Governor Okowa, Passionate About Prosperity Of Delta Youths - Utomi - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Thursday, September 19, 2019

Governor Okowa, Passionate About Prosperity Of Delta Youths - Utomi


Chukwudi Utomi; the Ogwashi - Ukwu born young man wears double caps or more at the same time. He is the initiator of the  Five - Over -Five team  which worked for the electoral victory of the quartet of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as second term Governor, Nwaboshi for Senate, Ndudi Elumelu for House of Representatives and Chikezie for state house of Assembly during the last general elections.

He spoke with the Southwest Bureau Chief of The Daily Crucible, Godwin AKOMAH, on a number of issues. Excerpt 

We learnt you are a grassroot mobiliser and popular among the youths. Do you see yourself as a politician?

Laughs! … yes, I see myself as  a politician. I say this because during the last election, we went round talking to our people on why they should vote for PDP, and they accepted our ideas and voted for PDP. Politics is all about telling people what they need to know about what affects them today or what lies ahead by the decision they make today.  And when they accept  that,  they will  follow you. So, if you are not a politician, you can't easily convince people and win followership or support.

Delta State is an oil bearing state, yet, the youths there are complaining of not getting commensurate benefits, what's your response to this?

You know that Delta state is a peaceful state and the Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has plans for everybody's welfare, but, it may not be possible to attend to everybody at the same time. The Governor  sees the welfare of his people as a priority. He knows the importance of the youth and that's why he can not afford to neglect them.

 As a follow up question; almost all over the states, the youths have one issue or the other to complain about, more so, Delta state, which is contributing oil revenue to the  Nigerian government. What is your Governor doing to assuage the yearning of the youths of the state?

As I said earlier, the Governor  loves Delta  state, and he has a very good plan for the people. Let me just say that he is someone that cares for his people. I can say that he is the best Governor when you consider the fact that the level of prosperity in Delta state is rated high. He does things that engender prosperity for the youths because he knows that they are the leaders of tomorrow. He focuses on the youths passionately. If you go into  Delta state Government house, you will observe that the majority of the people working there are youths. Our Governor loves the youths so much. Even there are youths, who are not Delta state indigenes but are employees of Delta State government because  the Governor has created a conducive atmosphere for it, even in the government house. I can tell you that you will be surprised to find non - indigenes working there. The Governor has a very big dream for the people of Delta state and the youths in particular. In the last administration before he succeeded himself, the Deputy Speaker in the House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Osadebe, was a youth. He was in his thirties, and that couldn't have happened if the Governor does not encourage the youths to be involved in politics. 

Your state used to be reckoned with in the area of sports, which is the domain of the youth but it seem that is not the case today. What's being done to wake the sleeping giant in sports?

If you watch what is going on now in Delta state in the area of sports, you will see that the Governor has done far much than his predecessors. He hosted many African countries in sports competition. He is aware that sports is one of the tools that must be employed to develop and empower the youths.

What is your take on the issue of the youths preferring to get their demands (rights)  through agitations?

Handling the restiveness of the youth is by God's grace and not by power per se. The Governor can't see every thing all alone, but needs people who can tell him the truth. That is why he has credible advisers around him and they are joining hands with him to make our state and people better. It is my belief that the time is ripe for the people to feel the prosperity of Delta state.

How would you sensitize the youths to understand how to use their votes to get  their demands, given the fact that they are in majority, instead of resorting to violence, to press for their demand?

We have already initiated a pattern that will make the youth to be more politically aware that their votes are more potent than arm struggle. During the last election in Delta state, I created what is called  Five - Over -  Five team, a concept  I spear headed. As you are aware, my Governor is from PDP, which is the popular party in Delta state.

What is Five -  Over - Five?

It is the team we created to support the right people to get into position of leadership. The bible says that 'when the righteous ascends the throne, the people rejoice.' This team moved round the whole corners of the state to sensitize the youth during the last general electioneering period. Five - over -five team campaigned and convinced the youths to vote into office only politicians that demonstrate the fear of God. We used the team to support Atiku for presidency; Nwaboshi for Senate, Ndudi Elumelu for House of Representatives, and Chikezie for state house of Assembly and of course, the Chairman of my Local Government,  all  of them are from PDP, my party. We successfully voted  four of them, except Atiku who was not declared a winner, Atiku challenged it at the Tribunal but lost. However, Atiku could  head to the Supreme Court to appeal the Tribunal verdict.

•The last general elections Five - Man Squad

In what ways  do you think the Governor can harness the potentials of the youths in your state with the intent of making a change from the old ways they are used to? For example, the youths are used to working to provide for their immediate needs instead of setting up structure that could cater for them today and tomorrow?

The new order is not just to give the youths money to meet their daily needs. The Governor knows that giving the youth knowledge and understanding  by creating platforms that encourage youth 
development like: government scholarships, mentoring, learning trade, sports, professional institutions etc, are the ways to create new order for the youths. Government has put plans in place  to drive this new order. Also, the mind set of empowering people to empower others has been the government's interest. 

What are some of the familiar crimes the youths are easily attracted to, and what strategies do you intend  using to address such?

If the youths are empowered to work or do business, I see no reason for the youth to engage themselves into crime related activities. You should note that the vices we see in Delta state are not committed by only the indigenes. Non - indigenes  are also  involved. We are evolving plans, programs and incentives that will make crime less attractive to the  youths. The Governor  is driving this process himself through modern ways  of securing the state which places more emphasis on proactive measures.

During the State visit to Nigeria by the German Chancellor, Angela Marcus, she was accompanied by a retinue of young professionals instead of politicians. What signal do you think that visit should have sent to our leaders concerning the youths? 

That's  the type of development we want to replicate in Delta state. Clearly, the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and the Governor is very passionate about developing the youth to compete with their counterparts elsewhere in the world.

Our President was quoted sometimes in the past telling the whole world in a interview outside the country, that, Nigerian youths are lazy! What's your take on this?

Nigerians were not happy with that comment but the truth is, the President was misunderstood. In a way, I think he meant the youths should engage more in productive and legitimate ventures, contribute their quotas patriotically to make Nigeria better. I believe that is also  same  sincere advice parents give to their children, to be productive and be their best in good things.  Experience has continued to show that  Nigerian youths are hard working inspite of the challenging environment. At home and abroad, they excel. And with necessary encouragement, Nigerian youths can rule the world. So, to me, the President was not out to disparage the youths with that comment.

Some people who are seen as  role models in Niger Delta employed the tactics of violence before  the Federal government looked in their direction with empowerment programmes. Do you think it was a good thing to by the Niger Delta youths, given the outcome?

 Yes, sometimes, it takes such move by the youths, for the government to pay attention to sensitive matter as it were. But it was not during the government of Dr. Okowa. When the youths of Niger Delta resorted to forceful protests, they did not kill people, rather, they disrupted crude oil production lines  in the region. The government had to do the right thing when it was obvious that intimidations could not deter the youths' struggle for their right. So, sometimes, using force to express one's dissatisfaction is not totally out of place. The bible says that '... the kingdom of God sufferers violence, and violence takes  it by force'. 

 What would you like the youths of Delta state to experience, that will make you feel fulfilled as the S A to the Governor on youth matters?

 They are going to experience a lot of improvements. They will be empowered in order to progress. Life is not all about giving money only, it is about impacting knowledge and ideas that can make one succeed in life. It is about creating an atmosphere that can enable people succeed in their chosen careers. It's about good and successful mentoring. So, my dream, which I will always push forward at every given opportunity, is for the youths to benefit constructively, from the programmes of the state.

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