As I type this, Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa is in church alongside almost all his aides for the end of year thanksgiving. It is thus ideal to evaluate how some of them fared in the year 2016, that will make them stand before the sanctuary to give thanks to God. This piece will look at only the top 10 performers this year. We will also analyse the top 10 worst aides that should be kicked out in case of cabinet reshuffle in the course of the week. We will also bring out same on the Delta State House of Assembly before the year ends. For now, let take a ride into Okowa’s aide.
1. Hilary Ibegbulem: Forget friendship in this matter. Forget closeness in this judgment and let your heart tell you the truth. The song that Fejiro is Hilary’s friend, hence he will always be on the list does not hold water. Even the blind can see and the deaf can hear, and even those who hate to admit the truth, confess that the Principal Secretary to the Governor is one of the aides that made 2016 a smooth year for Okowa. Not known to shy away from responsibility as some did throughout the year, as well as his open door policy, Okowa breathed heavily in terms of having an aide in Hilary to relieve him of some political and financial stress. Inspite of his tight schedule, Hilary in the year 2016 was able to meet up to demands of government, both official and official. As a PSG, he was able to keep away government files from leaking from his quarters; files that may have been used against the government. If there were 10 of his type in Okowa’s government, the governor can go to sleep with assurance that nothing will go wrong. As Fmr Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan was to James Ibori as ‘Egbe Wager’, so is Hilary to Okowa Hilary, step forward for your title as the best political aide of the year.
2. Festus Agas: If he decides to run for 2023 for governorship, he will get support anytime, any day. His bond with Okowa, we cannot trace, but this is one choice of friend and Secretary to the State Government that Okowa made just so right. If the Christian appellation of ‘if you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other’, Agas will fit into the perfect picture. In 2016, he was a rallying point to most persons who couldn’t access His Excellency. His clamour and move for peace in the government is unrivaled. His boss comfort is his main satisfaction. Despite few media attempts to make it look like he was unhappy as SSG, his countenance, works and speeches countered it that he is happing holding the number three position in the Executive Council. If Agas tells you, white, be rest assured it is white. His actions in 2016 cannot be contained in few words. Perhaps, we may have to dedicate a manual on how SSG should perform in Nigeria, using him as a case study. Agas, the garland is here. You may now wear it.
3. Patrick Ukah: He started on a very shaky note. It was like the whole media world was on his neck, calling for his head. How he was able to maneuver and win them over is a story that he alone can tell. In 2016, Ukah proved that there is a different between a journalist and media management. He managed the media so much, that his critics became his friends and his foes became his admirers. A dangerous smooth talker, who can convince the water to take its rest in the Sahara Desert and it will. His management of government information in the year under review is highly commendable. If any confidence was lost in him in 2015, he gained it triple in 2016. Truly, saving the best for the last pays off, and Ukah is a pointer to it. Mr Commissioner for Information, the applause is much, dedicate your award of 2016 to whomever you choose.
4. James Aguoye: His ministry spent N32 billions alone on road, and while Deltans may be questioning it, truth is that Aguoye delivered on his job. Whether he inflated the contracts or they never followed due process will be analysis for another day. But in 2016, the Commissioner for Works ensured that some roads were made passable. For almost every contract given out, he visited their sites and ensured that contractors did exactly the quality of jobs given to them. If you cannot praise him for anything, applaud him for the fact that he listed all the roads constructed and the amount each of them cost. And if you still have a problem with that, visit any of the projects to verify. When you are done, kindly apologise for trying to discredit him. But while you are still trying to confirm, permit us to invite him to the podium for award in excellence.
5. Kingsley Emu: While in the bank, if he coughs, the bank coughs. That shows the level of economic wizardry he is. Admittedly, he’s not a politician but a technocrat. His economic policies in this time of economic recession should be a model for some states. As Commissioner for Economic Planning, he’s arguably the first commissioner to submit 2017 budget to his principal, which was presented to the House of Assembly, even before the FG did theirs. Having Emu in his cabinet is one choice that Okowa has not regretted. Baba K as you are fondly called, rise for the occasion, as we decorate you with this laurel.
6. Charles Ehiedu: His Cheque books are always with him, not of his own will but the nature of his jobs. The job is simple, ‘make journalists happy or they make your boss grieve’, and he has chosen the latter of making journalists happy, which his cheque book must pay for. As the spokesman to the governor, with very lean resources given to him monthly for media matters, he has taken it upon himself to spend his personal cash. In the year 2016, journalists in the state can beat their chest that they have a good Chief Press Secretary (CPS), with the way he has taken care of their welfare, no matter how little it is. An avid caller and a jovial fellow, this AIT veteran journalist has made managing governors image a delight. With a boss like Okowa, that the media likes to write negative stories about, he has been able to calm the storms from the government house and 2017 will sure be a better year. Charlie, it’s your day. This award truly befits you. Step out.
7. Ossai Ovie Success: He needs no introduction. For every Deltan who is desirous of getting good news about the government and its day to day activities, Ossai is the first point of call. No one has sold the governor’s policies and achievements than him, even though some refuse to believe it, since its coming from a government appointee. This young political appointee who is the Personal Assistant on Special Duties has not just delivered on his work, but delivered above his pay, that if there is possibility of increasing salaries, he should be the first beneficiary. Hate to hear it, but Ossai is Okowa and Okowa is Ossai. Sir, in 2016, your work can’t be contested by any of the media assistants, as you dust them all. This award is for you.
8. Ochor Ochor: While Makinde and Askia were busying looting DESOPADEC, this fellow Executive Director was reaching out to the grassroot and preaching the prosperity agenda. His political party in Ukwuani is so proud of him, that if they have their way, they will send him to the House of Assembly. In 2016, he represented Okowa’s SMART agenda well on the board of DESOPADEC and immediate constituency. If positions can be swapped, then Makinde ought to be in his place, while he takes over Makinde role. Ochor Ochor will go down in history as an aide of the year, that believes that whether the governor comes to an event or not, he must be there. He defeated the political devil called sycophancy. Sir, proudly come forward for your medal.
9. John Nani: While some slept, he was on the street inspecting environmental projects and ensuring that the state is kept clean. This has mostly been without government funds, but personal passion and drive to see to the success of Okowa’s prosperity mantra. The environmental contest in Lagos where he branded his personal vehicles into state color, just to make Deltans proud can never go unnoticed. If Okowa counts among his trusted aides that can deliver for them politically and intellectually while on duty, Nani, will be among the roll call. Mr Commissioner, you are in your natural environment, where winning awards is not new to you. On behalf of Deltans, we bestow on you yet another. Felicitation.
10. Eugene Uzum: He ought to be in the chambers but this Urhobo hearted Anioma son found himself in the political sector, where he has paid his dues to Okowa and still paying. Truth be said, he should have been made a Commissioner, but fate chose otherwise. As the pioneer Executive Assistant on Orientation, he has set record that successors may find hard to fill. In 2016, he transverse the length and breadth of schools orientating their minds. Driven by passion and propelled by love for Okowa, he had made orientation to be a serious business. His TV programme is inspiring. Give it to him; he added flavor and color to the government. Barrister Uzum, step forward and lift your award plaque. Coming soon will be the 10 thieves and villains in 2016 among Okowa’s aides and legislatures.
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