By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
Efforts to restore cordial relations between the current governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and his predecessor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, have gotten a boost.
Similarly, in South Eastern Nigeria, Governor Dave Umahi has extended his hand of fellowship to his estranged former boss, Chief Martin Elechi, asking that he should let bygone be bygone and that they should work together once again in the mutual interest of the state and their people.
Indeed, it was a day of joy for friends and associates of Okowa and Uduaghan when the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, along with his predecessor in office, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan jointly, commissioned projects at Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of the state, Tuesday.
At the commissioning of upgraded facilities at Ogbemudein Model Secondary School, Agbor which was performed by Dr Uduaghan, Governor Okowa recalled that the structure was started by former Governor Uduaghan’s administration.
According to him, “we must commend the immediate past Governor for starting the construction of these schools, though, only four of them have been completed at the moment, we hope to complete all and construct new ones.”
While assuring that he will consolidate on the projects initiated by his predecessors, Governor Okowa specifically, thanked former Governor Uduaghan for leaving the United Kingdom to attend the commissioning exercise, asserting, “it is my prayer and hope that one day, all the schools in Delta State will look like this edifice.”
The Governor challenged teachers to carry out their duties diligently and urged students not to toy with their studies to enable them become good parents and citizens in the future.
Former Governor Uduaghan at the occasion, eulogized Governor Okowa for his giant achievements within one year of being in office and commended the Governor for inviting him to commission projects as part of activities to mark his one year in office.
“I want to thank you (Governor Okowa) for inviting me to commission this project, I am happy that you did not abandon the project,” Dr Uduaghan renarked.
The Obi of Agbor, HRM Keagbokuzi I who spoke through Dr Emmanuel Tibi said they were excited that Governor Okowa had such numerous number of projects to commission in his Kingdom within his one year in office.
According to the Dein, “Agbor people are very proud of you (Governor Okowa), they are very happy that within one year, you have been able to manage the resources of the state to put in place this wonderful projects.”
Earlier in a welcome address, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in the state, Mr Chiedu Ebie, said, “it is worthy of note to mention that though twelve of such legacy projects were embarked upon by the previous administration, only two could be completed before their exit; significantly, this administration took giant steps at ensuring the continuation of some of these projects and I make bold to state today that two similar projects have been duly completed and are now in use.”
Uduaghan and Okowa, both of whom had served together during the era of Chief James Ibori had fallen apart in the build-up to the 2015 elections as the former governor had initially reportedly preferred another successor.
In Ebonyi, Umahi, who spoke during this year’s Democracy Day celebration at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, also announced Elechi as one of the elder statesmen that would be honoured by his administration for their contributions to the upliftment of the state.
Others that will be honoured are former Governor Sam Egwu, former governor of old Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and a former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim.
Umahi said the honour will be an annual event slated for every Democracy Day to recognise great achievers of Ebonyi origin.
He said: “This year and of course every Democracy Day, we are going to be honouring our elder statesmen who have contributed in one way or the order to the upliftment of our state.
“We will not tell you what we shall honour them with, but the House of Assembly has given me the powers to do what I am set to do.
“So we shall be honouring His Excellency, Dr. Sam Egwu, the first civilian governor of this state. We also will be honouring His Excellency, Anyim Pius Anyim, the former SGF.
“We also will be honouring His Excellency, my boss, my father and my friend, Chief Martin Elechi. And I use the opportunity to ask him to please come on board, let old thing pass away, let’s come together to rebuild Ebonyi State.”
Umahi, who served as Elechi deputy, reassured the people that all the inherited projects from various administrations in the past, including those of Elechi’s administration, would be completed.
He asked the contractors handling the projects to relocate to their sites as according to him, they still had chunks of the state’s money paid to them to execute the contracts.
It will be recalled that Elechi had strongly opposed the candidacy of Umahi as governor in preference for Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, a former Minister of Heath.
This led to the frosty relationship between the duo that had remained in place until now.