Open Letter to Delta Gov-elect Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa: Before You Make The Grave Mistake By Fejiro Oliver
Your Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (SIAO), I can only imagine what will be going through your mind now, since you won the election that will make you become the 4th Governor of our dear Delta State. I would have sent this long missive to you privately but I want the heaven and earth, including Nigerians to bear me witness that I bared my mind to you. It will be one of the most sincere pieces to you since you won the election and not the ones told to you by lobbyists telling you what you want to hear. I will also send the link of this letter to you and millions of Nigerians phones when it’s eventually published. Forgive me for not saying ‘Congratulation’ to you before I called my witnesses. I told you that just a day after you were declared the winner of the election, when I came to see you in company of Comr. Reuben Izeze, the Ughelli South House of Assembly lawmaker elect, but you were so busy that you never took notice when I entered the sitting room to shake your hand and told you those words. May I now publicly tell you “felicitation”.
Sir, your victory can only be ascribed to God and Deltans. It will be demonic for anyone to take the glory when we all know what happened prior to the primaries and even after. When I came to your house on that day, I prayed silently in my heart that the God who you have always called should give you the Wisdom of King Solomon to pilot the affairs of the State. The prayer was necessary when I realized that all of a sudden, your abode have become the Jerusalem of many, including those who never wanted you to see the victory dance. I realized that day that the hawks have gone to town to beat their chest on how they ‘delivered’ you, as if they were the ones that pressed the finger prints of over Seven Hundred Thousand Deltans on the Peoples Democratic Party.
You may not know this your Excellency, but I have to open up to you. If there is any man you owe the goodwill Deltans saw in you through the media and someone that can lay down his life for you; that person is your Special Adviser, Hillary Ibegbulam. Unless those close to you have been deceiving you; you were not a good product in the media; neither were you in the good book of Deltans who spend most of their time on the Social Media where assessment of candidates are made. To them, your coming into the race is to continue the looting spree while covering up the monumental fraud of the past. There is no hiding the fact that like many Deltans I once classified you among the looters of our common treasury and did some negative reports against you. Despite all my well publicized opposition of your candidature, Hillary who is more than a brother and friend to me will only laugh, telling me how wrong I was and that I needed to know the man called ‘Ekwueme’ before I can assess him. He never argued my reports or shouted.
Alongside your Personal Assistant, Raymond; they made me saw a man who was serious about bringing prosperity to Deltans. With Alex Okunbor and Dantes Odogwu also speaking of your good intention for the State to me, I threw in the towel of opposition and joined the prosperity train, with so much conviction that my career meant nothing to me at that moment, except to use it and see that only your name was heard in the media while doing my very best against our collective rivals. If any other persons have told you that they brought me on board, Sir, these men led by Hillary were the media master stroke and today I can walk head high that a battle we successfully fought since the primaries is ending up in Unity House.
Reports are already flying about various lobbyist coming to you for appointment into your cabinet, and while we cannot condemn it since it’s part of the political process, I just want to tell you to beware the Ides of March. There are already talks by your tribal brethren that “this is OUR government”, since an Anioma person is in charge and thus they will dominate this government since they are not sure of when next they will get it. Your Excellency, I could have dismissed this as gossip but with what happened during the campaigns, I can tell you that other ethnic groups are already feeling sidelined.
Permit me to narrate to you a bit of this tribal matter that you have to disassociate yourself from. In the course of the campaign, my humble self was acknowledged of leading the media in your favor, through reports, articles and social media posts. A work which I was doing with purity of heart and pro bono drew envy from the duo of one Barrister Eugene Uzum, who was the ICT personnel in the campaign office and another of his legal colleague, one Cletus Uwakina (who are unable to practice because they cannot cope with legal challenges). They both connived to write something negative against me in some Facebook groups, which drew the ire of Deltans especially Urhobos who read the post. The arrogant Uzum (His issue will be discussed fully another day) told his clique that if my wings was not clipped, I will be taking over the media from them (Aniomas) if you emerge as the governor. It took the intervention of Hillary, Hon. Kingsley Emu, Dantes Odogwu, Alex Okubor and hundreds of Deltans before I could let it go off my mind and continue my work. Hon. Festus Okubor was told point blank in one of the Facebook group by one Elohor Emonefe that they (Okubor) are already planning to kick me out because I am an Urhobo man.
This ugly incident is already happening with various associations about to be formed, all from Anioma extraction; that will pay you visits to drum into your ears on why you should favor Delta North more than any other tribe. Sir, let it be told this people loud and clear by you that during your campaign, you didn’t do so only in Delta North but in the entire state, with beautiful manifesto in each of the LGA that you visited. Let it be known to these tribal warriors that you are not a governor for a region but the entire State. Let the likes of Uzum be aware that appointment into your government is by competence and absolute loyalty and not by ‘kporakpo’. One of the silent positions already generating tribal argument is the Special Adviser on Student Matters, which was brought to my knowledge. As one who is detribalized, I placed the issue before Deltans on Social Media for the students and youths to chose and one name dominated the rest. Your Excellency, the student body is too dicey to be a political or ethnic matter, but one that they alone can decide who best fits them. In the poll conducted, permit me your Excellency to let it be known to you that the same Comrade who coordinated the students for you during the campaign was unanimously chosen by them, with hope that you will graciously appoint him into the position. The students’ yearn for Comrade Ezekiel Okoh.
Now that you have won the election, you are going to have sycophants all around you, and if there is one person who will still tell you the truth and yet stand by you, know that you have a partner in me. I do not seek to be appointed into your government as the Uzums and Uwakinas of this world fear and currently desire to be appointed as Media Special Advisers when they know nothing about its working. All I seek is that I can come back again before Deltans in 2019 and tell them to give you their votes since you delivered on your promises. All I seek is that I can call/sms your phone lines and tell you what Deltans are saying about your government and you will quickly make amends. All I seek is that you will still be very accessible in government house as you were during the electioneering process. I am contented with playing my role at the National level as an anti corrupt investigative journalist, activist and be the Vanguard against corrupt practices and bad governance. I will however be available to serve you and my state in whatever capacity that will move us forward. Your Excellency, permit me to say that if you are going to complete eight years as we campaigned to Deltans, your achievements alone will speak for you. Do not forget that the PDP is no longer the ruling party and as such, the federal might to ‘influence’ votes will no longer be there by 2019. You have to hit the ground running with positive changes.
You owe no one apologies on what happened during the primaries and subsequent election. You owe no one explanations on how you successfully won the hearts of Deltans. If any of the aspirants had the human resources at your disposal, they would have used it against you. The only people you owe explanations are Deltans who will question every move you make and every decision you take.
Deltans are very impatient people who will quickly call for your head in the next 100 days if nothing positive is seen. You have no excuse whatsoever to give them, for they stood under the sun and rain to make sure you emerge as the winner. Sir, you have already made your first blunder even before you began, by appointing 98 persons as those to see to the smooth transition process. You have entered the unenviable hall of shame as the governor elect with the most bloated committee members when the President Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari has just 19 members in his own committee. Your government should not be one that will reward friends, families and politicians, except those who truly contributed to your victory right from the primaries. No, it should be a government where Deltans are rewarded with prosperity for giving you their cherish mandates. You owe only God and your conscience on how you will run the state in the next four years. Let your conscience be your guide.
Four years in politics comes faster than four years in the tertiary institutions and only your performance can promote you to the next level. I do not see you ending as just a governor but the Vice President of this country, but what you make of this governance will determine if you will get that. The failure of this government will not affect you like those of us who staked our integrity and credibility for you. Yes, I personally put my life on the line of duty just to defend you and will still do, so that you can succeed. Your failure will be our shame and regret for sticking out our neck. You should not fail us.
I hope to see you on May 29th when we will all be worshipping God for a glorious victory just as you promised at the Oshimili Arcade during your declaration that if you win, we will not be partying but giving glory to God; but before then; I would written the detailed part two of this letter to you.
Accept my highest form of loyalty my governor.
*** Fejiro Oliver is an investigative journalist who was abducted and imprisoned by the government of Niger State in 2014 for exposing the rots in the State and the corrupt governance style of Governor Babangida Muazu Aliyu