BETWEEN PATRIOTISM AND THE ALLURE FOR PERFIDIOUS PERTINENCE

By Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza

Our attention was recently drawn to the advertorial in the Vanguard Newspaper of Monday, June 3, 2024, posted by a group called: “League of Delta Patriots” and titled: “Open Letter To Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori One Year In Office,” which suggested some provocative allusions and completely uncharitable aspersions on the leadership and administration of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, the Executive Governor of Delta State.

Suffice it to say that every leadership and administration must necessarily attract its own fair share of criticism, especially those fuelled by mischievous, seditious and even cretinous sensibilities, which, at some point, must be addressed if only to set the records straight and present a clearer picture of what must have appeared murky or intangible to misinformed critical analysis, couched, of course, in well grafted, but totally misleading innuendos.

It is against this backdrop therefore that the Delta State Government has considered it necessary to correct certain misconceptions, beliefs and distorted information that have been put in the public space against the good work that His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has been doing to the benefit of Deltans and residents in the State, since assuming office one year ago, as Governor of Delta State.

For starters, let us state without any equivocation whatsoever, that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, guided by the definitive mandate and components of the MORE Agenda, is one leader and administrator who operates with the unshakable conviction that what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Those who know and have worked closely with him, will confirm this admirable trait in a man who understands and has been forged in the crucible of high-powered political responsibility at the highest levels and stages, from an early age.

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, unlike the sponsors and constituents of the “League of Delta Patriots” is, fortunately, not obsessed with deadlines and delivery timelines. He operates on flexible but pragmatic timelines and would rather adjust inauguration dates to ensure that projects are delivered in accordance with the enduring specifications of the articulate MORE Agenda, to the overall satisfaction and benefit of the people, rather than impress those who evaluate achievements by dates rather than lasting quality and legacy.

Importantly, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori stated unequivocally, from the onset of his administration, that he will continue and deliver projects inherited from his predecessor, not only because government is a continuum, but also in recognition of the simple fact that these were projects, initiated when he was Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, a fact which the “League of Delta Patriots” must have forgotten, in their vaunting clamour for perfidious relevance in the guise of patriotism.

These projects were commenced with State funds to serve Deltans across the three Senatorial zones and it is on record that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has not only set the bar for Governors who wholeheartedly embraced and are completing outstanding Projects from previous administration, but has also become the shinning example and leadership symbol for how succession in democracy and good governance should be practiced.

It is rather unfortunate that the “League of Delta Patriots” actually used adjectives like ‘comatose’ and phrases like “phantom projects’, to qualify Delta State and Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration. This misinformation smacks of regrettable ignorance and defines a league of Patriots who sadly have not done their patriotic due diligence, by actually embarking on fact finding tours across Delta State, to really confirm if the billboards and other promotional placements are right.

A trip will reveal that the three Senatorial zones are gradually basking in meaningful transformation as construction sites. Roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, markets and existential social welfare initiatives are being initiated, constructed or commissioned across the State by the Oborevwori administration.

In the area of infrastructure development, the administration initiated the N78 billion construction of the stellar project of the three mega flyovers, cloverleaf and road expansion works in Warri and Effurun, which will not only add value to the aesthetic ambience, but will most importantly, ease traffic congestion in the Warri South, Uvwie and Udu Local government Areas which have merged into one big metropolis, when completed.

Notable progress has also been made on the Ughelli-Asaba Expressway project, as well as the several key bridge and road construction projects, including the Trans Warri-Ode Itsekiri Roads and Bridges which are currently ongoing. In fact history was made when the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, recently embarked on a journey to Ode-Itsekiri (Big Warri) for the very first time, on the road.

Bedeseigha Bridge, Nsukwa-Umute-Adonte Road, Orhere-Agbarho-Otokutu Link Road, Ohorhe-Adagbrasa-Ugolo-Okuodiete Road bearing a spur from Adagbrasa to Ughwagba Village to Okan Junction by Eku-Osubi-Effurun Road in Okpe Local Government Area, as well as the nearly completed construction of the Kwale-Beneku Bridge and the Orere-Ewu Bridge are additional examples of the Governor’s dedication to improving accessibility, connectivity and infrastructure across the State and also serve as verifiable evidence that Delta State is not ‘comatose’.

Governor Oborevwori’s administration has also prioritized the upgrade of facilities in primary health care centres and general hospitals, with the release of N3 billion for the purchase of ultra-modern equipment for the general hospitals. He has also tackled the twin scourge of ghost workers and the “japa syndrome” by giving express approval for the replacement of skilled medical personnel who have ported to foreign climes.

In addition to infrastructure development, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration has commissioned various projects in Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, University of Delta, Agbor and the Dennis Osadebay University, Asaba, amongst others.

Also on education and youth empowerment, a total of N674 million was disbursed as bursary payments to over 30,000 students of Delta State origin, studying in tertiary institutions across the country, easing the financial burden on students and promoting access to education.

Human Capital Development through socio-economic empowerment of Deltans with far-reaching skill acquisition packages for uplifting the people’s standards of living, including the recent roll out of M.O.R.E Grant to over 5,000 artisans and traders, as well as the D-CARES, Delta COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus programme, which upscaled direct beneficiaries from 36,353 to 110,841 persons, have all been given prominence by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori under the MORE Agenda.

The administration also successfully guaranteed the financial initiative that cleared a staggering N40 billion pension backlog for Local Government retirees, providing much-needed financial relief to thousands of individuals who dedicated their careers to public service.

It is on record that salaries have been promptly paid as at when due and over 50,000 civil servants in Delta State received N5 billion in promotion arrears, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to supporting its workforce.

Besides, civil servants and employees in State-owned tertiary institutions were provided with N10,000 monthly award for three months, to cushion the fuel subsidy removal harshness, underscoring the administration’s dedication to the well-being of its employees.

Governor Oborevwori has also been handling security challenges, both provoked and unexpected, with deft, courageous, astute, meticulous brinkmanship and bold ingenuity, galvanizing the various ethnic groups to live harmoniously in peaceful co-existence.

In just under a year, the Governor Sheriff Oborevwori administration in Delta State has made significant strides in various sectors, showcasing a commitment to improving the lives of Deltans and driving sustainable development.

The obvious point to be gleaned from the above is that the M.O.R.E. Agenda, contrary to the misleading prognosis of the “League of Delta Patriots”, is already a huge success because it is rendering Meaningful Development, Providing Opportunities For All, propagating Realistic Reforms and ensuring Enhanced Peace and Security.

All these have happened as a result of the fact that the State Government is not Idle. It is the work ethic and effort put in place by the administration of Governor Oborevwori and his team of dedicated , committed, focused and pragmatic team, that has delivered these achievements in one year and we can even categorical and conveniently project that the Governor will accomplish and deliver more life impacting legacy projects to Deltans, by the time his term of service is concluded.

And by the way, we cannot end this rejoinder, without espousing a bit on the misleading allusion to King Rehoboam and the contextual irrelevance to Delta State, as it has not only exposed the worrisome misunderstanding often associated with invoking the single verse narrative in referencing Biblical lores, it has equally underscored the shallow knowledge of the scriptures by the “League of Delta Patriots”, who are best advised from now on, to stop meddling in things they have little knowledge about like the scriptures and of course the intricate, yet focused and dedicated workings of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori and the excellent MORE Agenda.

Truth is that, while one year is too short a period to access any responsible administration, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s first year in office has however been a testament to the power of transformative leadership. His accomplishments over the past year reflect a dedication to building a stronger and MORE vibrant Delta State with MORE Advancement, MORE Enhancement and indeed, MORE dividends of democracy for Deltans and Delta State.

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori is working with the MORE Agenda and Deltans are seeing it.

■ Dr. Osuoza is the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Delta State.

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