David Edevbie and the Delta Dream

By Chinedu Opone
There comes a time in the life of a people, society, state or nation when they seize the initiative and make phenomenal progress. Such a time comes once in a life time and posterity does never forgive the generation that missed such a once in a life time opportunity. The sages aver that once such an opportunity was missed a lot would go amiss and it would take another generation, may be generations to get the bearing right. Such a miss usually has tremendous negative effects on the socio-economic-political and spiritual essence of the society involved. It was this frame of thought that inspired William Shakespeare to conclude that “there is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune, but omitted all the voyage of their lives is bound in shallows and misery. And on such a full sea are we now afloat and we must take our tide while it serves or lose our venture”. Shakespeare’s deposition holds for all time and it finds an aphoristic equivalent in “make hay while the sun shines”. It also puts the credit or blame for whatever happens to man or society right on that man or that society. Every man is responsible for whatever happens to him so is society. And what makes up the society if not man?
When Delta State was decreed into existence by the Ibrahim Babangida junta in August 1991 the people who got transformed by that act into Deltans from Bendelites went wild with jubilation. They rejoiced thinking that unhindered development and possibilities much more than what the mind could picture would be the lot of the new state. The people reasoned that state creation does accelerate development and in the case of the new Delta State with a fabulous oil wealth development was going to be phenomenal. They thought that the proverbial land flowing with milk and honey was now theirs. How wrong they were.
After its creation, the military went on to ravage the state for eight years and left the landscape and people desolate. However, Providence ensured that the new millennium ushered in a democratic dispensation which enthroned a civilian administration. It is true that the civilian dispensation since 1999 has not fully realized the dream Delta State and meeting the aspirations of its teeming and expectant citizens. But one cannot deny the fact that the administrations led by James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan have done their best to take the state to higher notches. The truth is that it will take time for the state to fully overcome the setbacks of military rule and evolve into a truly modern state. But one must add that the time is now. Ibori and Udughan have laid the foundation for the dream Delta. What is needed to realize that dream is a new and well focused administration led by a tested technocrat who have cut his teeth as a global and local player, a hybrid technocrat-politician who is conscious of the development imperative beckoning at Delta State.
This is where the character of David Edevbie comes to mind. It is true that many Deltans felt very uncomfortable with many of the characters parading themselves as governorship aspirants before Edevbie declared his intention to contest for that office. The blokes who laced their boots for the race were the same old guys who have been strutting on the political terrain for more than a decade now. They are career politicians who lack the development ideals and transformational fire burning in a Babatunde Fashola, Godswill Akpabio, Sule Lamido, Muazu Babangida Aliyu or an Adams Oshiomole. Deltans just resigned to fate knowing that no genuine development would come from those political dinosaurs.
Then one day they woke up to hear that David Edevbie was in the governorship race. It began as a rumour and eventually gained ground as a reality. Deltans were over joyed. Here is a man who is most detribalized, accommodating, fair-minded, but firm, a development expert who did so much to bring development to different parts of the world in the build up to the year 2000. Many remembered his spectacular performance as Delta State’s Commissioner for Finance between 1999 and 2005. After which he served Nigeria as Principal Secretary to President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and helped in evolving policies that were geared towards putting Nigeria on the path of greatness.
Mr. Integrity as many who know David Edevbie well choose to call him has the job of Delta State Governor well cut out for him. He has worked out a vision “to make Delta State a land of sustainable development and prosperity” to be groomed on a mission “consolidating good governance through quality and accountable stewardship”. He has also assiduously worked on a development programme anchored on six socio-economic and political transformation frames namely education, medicare, infrastructure, peace & security, agriculture and industrial revolution and public sector reforms and re-orientation of a disillusioned citizenry. What is most central to Edevbie’s aspiration is the welfare and security of all Deltans irrespective of where they come from. His vision is holistically pan-Deltan aimed genuine transformation and development.
Many of those who have listened to Edevbie as he goes round talking about what he has to offer Delta and Deltans are convinced that they see the right candidate in him. His ideas which are grand and well thought out embody the ideals and dream of the Delta State long configured in the popular imagination. The delegates who will decide on who flies the PDP flag in the guber election should remember Edevbie’s message as entrenched in his programme of action and ensure that he emerges as the party’s guber candidate. It is only through that that we can realize the Delta of our dream.
Opone lives in Kwale Delta State.