It was a celebration of sorts penultimate Tuesday in Abuja as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State received the award for good governance in Delta State from the Youth Wing In Christian Association of Nigeria, YOWICAN.
The award as stated was for the governor’s exploits in the last seven years in good governance and youth development.
The award came on the back of the recent nomination of the governor as vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a position that has earmarked the governor for higher service to the fatherland.
The award to Okowa also came against the background of the achievements made by the governor in road infrastructure, economic empowerment through initiatives in SMEs and of course in peace development.
While the governor has received much accolades in the development of infrastructure and won the moniker, ‘Road Master’ for the network of roads that has emerged under his government, the seemingly intangible product of peace and development is one that may have formed the cornerstone for the achievements in infrastructure, education and healthcare delivery.
It was as such poignant that as he received the latest award that the governor used the opportunity to expatiate on how as vice-president he could use the experience in Delta State to help his principal, Atiku Abubakar unify the country and resolve the flares of crisis across the country.
Okowa of course is well positioned given his testimonial in Delta State, a state where the multiplicity of ethnic groups has over time proved a challenge for his predecessors.
It is remarkable that not only has the governor squelched such crises, he has been able to cause a sense of unity among prominent stakeholders across ethnic groups.
It was as such in that respect that speaking at the occasion that the governor who spoke , to the theme, “Unifying Nigeria: The role of Northern Christian Youths and Women”, took a big leap from his success story on peace in Delta to the issues across the land.
His starting point was on religious inclusivity and it was no surprise that he condemned the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APc, saying it “is not a good thing to do particularly in a troubled nation as we are in today.”
Following that the governor also spoke on age inclusivity saying that it was the determination of the Atiku/Okowa administration to ensure that the youths were brought into government.
The governor nevertheless disclosed that the youths must do their task in ensuring that their narrative was reckoned with in government.
He also encouraged the supporters of Atiku not to despair saying:
He said, “The PDP will win the election because many people have keyed into this project. We are receiving defectors in droves. When we say that the future is for the youths, it is actually from today. But the real truth is, our youths, particularly youth leaders must be in position to have a clear understanding so that they are able to guide others aright because if you have a leadership that is not able to provide that true leadership of guiding people aright and people begin to think in the wrong way, you create further problems rather than finding solutions and we go the wrong path.
“We are going to see bullying in the cyber space of our country. I think that everybody should have his space, time to be able to think, make comments without being bullied. We need to do critical thinking and that is why we are gathered here today.
“The topic for the event is key because it talks about unifying Nigeria. This is instructive because there is strength in our diversity but that will only be when we are able to unite ourselves.
“I personally do not believe in the Muslim-Muslim ticket. The reason is that there is diversity when it comes to that. Therefore, sticking to one faith is not a good thing to do particularly in a troubled nation as we are in today. It’s almost like going on to having the presidential candidate from the North and also picking the vice-presidential candidate also from the North.
“So, the only ticket that can work for our Nigeria is the ticket that is not trying to build itself to election victory to either the Muslim or Christian faith.”
His assertions on national unity and inclusivity also finds traction with his principal, Atiku Abubakar who has been hailed nearly everywhere as the unifier. That for many gives a satisfaction that the ticket is united in projecting unity in the land after nearly eight years of separation and marginalization foisted by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.