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Ifeanyi Okowa Biography: Education, Career, Family, Controversies, Awards, and Net Worth

Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa is a Nigerian politician and a two-term Governor of Delta State in Nigeria (2015–2023). He was elected senator for the Delta North Senatorial District in Delta State, Nigeria (2011–2015). On June 16, 2022, he was chosen as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate for the 2023 Presidential election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Early Life and Education

Ifeanyi Okowa was born on July 8, 1959, in Owa-Alero in Delta State’s Ika North-East Local Government Area. He studied medicine and surgery at the University of Ibadan, graduating with an MBBS degree in 1981. He attended Edo State College in Benin City from 1970 to 1976. He worked as a medical officer for the Bendel State Hospitals Management Board after leaving the National Youth Service Corps. In 1986, he started his own business as the Director of Victory Medical Centre in Igbanke.

Career

Dr. Okowa began working for the Bendel State Hospitals Management Board in 1983 and spent time at the General Hospital in Uromi and the Government Hospital in Igbanke. In 1986, he resigned from the government to open Victory Medical Clinics in Igbanke and Boji Boji, Owa.

In 1991, he entered politics as the Secretary of the Ika Local Government Council. In the same year, he became the first Executive Chairman of the Ika North East Local Government Area (1991-1993). Dr. Okowa resumed his medical career after the Third Republic was dissolved in 1993, but returned to politics in 1998 once the Military Government lifted the ban on politics.

Senator Okowa has had the benefit of wholesome interactions in the government of Delta State since the establishment of the Nigerian Fourth Republic in 1999. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Water Resources Development (2001-2003), and Health (2003-20066).

Dr. Okowa resigned in October 2006 to run for Governor of Delta State on the People’s Democratic Party’s platform (PDP). He finished second in the PDP Gubernatorial Primaries and afterwards served as Director-General of the Party’s campaign. In April/May 2007, he served as Secretary of the Government Transition Committee, a position he had previously held in 1999.

He was appointed Secretary to the State Government in June of 2007(SSG). In July 2010, he resigned from the Senate to run for the Delta North Senatorial District, which he won comfortably. Senator Dr. Okowa was inaugurated as Delta State’s fourth Executive Governor on May 29, 2015, after being elected on April 11, 2015.

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In 2022, Okowa was picked by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

Controversies

Delta Line Privatisation

Okowa’s administration announced the partial privatisation of the state-owned Delta Line Bus Company during his first term. At the conclusion of the privatisation process, God is Good Transport Development Company (GTDC) purchased 60% of Delta Line for $160 million, while the Delta State government retained 40% ownership. The owner of GTDC, Chidi Ajaere, had backed Okowa’s 2015 campaign, while another bidder, the Delta State Council of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, claimed to have offered 2 billion for the same stake.

The 2019 Auditor-General’s Report

In the Delta State Auditor-General’s Annual Report for 2019, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting discovered unusual spending, contempt for financial norms, and evidence of financial theft in a two-part investigation released in December 2021. Several ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), as well as the State House of Assembly, were named as suspects in the report’s inquiry. The Office of the Secretary of the State Government’s inability to account for $278.5 million in public funds, members of the Okowa administration illegally ignoring Freedom of Information requests, the State Board of Internal Revenue’s questionable use of 107.74 million in funds, and extra-budgetary expenditures of the ministries of Health and Agriculture, as well as inflated costs for House of Assembly members’ vehicles, are just a few of the notable findings. Officials mostly disregarded calls for comment or sent the matter to Auditor-General Paul Aghanenu, who defended the report but said he couldn’t answer any more questions until the Secretary of the State Government gave his permission.

Personal Life

Dr. Okowa has been married to Her Excellency Dame Edith Okowa for over 30 years, and the couple has three children.

Awards and Nominations

  • At the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos, he was named Man of the Year 2017 by the Independent Newspaper.
  • In 2017, he received the University of Ibadan’s highest award as Alumni of the Year 2016 at the University of Ibadan Alumni Lecture, where he successfully delivered a lecture titled “Good Governance for Wealth Creation and Sustainable Development: Experience and Lessons” at the 2017 edition of the University of Ibadan Alumni Lecture, organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA).

Net Worth

According to Forbes and Business Insider, Ifeanyi Okowa’s net worth is approximately $1.5 million.

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Written by PH

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