosed that the index case in the oil-rich state is getting medical attention and called for the cooperation of residents of the state.
“This evening [Tuesday], a patient in Delta State tested positive for the #COVID19 virus,” he said.
“This index case is already receiving the necessary treatment at one of our isolation centers. Tomorrow morning, I will be addressing our citizens on developments surrounding this case.”
While calling on residents of the state to adhere to precautionary measures rolled out by the relevant agencies, he urged them to remain calm, also.
He added: “Again, I ask that you all remain calm at this time and continue to adhere to the precautionary measures and isolation directives that we have put in place to keep you and your families safe. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will all get through this together.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki has debunked claims that the Senate is yet to reconvene due to fear of impeachment by Senators of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Saraki told journalists after a closed-door meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Saturday, that he is not losing sleep over impeachment plot. He added that those calling for his impeachment are only engaging in cheap blackmail.
“I am not losing any sleep about impeachment. We have a country that a lot of Nigerians believe there must be rule of law, those who are talking about impeachment are engaging in cheap blackmail and I am not concerned about that,” he said.
Saraki also revealed further reasons why he dumped the ruling APC for the opposition, PDP. He claimed that projects Nigerians expect of the present administration were never realised.
“I have made a four-page statement on why I left the All Progressives Congress (APC) and I made it very clear that the ideas and visions of what we expected, was not realised in the areas of democracy, justice.
“Those that followed the political terrain of the last three years can see that the people are not happy. It is not about myself but about Nigerians and about the kind of country we want to build. The kind of democracy we want to be practised and the kind of leadership we need.
“We have not been able to achieve any of this under the APC as much as we have tried,” he said.
Saraki was accompanied on the visit to Delta by some Senators, including, Senators Dino Melaye and Peter Nwaoboshi.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has scored his administration high, in its empowerment programme.
Okowa, in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 had said, the performance of his administration would be predicated on a SMART agenda, which is an acronym for Strategic wealth creation projects and provision of jobs for all residents of the state.
The governor said, “I came in with the SMART Agenda and I have continued to stay on course despite the economic recession; yes I agree that we are supposed to move much faster than we are doing today, but, the fact remains that though the economy is bad we have continued to keep hope alive and we will continue to stay focused on our programs.”
“In the year 2015, we had two main programs for the youths; the Youth Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Program(YAGEP) and in that year, we had 256 youths that were trained in agricultural production, we are happy to announce that they have all been established; we have visited some of them and they are doing very well, and we are glad to announce the success of the program,” He said.
“In the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) we engaged 1044 youths, we have had a continued monitoring and mentoring program; and the reports we have received have been very positive.”
The governor also disclosed that, “In 2016, the YAGEP program, we trained 342 persons while in the STEP program, we trained 557 persons; the programs had their starter packs put in place and we had a micro-credit adjustment.
“We believe that if we continue to meet the people’s need, things will be better for them, so, while we are providing them with starter packs, we are also introducing them to work with the micro-credit scheme”
“We have also started a program for people with disabilities, they have been engaged in the programs and they are currently doing very well.
“We had the graduate employment enhancement scheme; most of the youths in the agricultural scheme are in clusters because we realized that it was the best way and we have been doing very well with the cluster system,” He said.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, on behalf of Delta state government, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kems Infrastructure Solution Limited and Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria for the development of smart cities in the state.
Signing the MoU at the Government House, Asaba, Governor Okowa stated that the MoU was in his bid to ensure speedy development of Delta State.
He said that it would also bring about innovative ICT solutions that would position the state to tackle challenges as they arise.
“With this partnership which concerns our smart cities, we will have a better management of our security in the state and through the various infrastructural development, our economy and the knowledge of our people will improve,” the Governor said.
To the partners, he said: “This partnership will be a win-win situation for all of us as both your company, Delta State government and our people will benefit from it.”
The Director, Huawei Technologies Company Limited, Mr Welion Yang, who spoke at the occasion, thanked Governor Okowa for providing the enabling environment for investments to thrive in the state.
He gave the assurance that his company would deliver quality products and on time to the benefits of the government and people of Delta State.
While the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Hon. Festus Ovie-Agas signed the MoU on behalf of the government of Delta State, Mr Welion Yang signed for Huawei Technologies Company Limited while Lilian Ranganath signed on behalf of Kems Infrastructure Support Solutions Limited.
The Delta State Government says it has kept its promise to dualise the Nnebisi road which is about 70% completed, from the traffic light to the cable Point which terminates at the bank of the River Niger.
The government says the development was to actualise the vision of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration of even infrastructural development in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Works, James Augoye, made the disclosure in Asaba, the Delta State capital, south-south Nigeria.
Augoye revealed that the road construction is in two phases with the first phase from Nnebisi Road to the Cable Market which is about 1.71 kilometres.
He added that the second phase would be from the market to River Niger as a single carriage road.
The Commissioner gave an insight on the characteristics and value of the road, stressing that the government would only embark on projects that were geared towards the economic development of the state.
He pointed out that without good roads, it would be impossible for economic activities to thrive, even as more deliverable was expected from the government.
The Cable Market is at the centre of the connection between the Igalas in Kogi State, the Igbos of Asaba in Delta State and the Igbos of Nteje in Anambra State.
Although some of the traders had raised concerns on the project, they commended the state government for its efforts so far.
They said the road was known to be very bad as it distorts the activities of farmers, traders and other road users.
The Delta State Government has restated its commitment to the delivery of infrastructural development in the state despite the present economic challenges.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa gave the state government’s commitment in Asaba, the Delta State’s capital while inspecting and commissioning some projects in the state in south-south Nigeria.
He promised to place the interest of the people of the state above all other interests.
The Governor said that his administration had started to fulfil its promise to undertake projects that would deliver democratic dividends.
In his remarks, the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, said the development was part of the activities to mark the celebration of the Governor’s one year in office.
He said this phase of commissioning had finally come to a conclusion, beginning with the commissioning of the Abavo General Hospital and its access road, the Palace Road in Owa-Oyibu in Ika South and North East local government areas.
The Governor’s train then moved to Uduophori Road in Patani LGA where he decried the poor quality of work on some sections of the project by the contractor after being briefed by a protesting community.
For about a month, Dr. Okowa has been on a commissioning and inspection tour of various projects undertaken by his administration throughout the state.
The state residents look forward to seeing not just the civil servant sanctioned if found culpable, but every other person saddled with the responsibility of supervising the road.