By Peter Harry
OGHARA/Nigeria: The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State has flagged off its 2019 election campaigns at Oghara in Ethiope West local government area of the state, with the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer and governor of the state, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, reeling out the achievements of his administration.
And from all the ethnic nationalities and political groups in the state came enthusiastic endorsement for his second term bid.
Okowa stated that in the provision of infrastructure, over 1,000 kilometers of roads have been built and rehabilitated. In the health sector, he said Delta is the first state and the most successful in the implementation of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme for which over 450,000 have enrolled.
Similar achievements were also recorded in education as well as human capital development and job creation where many youths have become employers of labour after successfully completing intensive training to equip them with requisite skills for their chosen career and receiving adequate support and mentoring from the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer.
Noting that the notorious flooding of Asaba has been solved through the massive building of a network of storm drainage, Okowa affirmed that a similar project will commence next week to rid Warri of its perennial flooding. According to him, N3 billion has already been allocated for the project in the 2019 budget.
He confirmed the remobilization of contractor for the Trans-Warri/Ode Itsekiri Road project which was initially stifled by unavailability of fund and pledged that all on going projects, including the ones inherited from the previous administration will be completed.
Urging the people of Delta State to reelect him, he pledged that with the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in the state which his administration strenuously fought to enthrone, the resultant increase in revenue allocation through improved oil production will enable him improve the tempo and pace of transformation of the state in the second term.
Okowa challenged opposition candidates to an open debate, contending that unlike his opponents who he said only visited the state during election cycles, he has always being abreast of developments and challenges in every part of the state.
The PDP flagbearer reiterated his call for issue-based campaigns and called on the party faithful to anchor their liaison with the electorate on the achievements of his administration.
Leading the deluge of endorsements for Okowa was Chief James Onanefe Ibori, former governor of the state. Ibori affirmed that Okowa has done well within the confines of governance and deserves a second term.
“When I was away and you launched your campaign, you launched it in Oghara. Again, you have come to launch it in Oghara. It means that you know the history of our party. As the head of the PDP family, I declare that you have the capacity to continue to lead the state. You deserve a second term. You will lead the battle and I know you will lead us successfully,” Ibori stated to rapturous applause from the huge crowd that filled the Oghara Township Stadium venue of the event.
He stressed that he knows that the peace of the state is paramount and that is why he would never go against a working political formula that has seen the three zones produce a governor with Delta North due for a second term for the incumbent governor.
Ibori waxed spiritual as he concluded his speech by leading the crowd in a rendition of the popular Igbo gospel song that espouses God’s readiness to harken to the supplication of His people.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, equally hailed Deltans for their support for Okowa-led government, adding that he will continue to work with his boss to do more for the people.
The Director General of the campaign organisation, Hon. Funkekeme Solomon, in his address of welcome, said the flag off is the beginning of an intensive campaign that will see the train be in every nook and cranny of the state. “We have so much to show the people as achievements of the Okowa administration and we are sure the good people of Delta will not gamble their future with candidates that do not connect with their aspirations,” Solomon said.
The state PDP chairman, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso, said he had come to preach the gospel of what the PDP stands for and will do so, without being deterred to free the country from out mess he said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had plunged the people.
He encouraged all to preach the same gospel based on evidential results of the achievements of Okowa administration.
He said PDP is ever ready to change the change, adding that Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, will the next president of Nigeria with Okowo continuing as the governor of Delta State.
The campaign council chairman, Prof. Sam Oyovwaire appreciated all the party faithful and members, including support groups and non-indigene communities for their show of support for Okowa.
The former Minister of Information commended party leaders and members for showing solidarity to Okowa’s cause in large numbers which he said was evidence of the performance of the PDP administration.
In his goodwill message, a former Senator who represented Delta North, Senator Patrick Osakwe, thumbed up Okowa for garnering what he called a mass movement as seen in the crowd, adding that Delta State is ready to change the change.
He posited that PDP is a change changer, maintaining that the state is now more than before ready to enthrone a progressive government at all levels.
Speaking on behalf of women, Sen. Stella Omu said the APC federal government has brought backwardness to the country as illustrated by Nigeria’s classification as the poverty capital of the world, the slide in transparency rating of the country in the good governance index and partisan manner of execution of the anti-corruption war. She expressed confidence that Atiku Abubakar will emerge victorious at the presidential poll.
She commended Okowa for showing good governance and proving his leadership worth and affirmed the resolve of women to vote for Atiku and Okowa as well as other PDP candidates.
Prof. Amos Utuama, former deputy governor of the state, pledged his support for Governor Okowa as well as Atiku. He said Okowa has made his mark in leadership and deserves a second term.
Chief Benjamin Elue, a former deputy to Ibori, expressed appreciation to the Delta Central and South zones for their steadfastness in respecting the principle of zoning in the state.
He noted that PDP is synonymous with peace and unity, urging all party men and women to go back to their respective constituencies to deliver all PDP candidates.
In an interview, Chief Henry Ogheneochuko Ofa, member of the Delta State Post Primary Education Board, said the Urhobos are pleased to support Okowa, maintaining that their commitment to the Okowa project was not negotiable.
The Oghara born grassroots politician however, advised Urhobo politicians who are still playing opposition politics to desist from it now, because after Okowa in 2023 it would be the turn of Urhobo again.
Also speaking with some journalists, the Deputy Publicity Director, Prince Obaro Unuafe, said that Delta is on course to deliver Senator Okowa for a second term.
The highpoint of the campaign was the presentation of flags to candidates for Governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly.
There were also solidarity messages and endorsements from Nollywood actors, student groups and the communities of non-indigenes in the state.