By Ebifa Ijomah
When I heard that the former governor of Delta State Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan CON, was on his way to join other elder statesmen in the hallowed red
chambers in Abuja in 2019, I was elated for the sole reason that indeed here was a development-led senator going to the senate, loaded with practical experience to bring to bear positively on all the people of Delta State and Nigeria as was his usual character when he ruled the state as governor for eight years.
Not only because he had been governor before now like many others have been in the red chamber and many still want to be so to speak, but I am convinced
that Nigerians will have in the senate from 2019 a man of great practical ideas of how leaders can drive the tenets of good corporate governance as well as how they can
provide opportunity for the citizens of Nigeria to experience true dividends of democracy from positive contribution to matters of state in the National Assembly
when the 9th senate is convened in 2019.
While Dr Uduaghan (A father and lover of the younger generation) was in Government house in Asaba he created the
enabling environment for youth development starting by first appointing young men
and women into his cabinet to run the government with him. It was indeed a challenge posed to all the young commissioners and special advisers, chairmen and Director Generals of MDAs in the state.
I remember quite vividly that he spread development based on unity of all the diversified entities in the state North, South, East and West of the oil-rich Delta State based on grassroots development initiatives guided by his well-articulated three-points agenda of Peace & Security, Human Capital Development and Infrastructure dovetailing
into a mantra of Delta beyond oil which escalated the development of economic
diversification activities, agro-allied and industrialization schemes. I must say that the beyond oil Initiative by Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan suddenly became a national mantra.
It was to his credit the evolution of a solid base for the growth of MSMEs
through the very successful micro-credit schemes initiated and promoted by his
government and the Central Bank of Nigeria commended him with awards and recognition for growing entrepreneurial vocations among the youth and thus creating employment in many sectors of Delta State all of his eight years as a governor. I must also not forget to mention his efforts in the area of peace and security, which earned him numerous awards. Popular slogans by youths in most of Delta State sounded in words like
“taking Delta State back to Deltans”, “Uduaghan the bridge-builder of Delta State”, “Uduaghan, re-engineering Delta State for quicker dividends to the people”,
“Uduaghan building a better Delta State with a human face”, “Emmanuel Uduaghan for change and stability, a vote for better things to come” etc.
I remember too in this vein that in Delta North the Youth displayed so much of loyalty to his government as also those from his own Delta South. He engaged a lot of Young Minds, directly interacting with them, both physically and on social media. One remarkable event is the engagement he had on social media where a group, “Umeh needs Road” called on him in an online conversation to address their need for a road into the hinterland of their village to convey agricultural produce, especially plantains, from the farms to the markets. This encounter took His Excellency to Umeh to inaugurate the construction of the road as requested by the people of Umeh.
The former Governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan paid so much attention to development issues relating to the youths of Delta State, especially his avid support for skills acquisition. He was passionate about young people becoming self reliant and successful entrepreneurs. One very significant programme dear to his heart then was the youth summits which he usually organized as an assembly of youths to propagate peaceful
co-existence among all the ethnic nationalities. It was to his credit then that the grass root youths leadership was recognized for more roles in communities all over Delta State. He further promoted the Delta Beyond oil Mantra of his government, a policy which today’s dearth of oil revenue in the Nigerian economy has vindicated this foresight of Dr Uduaghan.
If he finally decides to run for senate to represent not just Delta South but Nigeria at large in Abuja under whichever party platform, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan will be a veritable asset to Delta
State and Nigeria as an erudite and robust contributor to issues raised in the chamber
by his distinguished colleagues and himself. There is therefore no gainsaying the fact
that when the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is convened in Abuja in 2019, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan former two-term Governor of Delta State will be very fit to play his role as an enthusiast of growth and development of our own
Delta State and the Nation State of Nigeria. I am convinced because I like many others who know him and have worked with him know that he will be a new style of Senatorial service in the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ebifa Ijomah is a former commissioner of youth development, Delta state