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FACT CHECK: Developing And Restoring Peace in Riverine Communities, Did Okowa Lie (1)?

The recent town hall debate organized by Arise Television for presidential candidates in the 2023 election brought contrasting events to bare.

No doubt, the outburst by Labour Party’s flag bearer, Peter Obi against Senator Dino Melaye, spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar attracted the most part of the conversation in the aftermath of the event.

Obi had challenged the former Kogi West lawmaker to chun romancing his person with the characteristics of his purported supporters on social media.

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Away from that, the meeting also presented Atiku’s running mate for the 2023 presidential poll, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, a platform to intimate Nigerians on the plans of the PDP for them.

The former lawmaker in his presentation, spoke highly of what lies in wait for Nigerians if the PDP is returned to power in 2023, using his record as governor of Delta State as a pointer.

According to Okowa, riverine communities in the state were mostly war-torn, short of peace and insecure as of when he came into power.

The self-styled road master further painted the picture of how much development he has brought to these areas under his watch.

He said;

“In my state, Delta State used to be very troubled, especially in the oil producing areas. It was always a place of constant agitation. But we took development to them, we recreated the economy. We have continued to grow entrepreneurs.

“If you go into the riverine areas of Delta State today, you will see a lot of development, they now have liveable towns. And the people are convinced and they can see hope. They are now partnering with Government.”

Of course, the governor’s comments were greeted with an outcry of rejection, as many described his claims as false.

The big question remains, Did Okowa lie?

Restoring peace in the absence of war?

A fact-check on records of insecurity, communal crises and war across Delta State between 2015 and 2022 indicate that none of the riverine communities domiciled in the Delta South Senatorial District have been found wanting in that regard.

In fact, the only inter-communal crisis involving communities in the area under view was and still remains the land tussle between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities.

For emphasis sake, the Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh crisis dates back to decades and remains unresolved even under Okowa’s watch.

While the incumbent administration has expended little efforts to reconcile the neighboring communities, the crisis that has claimed numerous lives, lingers.

The average Delta South citizen would be left to wonder the tension and rift the state’s Chief Security Officer referred to.

Would it be safe to say the ‘Ekwueme’ simply meant the occasional agitations involving oil bearing communities and multinationals?

Bar that, nothing justifies the claims by the Ika-born politician on solving unrest among coastal communities in the state.

Who resolves crisis where there wasn’t one?

Sadly-amazingly, no individual or group domiciled in the area under view has come forward to refute the governor’s comments.

To be continued…

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