Last year when he turned 60, Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa rolled out the drums in celebration of the milestone. The state was agog as he hit Diamond. Family members, political associates, friends and well wishers were around to honour him on his special day. This year’s birthday is however a different ball game. It is an unusual one as the governor, his wife, Edith, and daughter, are in isolation centre after testing positive to COVID-19. Though the day is devoid of the usual popping of Champagne, clinking of glasses, and a lot to eat and drink given the COVID-19 pandemic reality, messages of felicitations have all the same been pouring in for the celebrant.
Felicitating with Okowa, Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, described him as a patriotic leader.
Jonathan, in his goodwill message, said “On behalf of my family, I congratulate you on the occasion of your 61st birthday. You are a patriotic leader, who has been diligent in the acts of public service and nation-building. As the Governor of Delta State, you have been striving to provide good governance and deliver on the aspirations and development needs of the good people of the State. I appreciate your effort in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in your State, as it has been a challenging time for you and members of your cabinet. May God give you the grace to overcome these challenges, shield you with His love and restore sound health to your team and others in the State”. The former president wished Okowa more years of glory and honour.
In his congratulatory message, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, lauded Okowa’s commitment to the development of Delta State, describing him as “a gentleman and visionary leader”. Obaseki said: “I celebrate my dear brother and friend, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as he adds another year today (Wednesday). Governor Okowa is a gentleman and visionary leader who has over time shown his unalloyed commitment to the betterment of his people and continues to lead as a democrat and an unrepentant optimist”.
Obaseki acknowledged the programmes of the Okowa-led government and assured that both governors would continue to strengthen the brotherly bond between the people of both states. He said “As people of the old Bendel State, my administration will continue to partner with the Delta State Government to consolidate our age-old shared values of love, peace and progress. I wish you excellent health and God’s continued guidance in the years ahead”.
Managing Director and chief executive officer, CEO of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Askia Ogieh in a statement in Warri, congratulated the governor on his 61st birthday. He also applauded the state governor for remodeling DESOPADEC as an agency and attributed the robust achievements of the current board of the interventionist body to the proactive actions of the governor.
Ogieh said “As you mark your birthday today, we at DESOPADEC are proud to celebrate you and to further pledge our continuous loyalty and adherence to your remarkable visions for our agency. Today, I join millions of well-wishers worldwide to celebrate your visionary leadership and guidance that have progressively and positively changed the narratives of development in Delta State. There is no gainsaying that your proactive remodeling of DESOPADEC is attributable to our modest but robust achievements, delivering on your mandate at the grassroots, since our inauguration.
“The glory and praise belong to God, but you deserve a hearty commendation for initiating a policy that is working astoundingly for us and for providing the selfless leadership. We cannot also forget in a hurry the amazing, focused, vigorous, and engaging support you have always given to us, which have encouraged us to strive to meet the desires and expectations of the people of our mandate areas. We are proud to say, without equivocations that your uncanny visions are manifesting at DESOPADEC and the beneficiaries daily celebrate you and our agency.
“Your passion and desire for an even, fair and equitable development of our State has shaped your exemplary dream which has engendered the SMART Delta philosophy for the common good of all. On this special day, I urge all Deltans to continue to give you massive support as you build on the solid foundation of a Stronger Delta, where dreams are fast becoming realities. I call on all your well-wishers, my friends and political associates to join me in prayers, that the Great Architect of the Universe, our Almighty God to continue to safeguard and grant you good health and the wisdom to deliberately put smiles on the faces of all Deltans”.
On his part, the special assistant to the governor on special duties, (Media), Ossai Ovie Success, noted that Okowa’s 61st birthday is worth celebrating by the world looking at his monumental achievements. According to Success, “Just five years as Governor despite the huge challenges ranging from heavy salary burden, huge debts, your administration has witnessed unprecedented transformations. You kept your covenant with Deltans by spreading infrastructural development, human capital development, job creation to the three senatorial districts that made up the state. Not just that your Excellency, you made Delta Youths millionaires through your job creation programmes. Today, because of you, we now have thousands of our youths who were job seekers now job creators”.