By Jude Atupulazi
The Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Peter Obi, has commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for his determination to make a difference by his continued exemplification of character and integrity which he described as a desiderata in governance in Nigeria.
Obi was speaking as a keynote speaker at the Strategic Executive Retreat, 2019, organized by the Delta state Government for its Executive Council, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Parastatals and other senior government officials at Emmanuel Uduaghan Centre, Onicha Ugbo.
Speaking immediately after the Governor’s opening remarks on the theme of the retreat, “Defining Pathways to Building a Stronger Delta”, Mr. Obi said that as far as governance was concerned in the state, Senator Okowa was the driver of the Delta developmental bus and that the task of others were to contribute and assist him to see that the bus got to its destination.
‘In assisting him, your task is to internalize and imbibe the vision and mission of the government to ensure common purpose – the good of the state.’
Obi used the Nigerian condition to explain the fact that all was not well in the country and advised Deltans and other states to look inwards and avoid the Nigerian condition. His words: ‘To show you how bad things are in our dear country, all the countries that were in similar economic situation with us in the eighties have all overtaken us.’
Obi thanked Okowa for remaining focused and reminded him that the only way Nigeria could come out of her present mess was by her leaders investing massively in education in order to launch her into the league of knowledge-driven economies and support for Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) in order to create jobs.
Explaining the foregoing, Obi said, ‘In 2000, only one or two knowledge-based companies, Microsoft and IBM, were among the top 10 biggest corporations in the world. Today, in 2019, among the 10 biggest corporations in the world, about 8 are knowledge based corporations. One of them, Facebook, founded twenty years ago, has a market valuation bigger than the GDP of all West African countries put together.’
Speaking further, Obi said that in 2018, Nigeria’s total earning from oil which was shared among all tiers of Government was 18.12 billion dollars, which was about 32% of Facebook’s annual revenue of 55 billion dollars in 2018.
Obi said he gave those examples to show how the world economy was driven by knowledge and urged the government to pay attention to education.
Concluding, Obi commended Okowa for his excellent performance in his first term and reminded him that he would be judged by his second term records.
‘Nobody remembers Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of the West, Dr. Michael OKpala as the Premier of the East and Sir Ahmadu Bello as the Premier of the North but they are remembered for their exploits in education, support to business, encouragement and support to Agriculture,’ Obi said.
He also urged Okowa to strengthen his good governance performance committee in his second tenure for clear quarterly evaluation of the activities of the ministries and other government departments to make sure that everybody was on track for continued delivery of democracy dividends to the people.
Describing Okowa as one of the pillars of the PDP in Nigeria, Obi said his governance model was worthy of emulation, including his support for schools and his various empowerment programmes.
Earlier, Governor Okowa had thanked Obi for coming. He said the retreat was targeted at re-engineering the EXCO for sustained service to the people of Delta State.