*Okowa reiterates pledge on oriented programmes*
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential aspirant, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi have called on the party to ensure that the best candidate emerges as flagbearer ahead the Presidential poll in 2019.
The duo spoke, Monday, when Senator Makarfi met with PDP delegates for the forthcoming national convention of the party in Asaba.
According to Governor Okowa, “going into 2019, it is only God that can decide the best for us as a country, and as a party, the best we can do, is to ensure a free and fair primaries at the national convention.”
“There is no doubt that listening to Senator Ahmed Makarfi he understands the problems of this country, he has a lot of exposure and he is a very honest man,” the governor said.
He continued, “as you (Alhaji Makarfi) continue to reach out to Nigerians, travelling by road will expose you more to a lot and we hope you continue to do your best as you take your campaign to every part of Nigeria. As a State Governor, I will continue to stay as neutral as I can,” the governor stated.
Makarfi had listed his achievements and sacrifices for the PDP disclosing: “I am not an opportunist; in 2007, I was basically the presumed candidate to take over from President Olusegun Obasanjo but, for some reasons, the person who was behind me in the ballot was selected. We have never been given a task that we did not perform and we remain focused and never distracted.
“PDP must present a credible candidate that all class of people will feel comfortable with, associate with and come out to cast their votes for and protect the vote, if we act correctly, the people will be with us and the finances will be enough to give the party victory, but, if we present a wrong candidate, no amount of money will give us victory,” he said.
He disclosed that when elected as President, he will restructure the country in the interest of every Nigerian and this will include “institutional restructuring to make our institutions accountable to the people.”
Makarfi also called for the decentralization of power distribution and generation for equity’s sake and urged the Federal Government to stop all sorts of killings and clashes going on in the country.
Meanwhile thousands of Deltans on Monday participated in the free eye treatment organised by 05 Initiative free Medical Outreach in Asaba with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa assuring that his administration will continue to deliver on programmes that will empower the people and make them happy.
The 05 Free Medical Outreach in collaboration with Restore Sight Africa Initiative and the Delta State Government commenced free medical treatment for Deltans three months ago and capped their activities with a grand finale at the Oshimili South local government area.
According to the governor, “we will work with the people to develop the state, continue to pray for us, prosperity is for all Deltans, as a government we are not to share money but, to develop our state, execute projects and programmes that will empower the people and make them happy.”
Governor Okowa observed that the 05 Initiative, a pet project of his wife, Dame Edith Okowa has touched a lot of lives within these few years, observing that it was gladdening to note that more than 2, 000 eye surgeries have been successfully done through the free eye care programme while 12 Sickle Cell Centres have been built at different locations in the state.
While commending donors and those who have partnered with the 05 Initiative which has led to its success stories, Governor Okowa emphasized: “I appreciate the team of 05 Initiative for what they are doing, I commend those who have helped in the sponsorship of the programmes because in all her programmes, the state government has not spent one kobo.”
“It is good to note that what they are doing is for the poor in the society bearing in mind that what we do for the poor is what touches the heart of God, if we can find a way to help our neighbours, through our actions, we can change the world; I want to appreciate Restore Sight Initiative for their wonderful partnership which has led to a lot of people regaining their sights in the last three months,” the governor said, adding, “I have heard stories about the volunteering efforts of Dr Onoriode Umolu in the activities of the 05 Initiative despite the fact that she is not employed, her dedication to serving humanity has shown that she will do a lot as civil servant and as such, from today, I give her automatic employment in Delta State.”
The founder of 05 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa, had in an address, thanked Governor Okowa for being supportive which has made her to carry out humanitarian activities to the benefits of humanity.
She assured Deltans that the activities of 05 Initiative will continue to impact on the people and commended her partners and sponsors of her programmes, urging them not to relax as a lot is still needed to be done.
Dr Ernest Ukpedor of Restore Sight Initiatives commended Dame Okowa for providing the platform to reach out to those with eye challenges in the society, disclosing that within the period, more than 23,000 persons with eye challenges have been treated, with over 2,000 surgeries successfully carried out.
He also, stated that more than 13,000 eye glasses and more than 8, 000 eye drops were freely given out to those treated.
Chairman of Oshimili South local government area, Hon. Uche Osadebe had in an address, stated that, “official health statistics in Nigeria indicates that malaria account for more than 70 per cent of out-patients population in hospitals across the country while sight challenges are now known to be prevalent in the country and as a result of which, many of our people suffer either severe sight impairment or even outright blindness most often due to ignorance, poverty and lack of access to affordable and reliable health facilities and services.”
He commended the Governor Okowa for his developmental programmes and efforts to make life better through good health care facilities.