By Eseoghene Emuke
As the build-up to the 2023 governorship election in Delta State gathers momentum, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said no politician in the state will push him around over the choice of his successor.
Okowa stated that he was fervently praying to God to reveal to him the person He (God) has chosen to succeed rather than being pushed around by politicians.
The governor dropped the hint on Tuesday in Asaba, the state capital, during a thanksgiving service by his family to appreciate God for His blessings towards his family and the State in 2021.
The thanksgiving service was held at the Government House Chapel and attended by several politicians including Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and Olorogun Kingsley Esiso, state PDP chairman.
He said he was hopeful for the Will of God to be done in the 2023 governorship election in the state.
Governor Okowa, accompanied by his wife, Dame Edith and his children, said he would resist being push against the will and direction of God by politicians in the state.
The governor’s statement is coming on the heels of rumoured cold-war between him and Chief James Ibori, a former governor of the state, who ensured he was elected as Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s successor in 2015.
According to him, “As a man, I will also try to avoid people pushing me to a direction that God is not pleased with because if God has made a choice and we go in the wrong direction, it will not augur well for the state.
“But one thing is sure, whoever will succeed me must be one who keeps the fire in this altar burning, and God must direct me on the choice of the person
“I can never take the place of God in deciding who will succeed me; I will pray for God to direct me and not man, so that I don’t go in the wrong direction.”
Okowa, while cautioning political stakeholders to remain committed on delivering good governance to the people of the state, reassured that his administration will remained focus until the end of his tenure.
“Let us approach the next few months with oneness of love. Towards the end of every administration, there are usually distractions here and there.
“We are not stopping people from playing politics but we need to realise that there is a purpose and we must remain loyal and committed to governance until May 29, 2023.
‘’This is a year of politics and as politicians we cannot avoid it; pray with us, pray for us and pray about the state.
“Whatever positions we are contesting for, let us seek the face of God because if you genuinely pray, God will reveal His will for you.
The governor, therefore, appealed to politicians and other stakeholders who love the state to pray for the oneness and unity in the state, and particularly for him, to enable God to make necessary revelations to him on the choice of his successor, saying we must all pray, including those contesting for positions.
He urged leaders in authority to have faith in God as He alone could direct their affairs.
According to the governor, who was flanked by his wife, Edith, we recognise as a family and as Governor of Delta, that for all the grace of God in the past year and for all the achievements we have made that we must return to say thank you Lord.
“In so doing we are asking for greater blessings and there is no doubt that since 2015 when we assumed office, the hand of God has been strong in this state.
“Going forward, I need no one to tell anyone that the hand of God has been very strong and gracious in our affairs.
“We are now in our seventh year and it is a good thing to give thanks unto God, because if we rest our faith in God we will be able to do all things; we will be able to show love and empathy to the people.
“In governance, until you touch the lives of people you have done nothing and a life in governance without God is a governance for self because it is not for the people,” he said.
He urged Deltans to pray for him to finish strong, adding that “finishing strong is about being able to reach out to the people to lay the foundation that people can build upon.
“Many communities want to honour us and thank us for what we have done for them. But, each time I tell them that you have voted for us and whatever we have been able to achieve we give thanks to God.”
Chaplain of the Chapel, Ven. Charles Osemenam, in his sermon, urged Christians to put their trust in the Lord as God revealed His secrets to those that fear him.
He advised the people to renew their lives in God, saying that being born again was one of God’s secrets that only those in new birth enjoyed.
The cleric urged people in authority to fear God as citizens could only rejoice when the righteous were in authority.
No fewer than ten politicians including his former Chief of Staff, Olorogun David Edevbie; former NDDC MD, Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo; current speaker of Delta Assembly, Oborevwori; former Minister of Education (State), Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and Senator James Manager, have indicated interest in succeeding him in 2023.