By Possible Ogheneseruo
The world all over is in dire need of people with entrepreneurial skills as leaders. Nigeria as a country is backward because many of our leaders are not endowed with business skills. Some of the few that are endowed with commercial competencies shy away from politics. Therefore, anyone with an enterprising mindset in the likes of Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Tony Elumelu, and Jim Ovia who is willing to become the governor of our dear State should be encouraged by all and sundry as well as cuddled and embraced.
Since 1992 when Delta State was created from the old Bendel State, it is yet to be so fortunate as to be ruled by a great industrialist such as Olorogun Gbagi. In 1999, Chief Onanefe Ibori emerged as Governor of Delta State. Ibori, did his best by opening up the state through the employment of youths into the civil service. He also established three polytechnics and one College of Education. In his time, our primary and post primary schools were renovated while more teachers were employed.
In 2007, political power was handed over to Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan.
Dr. Uduaghan was regarded as a political neophyte with the proper shrewdness of a Governor. Some schools of thought insist that he did marvelously well in our health sector. Deltans, however, still regard that as too infinitesimal. This was because his tenure coincided with the period of oil boom in Nigeria. Since the creation of the State, his regime was one in which Delta State got the highest allocation from the Federation Account of the FGN. Despite all the billions that accrued to Delta State during his eight years as Governor, the state did not witness any noticeable development and growth. This is why some Deltans refer to his eight years as Governor as wasted years.
Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa came on board as Governor in 2015. Though not an industrialist, Okowa was determined to make his mark in road construction. In his first tenure, he constructed lots of roads across the state, especially in his senatorial district, Delta North. In this, his second tenure, the rate at which roads are being constructed has slowed somehow compared to his first tenure. Governor Okowa opened up the state with a lot of interlinking roads. Areas that were regarded as unpassable have now become passable. As a result, Deltans have nick-named him the “Road Master.”
Governor Okowa will vacate the Osadebe House as Governor in less than six hundred and twenty days from now. Here is the opportunity for Delta Central Senatorial District to produce the governor since the position has rotated through the three Senatorial Districts in the State.
As a result, several politicians are jostling and warming up for the gubernatorial position come 2023. Some of those in the two leading political parties already warming up are Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, Barr. Ovie Omo-Agege, Mr. Edevbie, Mr. Agwoye, the Speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Oborevwori, the Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Peter Mrakpor, and the Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, to mention but a few. The majority of these people do not aspire to be governor per se. They are but testing the waters in a bid to remain relevant in the next dispensation. Many of them simply want to be recognised as “former governorship aspirants”. Consequently, they do not engage in serious and rigorous consultations as some others do.
In the midst of all these eminent Deltans, two personalities stand out very tall. One of them may likely become the governor of the state in 2023. These two personalities are the former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Barr. Kenneth Gbagi of the PDP and the Deputy Senate President, Barr. Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC. Political permutations have revealed clearly that one of these two may become Governor of our dear state after the elections in 2023.
When you consider the achievements of these two personalities, it is clear where Deltans will pitch their tents. Barr. Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi is a world acclaimed industrialist. His name rings a bell in the industrial world. Gbagi is a positively courageous and bold man. Though, not in government at present, his wealth is unquantifiable. Some of those in the political arena today were his “boys” whom he positioned either by recommendations or by sponsorships.
The man, Gbagi, is a household name not by crook but by din of God’s grace and hard work. Olorogun Gbagi has his businesses in every nook and cranny of Nigeria and the world at large. Gbagi shopping malls provide means of livelihood to not less than five thousand Deltans. His Five Star Hotels in Nigeria employ not less than two thousand workers.
The Olorogun believes much in the principles of giving. There are a number of orphans and underprivileged persons in his pay roll on a monthly basis. He does this without making any noise.
This philanthropic spirit in him spurred him to establish numerous universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and countless secondary schools when he was a State Minister for Education. These institutions and schools today provide abundant educational opportunities to our youths.
Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, the highest private investor in the state, is a bona fide Urhobo person. His father hails from Oginibo in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State while his mother is from Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Olorogun Gbagi is a notable and stable PDP stalwart. History has it that he was one of the foundation members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party. He has fervently remained resolute and committed to the course of the party. Having taken the party as his second home, he is not perturbed and remains constant, irrespective of the political weather.
The state of the nation shows clearly that the country, at all levels, needs industrialists and security experts at the helm of affairs. Gbagi is endowed with entrepreneurial skills. He is also a trained criminologist. These two uncommon qualities put him ahead of other candidates.
Like in other states of the federation, young men and women of Delta State are roaming the streets looking for jobs. Delta State needs industries where her young graduates can be gainfully employed. This, Deltans believe, Olorogun Gbagi can do if given the opportunity to govern the state. As an industrialist for decades, he has everything it takes to turn around all our moribund industries and establish new ones. Governor Okowa has opened up the roads and made them motorable waiting for industrialization. This requires the caliber of the person of Gbagi to undertake.
As a criminologist, Olorogun Gbagi is also better positioned to confront and combat security issues that may arise in the state. Tackling unemployment and security effectively will make Delta State the envy of other states in Nigeria.
Ogheneseruo, a political enthusiast and professional communicator, wrote from Asaba, Delta State capital.