By Anderson Diji
When in May 29, 1999 democracy beckoned all of us away from military dictatorship, we started out experimentally, so to say, and not too sure how far we could go before some crack shots in khaki came cocking their guns. At that inchoate and experimental stage we nevertheless expected the new political actors to deliver Olympian results. That is man: which was why we expected James Ibori for instance to turn Delta State to Montana or Utah in a moment, by one stroke of the pen.
So, unnecessarily in a sweat, some of us wrote ‘hues and cries’ volumes then, albeit ignorantly. Now, we know things don’t space-shuttle that way in governance. With benefit of hindsight we now know the political accomplishment in Delta State in Ibori era was nothing but salutary and commendable. Till date his political signature still paints the whole place, all senatorial districts of Delta State, all LGAs, towns and villages, all nooks and crannies. Yes, he could’ve done better, but who in our clime, outside Obafemi Awolowo, has been able to dangle an ‘A’ performance certificate at you. Enough to say he (Ibori) got ahead of almost all his counterpart State governors who where there with him from the get-go of this democratic era. So, give it to him. He did a marvelous work, given that it was not only an experimental stage but you never were too sure whether a Kaduna Nzeogwu, Joe Garba, Buka Suka Dimka, Muhamadu Buhari or Gideon Orkar was working up his brain in the darkness of some cocoon.
After Ibori, came Emmanuel Uduaghan. And this man ran us through the thickness of darkness where we could hardly find our bearing for once whilst his miss-governance lasted. After his exit which was good riddance, it was as if Delta was to begin from ground zero. With added relief we saw him scaling the fence to the offensive side of politics which APC is. That is after leaving behind the wreck and wreckage that was Delta State, courtesy his government’s inactions, blind runs and misadventures.
And this was the sorry state Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa met when he took over mantle of leadership in the State. But the man has since brought his varied experience in politics, governance (as former Council Chair, Commissioner and SSG) and law making to bear in the governance of the State. Looking away from the sweeping failure of his immediate predecessor, and apparently challenged by the Ibori’s benchmark, Okowa has done not too badly given the lean resources at his disposal, the dollar-naira exchange rate woe that Buhari’s blindfold regime and rudderless governance has foist on all tiers of government and all segments of society. Okowa has our garlands.
With Ibori’s benchmark his propulsion, since Uduaghan has already obfuscated governance, Okowa rolled out his SMART Agenda. In the Nigerian Guardian of September 5, 2018 Okowa represented his team members as a people “who are committed to clean up the mess he (Uduaghan) left behind during his time as governor.” Governance much more now well focused and directed, Okowa has since registered himself and his regime in many a hearts, despite the aforesaid challenges, and has taken us away from the near Kafkaesque nightmare that was his predecessor’s regime. But after Okowa, should we get the misfortune of having another Uduaghan?
Not to worry! Governance being a continuum, and politics ordinarily progressive, we can only now hope for a man coming to up governance at the Federal Level and to give us proper leading and the much missed national compass as 2023 comes around; and at the State level too, a man well groomed, knowledgeable and equipped enough, a man with age, gusto and dynamism on his side to come raise the bar of governance yet further up in our dear State. And if such a man is from the Ibori political milieu, a man totally endeared to all the captains of our State since 1999, equally treasured by the grassroot, and hitherto not only being prepared for the job but equally preparing himself squarely for same, better still.
And who else comes to mind or who else embodies all of that but Fred Okiemute Majemite: apparently about the only ex-commissioner of Emmanuel Uduaghan that glittered, towered and had par excellent performance; but like they say, a tree cannot make a forest. An accomplished legal mind, Fred, years ago, was to contest the Delta Senatorial seat with Felix Ibru, but listening to the voices of his political leaders, backpedaled on it. A party man to the core, obedient and loyal (to authority) to a fault, he became the darling of Ibori, who he (Fred) also fondly calls the “bridge builder and the architect of modern Delta”, and indeed personable to all political personages in Delta and many leading national political gladiators.
Ingrained with political expertise, and with great grasp of nubs of governance, Fred is a political thoroughbred able to be saddled with the demands of this political (gubernatorial) mandate. And with such consummate pragmatist and go-getter accustomed to facing duty with all guns blazing and with sleeves rolled up, a new vista – panoramic pleasantry on the political, economic and indeed all fronts – opens up for Deltans. Yes, he is FRED: and we see a man not only poised to Fitly Reengineer Endearing Delta, but indeed promises to be seen as Fitly Reengineering Endearing Delta whilst his mandate lasts.
Fred has been a faithful offsider to Ibori from 1999 to 2007; Special Adviser (2007-2009), Commissioner for Special Duties (2009-2010), Commissioner for Lands and Survey (2010-2011) and Political Adviser, all under Uduaghan; and now playing the faithful offsider again to Arthur Okowa. Of course, Okowa can neither forget in a hurry how Team Majemite hugely rooted for Okowa 2019, nor Fred’s huge advocacy of Okowa’s SMART Agenda. To put it differently, this founding member of PDP has over the years unarguably gained much mileage, a rare privilege that can but translate to outstanding results; he, operating from Everest as helmsman.
May this piece then not only nudge Fred to get ready to saddle his political horse, set in motion his rich political machinery to good effect but also represent a clarion call to Deltans to prepare to give the next gubernatorial mandate to this man: Fred Majemite that is!
Diji wrote from Lagos