The best legacy governor Ifeanyi Okowa can bequeath the people of Ika nation is the laying of a solid foundation for economic prosperity. The will to do this is not lacking going by his antecedents when he was a Commissioner, Secretary to the State Government and now the governor of Delta State. Agreed that the lean financial position of the state occasioned by the dwindling revenue from the Federation account is a major setback but a determined Okowa can make a way where there seem to be no way. Already, efforts are being made to tar many streets/ roads in Boji-Boji urban and many other roads in the other clans of Ika nation.
Road infrastructure no doubt is one of the key components of economic development. Strategic street roads in Boji-Boji Agbor and Imeobi Agbor such as the road from Dein’s Palace to Uromi Junction a broad road running from old Abraka road to Owa- Ekei road should be identified for tarring and they should be of high quality so that the roads can stand the test of time. Another area governor Okowa should not forget is the provision of portable water. It is shameful that a town as large as Boji-Boji Agbor and indeed Boji-Boji urban has no treated public water supply.
When I was growing up as a student of St. Columbas Grammar School, Agbor there were public pipe borne water scattered all over Boji-Boji Agbor and its environs. Unfortunately, today there are no such things again. The most surprising aspect about this water thing is that there exist water board offices as a parastatal of one of the state ministries with workers on their pay roll who collect salaries at the end of every month without doing anything. What a waste of public funds? If individuals can sink boreholes to provide their homes with water, why can’t government provide its citizens with treated water which is one of the basic necessities of life. The drilling of industrial boreholes for the supply of treated pipe borne water is not rocket science. That the individual is able to do it shows that the cost is not prohibitive. All that is needed is the political will on the part of government to provide this social amenity.
The rebuilding of the old garage market in Boji-Boji Owa into a modern market with good passage, parking lot and drainage will also uplift the economic wellbeing of Ika nation. The market as it is now is unplanned, rowdy, inaccessible and heavily flooded when it rains. The same could be said of Baleke market in Boji-Boji Agbor. One other project that could frog lift the economy of Ika nation is the building of either a university or polytechnic in Boji-Boji Agbor or its environs. If the State government has any constraint in doing this, let it encourages prominent Ika sons and daughters who have the wherewithal to do this. Educational institution will continue to survive as long as human civilization survives and the economic contributions to its host community are innumerable.
Another major setback the Ika people are confronted with today is the inability of those in Boji-Boji urban to receive Radio and TV signals from Delta Radio and Delta TV in Asaba. Surprisingly, one can get clear signals from Edo Radio and TV in Benin City and receive signals from Ondo Radio and TV from Akure. All that is needed to solve this problem is to build a repeater station or a booster station close to Agbor so that the people of Boji-Boji metropolis can hear and see what is happening in Asaba their state capital.
I understand there is a good plan to build Agbor shopping mall and that a few members of the landlord association were protesting against the project site. This is a laudable initiative which should not be allowed to die. This shopping mall has its economic advantage to the development of the Ika nation. As a shopping mall, that government field location is the most ideal. Whatever purpose the government field is serving can better be served by the Agbor township stadium which is just a stone throw from the government field. I want to join all other well meaning sons and daughters of Ika nation to support the building of this shopping mall at this location.
As we march towards the election year of 2019, I urge all Ika sons and daughters to give Governor Ifeanyi Okowa their hundred percent supports for his bid for second term. The Ikas must avoid clannish politics and politics of mudslinging. The people of Ika nation must be united in their support for this illustrious son of Ika nation who has brought unprecedented development to Ika land.
If we allow clannish acrimony and politics of mudslinging to becloud our sense of patriotism and fail to give governor Okowa the needed support, then the Ikas may have shot themselves in the leg and whoever shoots himself in the leg will bleed to death. The post of governor will be lost and it may take another 30 years or more for the Ikas to produce another governor. Governor Okowa is a leader with divine backing. No matter whatever anybody will do to stop his return to government house Asaba it will fail. It is better to support him and join in the euphoria of his victory come 2019.
Comrade Ben Diken Iduh a veteran labour leader writes from Lagos.