A political pressure group, Citizens Alliance Project, CAP, Thursday, called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, to step up for a national assignment and be part of the team that would rescue Nigeria in 2023.
Making the call during a world press conference, the National Chairman of the group, Comrade Shedrack Agediga, said their membership strength cuts across all the geo-political zones in the country, adding that; “as a group, we are well informed with the politics of Nigeria and we have been following with keen interest”.
Agediga who was flanked by the Director of Mobilisation, Ambassador Obinna Nwoke and Coordinator North, Alhaji Muktar Usman of the group, said: “Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has grown through the ranks as a public officer from being Secretary to Local Government Council to Chairman of Local Government Council, Commissioner, Secretary to State Government, a Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly and Governor of Delta State.
“In all these assignments of public interest, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has provided credible service to the people who freely gave him their mandates trusting in his capacity to deliver. In 2015 after the party primaries election that saw his emergence as the flag bearer of the PDP, the Smart Agenda began like every other normal political mantra and after his popular victory at the polls has long gone beyond a mere mantra to become a clear policy direction of a very focused and people-oriented government in Delta state.
“In defining the direction of a SMART Delta, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said his government has ‘outlined a five-point agenda encapsulated in the acronym SMART which means; Strategic Wealth Creation Projects and Provision of jobs for all Deltans; Meaningful peacebuilding platforms aimed at political and social harmony; Agricultural reforms and accelerated industrialization; Relevant Health and Education policies; Transformed environment through urban renewal.
“The strategic implementation of the policy has seen a great rise in youth capacity building engagement for self-reliance through programs like YAGEP and STEP, direct employment in the state civil service, rural and urban renewal and continuous stakeholders engagement for peace and inclusiveness.
“The beginning of the first and even the second term of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as governor of Delta state was greeted with the following challenges; Drop in crude oil prices that adversely affected state allocation from federal account. Avengers’ hostilities on oil and gas facilities reduced the stake of the state at FAAC. Covid- 19 global pandemic.
“With all the above challenges, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa led administration has continued to pursue all-round development with uncompromising vision and charismatic leadership. His government set out to create wealth through employment, knowing fully well that unemployment can only truly be tackled through deliberate government effort to stimulate and create employment opportunities both through known and tested short term and long term strategies.
“While Delta State is an oil-bearing state, a non-labour intensive sector, the approach to supporting Small and Medium scale enterprises by the administration has proven to be a clear road to economic growth, while addressing unemployment.
“In line with his set out goals, the Governor created for the first time the office of Chief Job creation officer. This office is manned by a renowned Professor of Agricultural economics from the University of Nigeria, Nnsuka; Prof Eric Eboh.
“The enterprise development programs like in the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) as implemented by the Job creation scheme, did so without recourse to political patronage and has since then trained and established over 20,334 graduands directly through technical and vocational education and agriculture as at 2019.
“The record from 2015-2021 also shows that over 5000 unemployed youths have been engaged across various skills; Information Communication Technology (ICT), Agro-allied production and beauty services amongst others through the Job Creation Scheme.
“These programmes have since been expanded to include Project test for girls between ages of 18 and 30, with about 500 starter kit empowered graduands for the first batch. The Rural Youth Skills Acquisition of the Delta state ministry of youth have in no small measure contributed to the overall 30,000 beneficiaries of all the youth and SME empowerment programs.
“The huge success of the schemes has contributed to the over 150,000 direct and indirect private sector jobs that were created through these youth empowerment interventions and infrastructure development, Contributory Health Insurance, Technical Education, Public Environmental works and the many other socio-economic activities.
“Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as a party man and strategic member of the PDP has conducted two-party national convention adjudged to be the most peaceful, free, fair and credible elective conventions as Chairman and Convention planning committee for the party.
“He has chaired and co-chaired committees of reconciliations and has often been seen pursuing causes of stabilisation of the party. As a consummate politician and statesman, he has also established friendships across party lines for the benefit of Deltans and by extension Nigeria.
“With a very rich experience in people-oriented leadership positions of the Nigerian state, we can without any equivocation call on the governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to step up for a national assignment of being part of the team that will rescue Nigeria in 2023.”