By Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe

The campaign slogan of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa during the 2015 gubernatorial elections is "PROSPERITY FOR DELTANS" and it stole the hearts of many. I told a friend at that time that the slogan is merely crafted by political tacticians to attract votes from Deltans and nothing more. Today, I have been vindicated by the sack of 3,000 workers in Delta State Civil Service less than 48 hours of Okowa's retrogressive administration.

The worst is yet to come because there are several other surprises to be rolled out by the "EKWEME" of Delta politics. He is known to be extremely rugged and heartless and could revenge to the point of spilling blood. That's Ifeanyi Okowa for you, any time, any day.

With a stroke of the pen via a circular letter dated June 1, 2015 with reference number GHA16 Vol. VI/154, Gov. Okowa suspended the 2015 recruitment exercise and revoked the employment of over 3,000 workers employed between 2013 and 2014 by the former Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan on the grounds that the recruitment exercise was not fair to all concerned and that N800,000 and above was extorted from some job applicants before they were employed by compromised senior civil servants.

Let me take you through the reasons for Okowa’s decision. Political analysts say Okowa is pained by the roles Uduaghan played in frustrating his ambition to become the Governor of the state by sponsoring another folk of the Ika extraction who was a top flight serving Permanent Secretary in the state civil service. By that singular act, Uduaghan tried to establish a new political empire through his choice candidate’s project so as to untimely retire all Chief James Ibori's political loyalists from active partisan politics in the state. Okowa being a core leader in the Ibori axis became a target for Uduaghan.

The "Ekweme" as Okowa is fondly called by his political associates and supporters, had to scheme round the clock to ensure that power of incumbency is neutralized by working closely with all core Ibori political loyalists. The pressure from London and other high places increased by the day and he became perplexed and extremely frustrated. A week to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primaries, Uduaghan was called to order by higher powers to drop his choice candidate.

At that point, Uduaghan’s only option was to find a political run-way for safe landing to avoid a fatal crash. He immediately called a meeting of the "cabin-crew" of his 2015 political flight. The former Governor being the Captain of the flight had to call the "control tower in London" after th crucial u-turn meeting to announce his willingness to terminate his candidate’s flight to Unity House. At this time, the former governor’s camp political flight was cruising at 36,000 feet above sea level.

Landing granted, Uduaghan who originally supported shift of power to Delta North via his sponsored candidate made a u-turn to the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) "Uvwiamuge Declaration" and greased the palm of the UPU leadership to present a candidate that had no political pedigree to win a House of Assembly election in the person of Olorogun David Edevwie. Deal struck, signed, sealed and delivered, Chief Joe Omene and his exco of the UPU got cracking and within 48 hours Edevwie replaced Uduaghan’s candidate as the preferred Urhobo candidate to clinch the PDP governorship ticket from Delta Central to pacify the Urhobos who were clamouring for a governorship candidate under the party’s umbrella.

Plans perfected, the Okowa/Ibori camp went underground and sprang surprises at the party primaries. Delta State financial vault was let loosed coupled with monumental financial resources from Chief Tompolo and the rest is now history. Okowa got the ticket on a platter of gold and it became obvious from that moment forward that Uduaghan is in for big time bullshit politically. It donned on the ex-governor that he had no political structure other than that of Chief James Ibori which brought him to political limelight and to the Unity House. He was reduced to a mere “leaner” in the game of partisan politics and that status remains till date.

The above analysis is crucial for us to properly understand reasons behind Gov. Okowa's retrogressive actions. Sacking 3,000 workers duly employed is certainly not the best strategy to hit back at the former governor. The innocent 3,000 newly employed civil servants should not be made to suffer for the sins they knew nothing about. The political power game between Uduaghan and Okowa/Ibori camp should be addressed through probe of the past administration and funds stolen by the former governor and his associates repatriated to the state treasury.

PROSPERITY FOR DELTANS sounds great but the sack of 3,000 employees within 48 hours of Okowa's administration is a pointer to the fact that the slogan was coined to deceive Deltans to cast their votes for him, Period. But that will not be the end of the matter. Okowa should realize that sacking 3,000 workers meant starvation for more than 25,000 Deltans as a result of our customary extended family local policy.

In a small family unit, you have the man, wife and at least three children. At the background are mother-in-law, aged parents and siblings both maternal and paternal axis. This is the more reason why Gov Okowa should realize that his negative action is causing more poverty than that invoked by the misrule of his predecessor. His action is the opposite of prosperity which is why he must reverse the decision immediately to avoid mobilization of Deltans for unprecedented protest and legion of law suits.

I said in one of my social media comment that Okowa is one of the most hardened and crude politicians in sub-Saharan Africa but his social media "recharge card" boys attacked me. I am pretty sure that with the sack of 3,000 workers within 48 hours of another retrogressive and corrupt PDP regime, his facebook "follow-follow" supporters will respect my opinions more than ever before.

Okowa belongs to the "black table" brotherhood in Delta state politics and his claim to be a Christian with the fear of God is neither here nor there. How can an excellent Christian (as he claims to be) with the fear of God sack 3,000 workers without first consulting God through all relevant spiritual channels?

His decision is completely inhuman and ungodly in all ramifications. God can never direct Okowa to send 3,000 people back to the already highly congested labour market. The labour market in Delta State is congested to an embarrassing proportion and Okowa cannot now inflict more pains on our people through his despotic leadership style. Where is the proof of Okowa’s Christian integrity, meek-heart and relationship with the Holy Spirit? Your answer is as good as mine.

It is now very obvious that Governor Okowa is insensitive to the plight of the sacked 3,000 workers in particular and Deltans in general. He is on board with another dimension of poverty agenda and Deltans cannot afford to wait for too long before he is sent out of the Unity House. He is aware that Deltans did not vote for him. His actions tell the truth.

If Okowas is sincere to Deltans, he could not have been able to muster the WILL power to sack the same people who campaigned and allegedly voted for him; not possible under the son. He has further revealed to Deltans that it is not their votes that took him to Government House, Asaba. It all began during the PDP gubernatorial party primaries where he doled out $4,000 to induce each party delegate. ‘The big time electoral fraud started from day one of the party primaries.

My stand and that of majority of Deltans is that Okowa must reverse his decision to sack the 3,000 newly employed civil servants and tender public apology in not less than three national newspapers. He should also announce his socio-economic policies under the PROSPERITY FOR DELTANS initiative. Deltans will not accept anything less.

Okowa should not carry the "hangover" of the battle for political supremacy between him and the former governor to the realm of public administration. He is by this singular action playing on the intelligence of Deltans. He must not sack these innocent Deltans. The masses will surely resist this crude injustice that is clearly repugnant to equity, natural justice and good conscience.

We are watching Okowa's actions in the coming days and weeks. He should find other means of settling his power tussle scores with Uduaghan and not punish innocent poor young civil servants for the remaining few days and weeks before he is thrown out of office by the election tribunal.

Fraud begets fraud which is why his actions are crude, fraudulent and controversial. He was declared elected through electoral fraud via result sheets manipulations and vote buying. He should reverse his decision now to avoid public demonstration against his unpopular government, premature misrule, despotic and irritating leadership style.

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