His spotless and smooth baby face on top of his gangling athletic frame gives you the impression that he is a very young, innocent boy. You can never believe his 59 years old.
But Ifeanyi Okowa is the unassuming man who has been in charge of governance in one of Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan and wealthy states – Delta – since 2015. His climb to the top has been marked by a chain of ground breaking personal achievements.
At the rather youthful age of 22 in 1982, he took a degree in Medicine at Nigeria’s premier University at Ibadan. Born atOwa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State, he attended Edo College Benin City 1970-1976, before proceeding to study medicine at Ibadan. After leaving the National Youth Service Corps, he worked with the Bendel State Hospitals Management Board as a Medical Officer. He entered private practice as Director, Victory Medical Centre, Igbanke in 1986.
His political career started when he became Secretary to the Ika Local Government and then Chairman of the Ika North-East Local Government Council (1991–1993). He was Delta North Coordinator of theGrassroot Democratic Movement, (GDM). He joined the PDP in 1998 and assisted in Governor James Ibori’s campaign in 1998/1999. He served as a Commissioner in the Delta State government for Agriculture and Natural Resources (July 1999 – April 2001), Water Resources Development (April 2001 – May 2003) and Health (September 2003 – October 2006).
Okowa resigned to contest in the 2007 PDP primaries for Governor of Delta State but did not succeed. In June 2007, Ifeanyi was appointed Secretary to the Delta state Government.
Ifeanyi was elected Delta North Senatorial candidate in the January 2011 PDP primaries with 942 votes, but the result was challenged by party leaders who favoured Marian Amaka Alli as candidate. He was re-elected in a rerun where he scored 1,446 votes, against 108 votes for Dr. Maryam Alli In the April 2011 election for the Delta North Senatorial seat, Ifeanyi won 98,140 votes, ahead of runner up Prince Ned Munir Nwoko of the Democratic People’s Party., who won 67,985 votes.
On May 29, 2015, Senator Dr, Ifeanyi Okowa was sworn in as the fourth elected Governor of Delta state amid fanfare and expectations. That eventful ceremony was the product of his electioneering campaign which had the audacious promise of prosperity to Deltans predicated on his now famed S.M.A.R.T. agenda.
Last week, he introduced S.M.A.R.T to Editors who came to his state capital for the 14th All Nigeria Editors Conference as an acronym for;
Strategic Wealth Creation and Provision of Jobs for all Deltans
Meaningful Peace Development Platforms for Political Social Stability
Accelerated industrialization and agricultural reforms
Relevant Health and Education Policies
Transformed Environment through Urban Renewal.