Okowa Apologises to Delta Women for Poor Representation in EXCO

Ifeanyi Okowa

• Inaugurates 17 commissioners

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday apologised to women in the state for their inadequate representation in his government through appointment to key political positions.

He assured them that the women would be handsomely compensated with the inclusion of many of them in the various boards of state agencies which will be inaugurated in the state soon.

In apparent reaction to criticism of the fact that only one woman, Mrs. Florence Alatan, would be in the state executive council, the governor said women would be “adequately accommodated in the various boards that would soon be constituted-Local Service Commission and other boards.”

While congratulating the 17 commissioners after administering the oaths of office and allegiance to them, Okowa urged them to make humility their watchword even as he solicited the sincere support and cooperation of the Deltans in the discharge of the onerous task of adding value to the governance of the state.

The governor admitted that it was not easy selecting the team to represent the 25 local government areas of the state in the state Exco as he was under immense pressure in drawing the list of commissioners as well as other political appointments so far made.

Okowa said: ‘’We may not have satisfied everybody. To be honest, I don’t think we can; but I daresay the choices largely mirror the wishes and aspirations of a broad spectrum of leaders, relevant stakeholders and the populace in the different local government areas. We did our best to carry everybody along as has been our approach to governance since the first tenure of this administration.

“Nevertheless, it is inevitable that there will be some who may feel overlooked or passed over in the exercise. To those who feel that way, I will say that it isn’t because you are not qualified or fit to be commissioner, but in a situation where there are hundreds of qualified persons jostling for 25 commissionership slots, it is inevitable that some may feel ignored if they are not selected.”

In her reaction, a woman leader and public commentator, Mrs. Edith Tonye-Olley, appealed to Nigerian leaders to give more opportunities to women to serve in various leadership positions, stressing that Nigeria is blessed with a lot of women with great potential to contribute to national development.

According to her, “I think as a country, we should consciously give women the chance to serve our dear country,” Tonye-Olley told THISDAY, adding; “We have a lot of very competent women in this country, but it is like we are denying this county the quality services of women.

“Like our governor rightly noted here, one woman out of 25 state commissioners is not good enough.’’

Nonetheless, the governor advised the commissioners to be humble and act as agents of unity by extending the spirit of inclusiveness of his government in their relation to the people they would inevitably meet in the course of their daily duties.