By Dr GodwIn Orhadahwe, Director Media
The general song in the mouth of every Deltan is that Olorogun David Edevbie is the best aspirant to succeed Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as the Governor of Delta State come 2023.
The Senatorial rotation is now complete. It is the turn of Delta Central to produce the next Governor. DC-23 has pruned down aspirants from the zone to 3, and David Edevbie stands out as the best qualified and most experienced of all the aspirants. Let’s elect the best.
PDP and other party members, youths and women, workers in public and private sectors have adjudged David Edevbie as simply the best. He is sound in education, capacity and track records, experience and charisma. He is a great politician and technocrat. He does not discriminate. He is very detribalised. He is “who the cap fits.”
Edevbie is a world-class economist trained at the University of Lagos. He has a Masters degree in Business Administration MBA from Cardiff School of Business, University of Wales. He had further training in Advanced Management at the Harvard Business School, USA. He worked at the Barclays Bank, London, UK. He was an Investment Executive at Hill Samuel Bank, from where the Commonwealth Development Corporation hired him as an Investment Officer for Asia and the Pacific. In that position, he made immense contributions to the development of Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and the rest of the Asian Tiger countries. Edevbie is indeed a rare breed. He is simply the best.
These qualities prompted the then Governor James Ibori to appoint Edevbie as Commissioner for Finance from 1999 to 2007. In four years, Edevbie expanded the budget of Delta State from a paltry N6.3bn to over N62bn, making it possible for Chief Ibori to execute development projects in the three Senatorial Districts of Delta State. Edevbie is a genius. He is the best, no doubt.
The incumbent Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, also saw the same great qualities in David Edevbie and appointed him as the Finance Commissioner in his first term and later as the Chief of Staff in his second term. What else can I tell you about “Edevbie the best?” He is the best. Let him take the governorship seat.
Edevbie’s experience in the public sector goes beyond Delta State. He was appointed Director of Finance and Strategy for the then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s election. His excellent performance in that assignment made the President appoint Edevbie as his Principal Secretary or Chief of Staff to supervise and co-ordinate the policies, programmes and projects of the Yar’Adua administration.
At the Presidency, David Edevbie’s hard work led to the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the activation of the Federal Amnesty Programme, which has brought relative peace to the Niger Delta Region, and the reinvigoration of the NDDC to enable it to deliver on its mandate. Edevbie’s contributions led to the actualisation of the 13% derivation fund for the oil-producing States, a commitment for which all Niger Delta States will forever remain thankful to Edevbie.
These assignments allowed Edevbie to understand better the potentials, prospects and development challenges of Delta State. He knows best where Delta State was, where it is presently, and where it is aspiring to be in terms of social, economic, infrastructural development, people’s yearnings in the various communities across the State, the funding requirements and how to achieve them. Edevbie is simply the best. Let us give him the chance to be our Governor after Dr Okowa.
Dr Okowa had described David Edevbie as one of the most hardworking, charismatic and disciplined political officeholders. For Dr Okowa, Edevbie has continued to offer genuine leadership at various levels of governance. By dint of hard work and discipline, Edevbie has continued to carve a niche for himself by maintaining a charismatic and untainted leadership style that has endeared him to many Deltans and other Nigerians. “David Edevbie’s commitment to doing things right as they are done in developed countries, are some of the commendable traits that have made Edevbie’s services outstanding over the years” in the words of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. He is the best. Let him do it.
Deltans are aware that Dr Okowa has a passion for the development of Delta State, therefore, he should not think of handing over to anyone other than the best, Olorogun David Edevbie. Deltans have agreed that Edevbie is the best to continue with the development agenda of Delta State as initiated by Chief James Ibori and promoted by Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan with his “Delta Beyond Oil Agenda,” and now, deepened by the incumbent Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa through his “SMART Agenda.” With Edevbie as Governor, Delta State will become an industrialised and modernised State, in line with the realities of the 21st century.
Some myopic critics have blamed Edevbie for contesting in the 2014 Governorship PDP primaries when it was the turn of Delta North to produce the Governor. It is important to note that Edevbie’s participation which has provided him valuable experience for the 2023 race, did not stop Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta North from emerging as Governor in line with the unwritten rotational arrangement of the PDP. If anything, his participation reinforced and revalidated the rotational arrangement proving that all Senatorial Districts have to work together to accomplish it at any given time based on equity. There is no problem with anyone contesting elections at all.
In Edevbie’s opinion, people go into political contests for different reasons. Some want to announce their names, others want to test their popularity or negotiate for appointments. The PDP leadership has a way of resolving issues in favour of Senatorial rotation to maintain equity, justice, fair play and peace in the State. This is the magic wand with which the PDP recorded landslide victories in all political elections in the State for decades now. Deltans believe that Governor Okowa and other PDP leaders in the State should not toy with the formula that has turned Delta into a PDP State.
Although Edevbie contested with Okowa in 2014, Okowa still chose Edevbie, after the 2014 primaries, as his Commissioner for Finance and later, Chief of Staff, two very sensitive and critical positions in Okowa’s Administration. This points to the fact that Dr Okowa has no grudge against Edevbie, more so because Dr Okowa is a strong Christian, who should not nurse any grudges against anyone, not to talk of Olorogun Edevbie, his colleague as former Commissioners, and a very close and dear friend of his as incumbent Governor.
In today’s Delta State and Nigeria, the way forward lies in the reform and modernisation of public service institutions by which government can reach the people, and the people can reach the government without any form of influence. This is the ideal that Edevbie represents and has also demonstrated under the Ibori administration when he reformed the government Treasury Management System and introduced cash budgeting. Delta was the first State to achieve this feat in Nigeria, courtesy of Olorogun Edevbie as Finance Commissioner.
The reforms made it possible for transactions to be systematically processed; constituents and contractors could track the status of their approvals without any personal contact with Edevbie, the Commissioner of Finance. The reforms made some of the contractors start jokingly referring to him as the “Oyibo Man” because he did not open up himself and the Treasury Office for lobbyists to compromise or corrupt. This is also why some uninformed people began the propaganda that he is arrogant.
That notwithstanding, Edevbie’s modernisation agenda remains the right way to go. For many Deltans, it is the global best practice in modern governance and financial management for any society that wants to advance and develop. To do otherwise is to encourage favouritism, bribery, nepotism, and corruption, the ills that have left our country, Nigeria, comatose. The David of our time is Edevbie, and he is very much ready to drive the development of Delta State forward. Edevbie is the best. Let us guarantee the future of Delta State. Let the best do it. Support David Edevbie to become Governor of Delta State, and you will be glad you did.