As Deltans join other Nigerians to celebrate “Democracy Day” on June 12, the state Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has felicitated with citizens and commended them for their support and contributions to the growth and development of the state.
In a message to the people, Okowa said that June 12 was set aside as Democracy Day in Nigeria in commemoration of the most free and fair election in the history of the country and to also remember the sacrifices of our heroes past.
He lauded Deltans for their commitment and cooperation with the state government in the execution of its agenda, particularly the flagship – the Stronger Delta target.
In the message contained in a statement by Mr Olisa Ifeajika, his Chief Press Secretary, the governor noted that 2020 Democracy Day was being celebrated in a peculiar atmosphere of sobriety engendered by the prevailing COVID-19, which had jolted the world.
He urged Deltans and Nigerians to imbibe and internalize the new culture of personal hygiene, including the use of face mask and observance of physical-distancing while interacting in public, and appealed to them to support government in sensitizing residents, especially at the grassroots, to all matters surrounding the pandemic.
He said that in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 in the country, his administration was committed to delivering on its Stronger Delta mantra, assuring that better days were still ahead for the people.
The governor affirmed that his administration was determined to complete all life-changing projects it had begun across, saying that the government was resolute on timely completion of projects.
In addition, he said that the government had made sufficient provision in the revised 2020 Budget for some key projects, adding that they would be scaled up in subsequent budgets.
The governor urged Nigerians to continue to work together in unity so as to surmount the challenges threatening to destabilise the democratic experience and undo the gains of the past 21 years.
He said, “On behalf of government and the people of Delta, I congratulate Nigerians on the occasion of the 2020 Democracy Day celebration.
“Our people have enjoyed democracy since 1999 and appreciate better, the inherent gains of democratic governance – respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“In order to protect this hard-earned democracy, we must work harmoniously to improve on our electoral system.
“As we mark this year’s celebration on a low-key note, because of the COVID-19 scourge, our administration remains irrevocably committed to the provision of life-changing economic projects that will improve the welfare of our people.
“To sustain the execution of these projects this critical period, we have revised our budget in such a way that we can get maximum value for our people in spite of the effects of the pandemic on our finances.
“As at today, our total confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to 225 and it is my appeal to all Deltans to continue to imbibe the culture of the new normal, which is the wearing of face masks in public places, physical-distancing, regular hand washing and other personal hygiene injunctions.
As a government, whose policies and programmes are stoutly predicated on democratic principles, we will continue to run our activities along those lines – providing citizens with deserving dividends for attainment of prosperity for all Deltans, maintaining the momentum of our infrastructural development of the state in all facets and sustaining the drive for actualisation of a Stronger Delta.
“And, to encourage the practice of democracy in the state, we shall continue to give equal opportunities to all of our party members by ensuring internal democracy at all times.
“While other states struggle to deliver party candidates in elections, we shall continue to be a model of internal democracy in our party.
“We should be proud to be Nigerians, because God in His infinite wisdom did not make a mistake in making us Nigerians.”
Okowa remarked that Democracy Day was a day to celebrate “our glorious state and great nation; and to pay tribute to our countrymen and women who sacrificed so that we can celebrate this day.
“We should never forget the sacrifices of our heroes past.
“In spite of the challenges we are facing as a nation, we must remain resolute to keep alive the dreams of our founding fathers.”
By Christian Onwugbolu