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It is no longer news that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State was recently out of the state and country for about two weeks. He brought back news of delivery of his first grand child among many engagements.

Okowa's absence from the state brought to the fore his liberal nature and team player disposition that likely defined and aided his successful political career. He seemed to have stressed: “In the event of my unavoidable absence from the state, I have a capable hand in my deputy, Otuaro, to stand in for me”.

Before May 29, 2015, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, had never been governor of any state including his own Delta State. Shockingly, he allowed his deputy, Otuaro, to preside over the first Executive Council meeting to be held under his tenure. Not many would do that!

In the build-up to the event, there was tension in the heart of managers of the situation. The Executive Council (Exco) Chambers, once the exclusive preserve of previous Governors for State functions, was still the venue of the meeting. “How would His Excellency, the Governor feel?”, was the refrain.

A call put across to Governor Okowa put paid to the matter. The response calmed nerves: “Is that why you called? The state must move on, please, even when I am away! Let him go on, please”. Otuaro thus held sway, presiding over the Exco meeting, proving his mettle in a calm and collected way, right at the Exco Chambers! Okowa did not have to shift the meeting so he must preside over the historic meeting himself, thus demonstrating his confidence in Otuaro who he severally referred to during the electioneering campaigns as his friend.

Truth be told, this more than cordial relationship between Okowa and his deputy Otuaro provides a remarkable template for the Nigerian nation with many hiccups in Governor and Deputy Governor relations. Having been used to something different in the past years, the new positive development was a marvelous thought.

Okowa's confidence in Otuaro since assumption of office has not been a misplaced one. Prior to Okowa's last travel out of the country, Otuaro had negotiated peace between Urhobo/Isoko communities and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company leading to resumption of oil activities. Today, his peace advocacy has produced results in the other rifts between communities and other companies in what gives hope for the peace building plank of Okowa's SMART agenda.

The Okowa/Otuaro cordial and understanding relationship calls on us all, irrespective of political leanings, to be part and supportive of their team for the prosperity of all Deltans

Written by Bulou Kosin, Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Communications & Press.

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