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IDPs Camp: APC Shows Light Where PDP Fails

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IDPs Camp: APC Shows Light Where PDP Fails

BY TONY ARUGBA & TED UWADIUSOR

The gale of floods that swept through the country in the past month was rather peculiar judging from its impact on Delta and other states across the federation. While that tragic phase had been consigned to historical narrative like earlier disasters, its trail was all-pervading as a result of loss of lives, destruction of private properties and public infrastructure and imposition of an atmosphere of deferred dreams among our compatriots. Those who survived either by dint of luck or spontaneous human intervention took temporary shelter at the IDPs centres spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.

To a large extent, the Delta State government dilly-dallied in taking proactive measures to address what had become an inevitable humanitarian catastrophe. It seemed that the Okowa administration went on casual leave in the earliest days! Governor Okowa’s visit to the camps was thus belated, while his wife, Dame Okowa, who had gone there earlier only delivered a few items, with a mountainous sight of cartons of noodles being the most visible at the various camps.

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Given the ethnocentric and parochial basis of Governor Okowa’s policy formulation and project execution, he would have reponded faster if his immediate Owa-Alero and other communities in the two Ika local government areas were submerged! Perhaps, he would have sought the approval of the pliant Delta State House of Assembly for a fresh loan of at least N5 billion from Zenith Bank to address the emergency situation!

With the IDPs continual grappling with unending distress in the camps echoeing across the state, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) intervened a week ago in a most remarkable manner. The party’s gubernatorial candidate in Delta State and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, announced a personal donation of N150 million worth of relief materials and additional N50 million cash donation from the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Prior to that, the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the APC, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi, had given out items and cash worth N50 million to IDPs camp in Kwale.

The unexpected donation of the leading light in the APC was the reason why the entire surrounding of Effurun literally quaked as though a tremor was imminent. Less than a week, a seamless disbursement of relief items and cash to the three IDP camps in Kwale, Patani, and Okwagbe as representative of Delta North, Delta South and Delta Central senatorial districts respectively was carried out.

The APC’s donation remains unprecedented in the annals of Delta State. Back in 2012, when Delta was flooded like other states, the then government led by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan did not spend that huge amount of naira which comparatively had greater value than now, despite the state’s status as oil-rich state.

With a hindsight of causal analysis, the recent humanitarian intervention of the APC has inevitably boosted its rating and appeal to Deltans in general. Within the confines of the various camps, the IDPs are appreciative of the APC’s disposition towards ameliorating their predicament. Even in the larger society, a very large number of persons are more aware of the basis of APC’s mission to rescue Delta State from the long years of strangulation by the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).

In evaluating the APC’s initiative, the personal disposition of Asiwaju Tinubu, Barr. Omo-Agege and his running mate, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi cannot be divorced from the reason for that intervention. Without empathy for distress of humanity, they would not have reached out to these helpless people when it mattered most.

The enviable background of both personalities as lawmakers makes their actions not surprising, however. Omo-Agege has given good account of his stewardship as a senator in the last seven and half years. He attracted to Delta Central senatorial district its own share of the national cake through multiple projects and facilities such as solar-powered electricity and distributed new transformers to the 23 clans and kingdoms of Urhobo nation. He has empowered many persons with political appointments into boards and agencies, besides facilitating career job placements of Deltans in the federal ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs).

Aligned to that is the unbeatable record of Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi, a three-time member of Delta State House of Assembly that is well-known for his empowerment programmes. His donation reflected the mystic doctrine that good would always travel a familiar path. Even before now, Friday Osanebi has been identified as one of the foremost philanthropists in Delta State. His philanthropic deeds preceded his foray into politics in 2011. As the youth leader of Ndokwa/Ukwuani axis of Delta State, he showed the enviable stuff he is made of in the way he mobilized resources with which he enriched the lives of those, who were within his age bracket but needed financial assistance to stand on their own

In the past 11 and a half years as a legislator, Osanebi has deployed a personal platform to alter the sad narrative of poverty and deprivation in his native land which cuts across Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West and Ukwuani local governments areas. It might not be hyperbolic to say that Osanebi might have have spent over half a billion Naira in the past seven and half years on various empowerment programmes. These initiatives comprised buying and building of houses and cars for his aides, sponsorship of his aides’ marriage ceremonies, paying school fees for the less privilege, providing educational items such as books, pen, among others to schools, building of secondary and primary schools, donating to worthy courses in Ndokwa land and beyond, empowering the women segments with different skills and quality starter-packs too numerous to recount. His philanthropic engagement has long earned him the nickname, ‘Omenosa’ which in Ukwuani language means ‘One who does for all’. Years back in 2012, he was described as ‘Empowerment Master’ by former Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.

An assessment of the APC’s response vis-a-vis the PDP led government in Delta State shows that the former did well on the subject under discourse. The PDP-led government in Delta was asleep and so failed to respond in a manner which is commensurate with the scale of the disaster. Rather than rise to the occasion, the PDP was busy setting up campaign committees to renew its poor leadership tenure in Delta State beyond May 2023.

Since one good turn deserves another, it behoves Deltans to reciprocate the aforementioned good deed of APC and allow the party to take over power from the ruling PDP government in 2023. The party platform is less of an issue this time around. Of paramount importance is the identity of the joint ticket of Omo-Agege and Osanebi, and not the party platform which, of course, is extrinsic to their personal attributes. This is because party membership in the current dispensation could be likened to an expedient choice of a vehicle by a traveller so desirous of safe arrival at his destination! Granted, a number of persons may have issues with APC’s perceived poor performance at the federal level, but we cannot use such sentiment to dismiss the prospects of a fruitful, broad based and result-oriented leadership that Agege and Osanebi will enthrone in Delta.

Giving APC a chance would therefore help to address the weariness of Deltans from successive poor leadership of the PDP since 1999. By May 2023, the PDP would have ruled Delta for 24 years, and on account of its ruinous course, there is little or nothing to show for the vast material resources that had accrued to Delta State. As of today, there is no single town or local government headquarter that is fully developed to the extent that running water is taken for granted; there is no single town you can boast of uninterrupted power supply; no town can boast of a network of tarred roads. Even some of the roads in Owa axis of the Boji-Boji metropolis where the Governor comes from are also littered with potholes similar to those in Agbor and other towns in the state that have not faired well, infrastructure-wise, under Okowa.

Since a robust democracy is measured by power alternation between leading political parties in a polity, allowing the PDP to take power after next year will amount to a monarchical democratic form in Delta State. And if the usual steps taken in the morning could predict the day’s outcome as gleaned from the APC’s humanitarian action, the party is duly set to provide good governance anchored on inclusiveness and probity, empathy and timely response to people in distress, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds or local government areas of origin.

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