Ifeanyi Okowa

Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa CON (born 8 July 1959) is a Nigerian doctor and politician who has served as Governor of Delta State since May 2015. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party, he is the party's vice presidential nominee in the 2023 presidential election running alongside Atiku Abubakar.[2][3]

Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa
Governor of Delta State
Assumed office
29 May 2015
DeputyKingsley Otuaro[1]
Preceded byEmmanuel Uduaghan
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
In office
May 2011 – 29 May 2015
Preceded byPatrick Osakwe
Succeeded byPeter Nwaoboshi
ConstituencyDelta North
Personal details
Born
Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa

(1959-07-08) 8 July 1959 (age 63)
Owa-Alero, Eastern Region, British Nigeria (now Owa-Alero, Delta State, Nigeria)
Political partyPeoples Democratic Party
ResidenceAsaba, Delta State
Alma materUniversity of Ibadan
ProfessionPolitician, medical doctor

Born in Owa-Alero in 1959, Okowa graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1981. After schooling, he worked in medicine for several years before entering politics. Okowa first established himself in local politics before entering the state cabinet of Governor James Ibori in 1999. After leaving cabinet in 2006, Okowa made a failed primary bid for governor before returning to the state cabinet under his former opponent Emmanuel Uduaghan. By 2011, Okowa moved to national politics and successfully ran for Senator for Delta North. After four years in the Senate, he returned to Delta and was elected governor by a wide margin in 2015 becoming the first ethnic Ika or person from the state's north to be governor. Okowa was later re-elected by a similar margin in 2019.[citation needed]

BackgroundEdit

Okowa was born at Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.[4] He attended Edo College, Benin City (1970–1976), then went on to the University of Ibadan where he studied Medicine and Surgery, graduating in 1981 with an MBBS degree. After leaving the National Youth Service Corps, he worked with the Bendel State Hospitals Management Board as a Medical Officer. He entered private practice as Director, Victory Medical Centre, Igbanke in 1986.[5]

Political careerEdit

Okowa became Secretary to the Ika Local Government and then Chairman of the Ika North-East Local Government Council (1991–1993). He was Delta North Coordinator of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). He joined the PDP in 1998, and assisted in Governor James Ibori's campaign in 1998/1999. He served as a Commissioner in the Delta State government for Agriculture and Natural Resources (July 1999 – April 2001), Water Resources Development (April 2001 – May 2003) and Health (September 2003 – October 2006).[5]

Okowa resigned to contest in the 2007 Delta State PDP governorship primaries, but did not win the governorship primaries.[5] In June 2007, Ifeanyi was appointed Secretary to the Delta state Government.[6]

Ifeanyi was elected Delta North Senatorial candidate in the January 2011 PDP primaries with 942 votes, but the result was challenged by party leaders who favoured Marian Amaka Alli as candidate.[7] He was re-elected in a rerun where he scored 1,446 votes, against 108 votes for Dr. Marian Alli.[8] In the April 2011 election for the Delta North Senatorial seat, Ifeanyi won 98,140 votes, ahead of runner up Prince Ned Munir Nwoko of the Democratic People's Party, who won 67,985 votes.[9] It was reported that there was still tension regarding the election in January 2013.[10] Ifeanyi finally clinched the ticket for the gubernatorial election in 2015 under the PDP with 406 votes on 8 December 2014. [11] He won the Delta State Gubernatorial elections 2015 in April 2015 with 724,680 votes. [12] He was inaugurated as Governor on 29 May 2015 and have since then resumed active duties. In the March 9, 2019 Governorship election, Okowa, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, got 925,274 votes to defeat his opponent, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Great Ogboru, who garnered, 215,938 votes.[13]

As a sitting governor of Delta State in 2020, He established University of Delta in his home town Agbor. He also set up University of Science and Technology in Ozoro and Dennis Osadebe University in Anwai all in Delta State[14]

Corruption allegationsEdit

Delta Line privatizationEdit

In Okowa's first term, his administration announced the partial privatization of the state-owned Delta Line bus company. At the end of the privatization process, 60% of Delta Line was bought by God is Good Transport Development Company (GTDC) for ₦160 million while 40% remained under the ownership of the Delta State government. Immediately, calls of fraud were raised as the owner of GTDC, Chidi Ajaere, had supported Okowa's 2015 campaign and fellow bidder, the Delta State Council of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, claimed that they had offered ₦2 billion for the same stake. The AUPCTRE and its organization, the Nigeria Labour Congress, claimed that GTDC initially offered the concession committee only ₦80 million compared to their ₦2 billion, yet GTDC was chosen when they doubled their offer to ₦160 million paid in two parts while the AUPCTRE was never called back by the committee; AUPCTRE also claimed that GTDC never completed their second payment of ₦80 million. Okowa's commissioners attempted to defend the sale by claiming that Delta Line was in debt, however, former Delta Line Accountant-General David Akpemegin claimed that the company had nearly finished its debt payments at the time of the sale and financial records show that the Line was profitable according to AUPCTRE, who opposed the privatization. Reports also stated that Okowa appointees such as Commissioner of Finance and Chair of the Concession Committee David Edevbie actively supported GTDC throughout the process despite their low bid. Further, experts claimed that GTDC's acquisition was in part to get rid of a competitor and reports showed a drop in quality of Delta Line services after the sale. Okowa's Chief Press Secretary Olisa Ifeajika defended the administration’s sale as merit-based and citing GTDC's "vast experience in transportation sector."[15] GTDC also defended itself by saying that Ajaere had no "special relationship" with Okowa and that the company was the most qualified bidder.[16]

2019 Auditor-General reportEdit

In December 2021, a two part investigation by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting found irregular expenditures, disregard for financial regulations, and evidence of financial misappropriation in the Delta State Auditor-General’s annual report for 2019. Several ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) along with the State House of Assembly were implicated for irregularities in the investigation of the report. Some notable findings include: Office of the Secretary to State Government's inability to account for ₦278.5 million in public funds, members of the Okowa administration illegally ignoring Freedom of Information requests, State Board of Internal Revenue's questionable use of ₦107.74 million in funds and the extra-budgetary expenditures of the ministries of Health and Agriculture along with inflated costs for House of Assembly members' vehicles. Officials mainly ignored requests for comment or referred the matter to Auditor-General Paul Aghanenu, who stood by the report but stated that he could not answer further questions without the approval of the Secretary to State Government.[17]

Award and honourEdit

  1. He was honoured as Man of the year 2017 by the Independent Newspaper at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos. The award was presented by Alhaji Ismalis Isa Funtu.[18]
  2. In 2017, he achieved the highest award of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan-Nigeria as the Alumni of the year 2016, where he successfully delivered a lecture titled "Good Governance for Wealth Creation and Sustainable Development: Experience and Lessons" at the 2017 edition of University of Ibadan Alumni lecture organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA)[19]
  3. In October 2022, a Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) was conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.[20]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Delta State Government".
  2. ^ Times, Premium (16 June 2022). "2023: Why I picked Okowa as my running mate - Atiku". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  3. ^ olufemiajasa (16 June 2022). "Atiku picks Okowa as running mate". Vanguard News. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  4. ^ "Okowa: 60 Garlands for An Indefatigable Performer". THISDAYLIVE. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "The Biography of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa". Okowa for Senate. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  6. ^ "REMARKS BY GOV. UDUAGHAN AS OKOWA BECOMES NEW SSG". Office of the governor, Delta State. 4 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  7. ^ "HOW OKOWA EMERGED DELTA NORTH SENATORIAL CANDIDATE". Daily Sun. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Arthur Okowa Wins Delta North Senatorial Primaries Again". HuHu Online. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Collated Senate results". INEC. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Okowa, Azekwoh Renew Battle for Senate Seat". This Day. 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Ifeanyi Okowa wins Delta PDP guber ticket". Vanguard. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Ifeanyi Okowa wins Delta Gubernatorial Election". Channels TV. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Delta Gov Okowa thanks Ibori for supporting his re-election". 11 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Delta State don establish three new universities add to DELSU Abraka". BBC News Pidgin. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  15. ^ Markson, Isaac (22 May 2021). "Shady deal that marred sale of Delta Line". International Centre for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  16. ^ Markson, Isaac (8 June 2021). "Sale of Delta Line: We were most qualified among bidders, says GTDC". International Centre for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  17. ^ Isaac, Markson (2 December 2021). "Investigation: Okowa Government, House of Assembly in a multi-billion naira scandal (PART 1)". International Centre for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  18. ^ m.thenigerianvoice.com/news/263982/garlands-for-governor-okowa.html
  19. ^ http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/9/okowa-bags-alumni-award-delivery-democratic-dividends.[dead link]
  20. ^ "FULL LIST: 2022 National Honours Award Recipients The Nation Newspaper". 9 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.