By Bala Ibrahim
I have been to every state of Nigeria but Delta, so when the chance came to visit Warri yesterday, my heart was not only filled with the feeling of eagerness to see the place but the enthusiasm of what to see in the place. In sooth, Warri turned out to be cool, calm and full of fun.
My initial worry was security, but the guide said to me, all the security challenges that are found in places like Port Harcourt and Lagos are available here, but with a difference. If you mind your business, remain humble enough to ask questions on the things you don’t understand, and move smartly, you are good to go in Warri. I took the advice out and out.
My mission in Warri was to witness the formal declaration of the Deputy Senate President, His Excellency, Chief Ovie Omo Agege, as he unveils his plan to contest for the governorship of Delta state, come 2023.
Wow! I didn’t know Warri is such a multi-ethnic city, that showcases different tribes beyond the native Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ijaw, until now. The Sen.Omo Agege declaration attracted several other ethnic nationalities from across Nigeria, such as the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, who came out in numbers to show support.
If the count of the crowd counts in democracy, then H.E.Omo Agege has won the election even before the votes are cast.
The atmosphere at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun was of both jamboree and fiesta, with delightful and captivating displays of lavish celebrations, in solidarity with the ambition of the cherished Senator.
The venue was a sea of people that turned into an uncontrollable crowd, where the police had to use blank shots in the air, to allow the chief host gain access to the podium, and the stage turned into thunderous shouts of Agege!, Agege!!, Agege!!! , as he approached the microphone. Yes, in Delta, Omo Agege is undoubtedly an enigma.
In outlining the basis that gave justification for his aspiration for the governorship of the state, Senator Omo Agege, who couldn’t read his prepared speech because of time, and in order to ease the pains of supporters who waited for upwards of 10 hours to see him, only summarized it. I had a preview, and I quote a segment, thus:
“I have delivered on all the promises I made to you in 2015 and 2019. Today, every community has solar-powered electricity. Also, courtesy of the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have given focus to our people’s infrastructural needs, and the endless list of gains in this regard includes some to be delivered before the end of our mandate in 2023. Some are –
(i) the Act establishing this great institution.
(ii) the Federal Polytechnic Orogun;
(iii) numerous infrastructure projects, including many outside Delta Central:
– mass provision of solar street lighting in all towns and villages in Delta Central.
– mass installation of new electricity transformers and replacement of obsolete ones across our State;
– mass renovation and furnishing of schools across our State;
– construction of water schemes across our State;
– additional federal funding for the construction of Amukpe-Eku-Abraka-Agbor road;
– rehabilitation of Asaba/Ugbolu/Illah road in Delta North;
– renovation, rehabilitation and furnishing of the Nanna Living Museum, with accommodation and furnishing of offices for the Curator and Staff in Koko, Delta South;
– Construction of an E-Library and an Administrative Block, a one-floor Storey Building of 12 Classrooms, a 100 Bed-Space Male Hostel with Lavatories, a 100 Bed-Space Female Hostel with Lavatories and the Renovation of an existing Dinning Hall/Refectory – all in St. George’s College, Obinomba, Ukwuani, Delta North;
– provision of solar street lighting for Koko in Warri North and Isoko South LGAs;
– provision of solar street lighting in Ika LGA, Abbi and Utagbe-Uno in Delta North Senatorial District;
– provision of solar street lighting in Koko, Warri North and Isoko South LGAs in Delta South;
– Construction of the Palace of the Obi of Onitsha-Olona in Aniocha North LGA;
(iv) a Federal University of Agriculture and Technology sited in Aboh in Ndokwa East LGA is also on the way;
(v) the Nigerian Defence Space School, Delta State.
(vi) a Campus of the Nigerian Law School is also coming to Delta State.
As he spoke, it was an ovation all the way from the audience, which sustained the show of appreciation for the choice of a true representative, that has evidently kept his covenant with them.
The strategy of DSP Omo Agege’s plan as a governor is designed to achieve its goal under an agenda that is abbreviated as EDGE, or Employment and Empowerment, Development, Good Governance and Enduring Security. The agenda he said, “is a paradigm shift to reform our public service, cut the cost of governance, eliminate waste, and deny corruption and other crimes comfort and safety in our governance architecture”.
It is on that premise that he added:
“Fellow Deltans, I testify with humility that my life has been greatly blessed by God, by whose grace I stand with the kindness of many. Though blessed with the love of great parents and families, I have also lived a hard, rustic life of a village fisher boy. I have dared to dream and successfully experienced the world in many noble pursuits. Standing before you today to confidently seek the Office of the Governor of our State speaks to God’s immeasurable faithfulness upon this proudly Orhomuru, Orogun man.”-
Indeed nothing demonstrates the crowd catching capacity, and illustrates the correctness of the threat made by DSP Omo-Agege sometime back, that come 2023, APC would dislodge PDP in the governorship election than today’s show of strength. At that time he said, “Whether PDP likes it or not, APC will still win the presidency come 2023”.
In emphasizing that his gubernatorial aspiration would usher in the dawn for the dream of a new Delta, the DSP said; “I have always believed that a people’s future ought always to be better than their past and it is the solemn duty of the people to create that better future. This belief has fundamentally shaped my public service decisions and journey. And it is why I humbly seek the Office of the Governor of our beloved Delta State. It is all about true service”.
DSP Omo Agege is a tested and trusted politician that started politics as an executive assistant to Governor James Ibori, after an aborted attempt to be a member of the House of Representatives.
He was later appointed commissioner for special duties by the governor. He was again appointed as the Secretary to State Government in 2007. He contested and was elected as Senator in 2015, under the platform of the Labour Party. He defected to the APC and was re-elected senator in 2019.
On 11 June 2019, he emerged as the Deputy Senate President of the 9th National Assembly, after beating Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The South-South caucus of the APC, on Thursday 28 November 2019, chose the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, as the leader of the party in the south-south region.
- Ibrahim writes from Abuja