Buhari & Okowa: A Comparative Analysis
On May 29, 2015, Muhammadu Buhari of the Al Progressives Congress (APC) was sworn-in as the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the federal Republic of Nigeria. A few hours later in Asaba, Delta State, Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was also sworn-in as the Governor of the oil-rich Delta State.
As a Deltan and Nigerian, I am obviously a stakeholder. Furthermore, to the extent that I have met both the President and Delta State governor, I thought it prudent to look at both of them with a comparative eye, to see what both administrations portend for Deltans. Also, in January this year, I wrote an article titled “WHY URHOBOS SHOULD VOTE OR OKOWA.” While I was chastised for the article by some people, I still maintain my stance about the qualifications of Okowa to steer the ship of Delta State. As I stated then, Okowa had been a medical Doctor, Local Government Councilor. Chairman, 3 times Commissioner, SSG and Senator. These stood him out against both Otega Emerhor of APC and Chief Great Ogboru of Labour Party (LP). Subsequently, I wrote another piece prior to the Presidential election caption “WILL THE REBRANDING OF BUHARI WORK?” Clearly, it has worked and ushered in a peaceful change in government at the federal government for the first time since return to democracy.
Muhammadu Buhari, born 17 December 1942, is a former head of State and retired general in the Nigerian Army. Clearly, Governor Okowa, born 8th July 1959, has never served in the military but for all intents and purposes has been in the battlefield of politics and is a tested people’s general.
Both the President and Governor are not political neophytes. The President has contested four times for the Presidency. In 2003, Muhammadu Buhari ran under ANPP, in 2007, still as ANPP’s Presidential candidate and then in 2011 as the CPC’s Presidential candidate, where he 12,214,853 votes.
Comparatively, Governor Okowa has contested twice for the governorship of the State. Okowa has never lost any political battle. In 2007, he graciously stepped down at the PDP primaries, for the immediate past governor, Dr. Uduaghan and was compensated with the position of Secretary to the State Government (SSG). This (2015) is technically his actual first contest as a candidate for governor and he obtained a resounding victory. When Senator Okowa ran for Senate in 2011, he also convincingly defeated his closest rival for the Delta North Senatorial seat.
It should be noted that both men command a great respect from their communities and the public in general. President Buhari has a cult-like following in his Daura village of Katsina State, while our Ekwueme is synonymous with Ika politics. Governor Okowa has touched the lives of many Deltans, especially those in his Owa-Alero village and the larger Agbor Township. Both President Buhari and Governor Okowa are epistles of tenacity, perseverance, persistence, hard-work and humility. Both are family men that are respectively happily married to women that are destined to bring a pseudo-aristocratic demeanor to the offices of First lady. Their religious persuasions permeate all that they do.
A review of the inauguration speeches of both President Buhari and Governor Okowa will reveal that they are sprinkled with hope, but filled with concrete plans for the future of Nigeria and Delta State, respectively. The President’s 1,930-words speech included a history of the past national leadership and his plan to curb insurgency, including Boko haram, fight corruption and revamp the economy. He quoted Julius Caesar and ended with the words “We have an opportunity. Let us take it.”
On his part, Governor Okowa, reaffirmed his SMART agenda, in his 39-paragraph (3,175 words) speech, to the mammoth crowd at Asaba GRA Cenotaph, which he has consistently touted during his campaign. It was refreshing to note that he has not deviated from it.
Two years ago, I wrote and commented that 2015 will be a watershed moment in the history of Nigeria. Our doomsday prophets that prophesied the demise and break-up of Nigeria have been disappointed. Even Delta State that is a microcosm of Nigeria, has shown the other remaining thirty-five states that we can have peace and unity in our diversity.
While jettisoning party sentiments, it is safe to say that Nigerians and Deltas are filled with expectations, believing that the dividends of democracy will be delivered to all.
Rev. Atawa-Akpodiete, a public Affairs Analyst, writes from Asaba. Contact him on 08138391661 or [email protected] .