Dr. Steve Oru, an educationist turned politician was on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 sworn in alongside three others as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Others administered oath of office together with him included former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau (Education), Adedayo Adeyeye (Minister of State for Works) and Abdul Bulama (Science and Technology).
An indigene of Delta State, he was assigned to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to replace Godsday Orubebe, who was among the Ministers that were relieved of their appointments in February this year. Until his nomination as a Minister, Oru, a founding member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the party.
The appointment of the Ughelli-born PDP chieftain has been widely commended particularly by the people of Delta State and his fellow party members. They see it as a welcome development and well-deserved honour for a man who is believed to have used all his energy and strength to work for the growth and development of the PDP, having held different positions in the party. It is believed that his vast political experience and rich academic credentials would, certainly, stand him in good stead for the task ahead of him as a Minister. Besides, observers feel that his seemingly wide knowledge of the core issues surrounding the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry makes him fit for the portfolio given to him.
The Ughelli North PDP elders and leaders council could not hide their joy when they expressed their profound gratitude to President Jonathan for the honour done the people by the appointment and assured him of their continued support. While imploring the people to sustain their support for the President and the PDP, they noted that Oru had held several positions of trust in the past and expressed confidence that this latest appointment would further stimulate the machinery of governance in Nigeria for the good of the people.
The Member Representing Ughelli North 1 Constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Samuel Mariere, said the appointment of Oru into the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would further boost the transformation agenda of the President. Mariere, in a statement on behalf of his Constituency, described him as a worthy son of Ughelli North and indeed the Urhobo nation, pointing out that the ecstasy with which the announcement of his nomination as a minister was received, was a clear sign of his general acceptance at the grassroots.
The expression of joy by the people of Urhobo nation and Deltans as a whole was seen in the mammoth crowd that gathered at the Osubi Airport to welcome Oru upon his return to the state from Abuja after his nomination as a Minister. Notwithstanding the delay in his arrival occasioned by downpour and bad weather, the people were said to have waited patiently. His eventual arrival at the Osubi Airport was described as a kind of glorious entry of an illustrious son into the warm cuddle of his beloved people. On hand to receive him were party leaders, top government officials, PDP executive members, traditional chiefs, youths, women and aspirants of various positions for the 2015 general elections.
A Delta State House of Assembly aspirant seeking to represent Ughelli North Constituency II, Comrade Prince Eric Oharisi, who led a large number of PDP faithful to the airport said: “We all came to the Osubi Airport to welcome our leader and a worthy son of Urhobo to his country home to express our heartfelt joy to our father, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and our amiable governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan for the nomination of our leader for a ministerial appointment. Ughelli people and the entire Urhobo nation are grateful to both of you.”
National Vice Chairman (North Central) of PDP, Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogo and Chairman Kogi State chapter of the party, Alhaji Hassan Salawu, had in separate interviews also applauded Jonathan, for nominating one of their own as a Minister, describing it as a welcome development.
According to Ayitogo, “Dr. Stephen Oru is eminently qualified for the job of a minister. He is somebody I can vouch for because we have worked closely as colleagues in the PDP family. Dr. Oruh is an honest man, a man of high integrity, a highly disciplined and loyal party member who has contributed greatly to the growth of the ruling party and the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. We are indeed happy about the development. We thank and commend Mr. President for considering a prominent and active member of our great party in the person of Dr. Oru for the exalted position of a Minister.”
For Salawu, “Mr. President has done a good thing for coming to pick one of us as member of his cabinet. It is a highly welcome and commendable development to have one of us in there, especially now that 2015 is very much around the corner. We have a very strong belief in the capacity of Dr. Stephen Oru to deliver in his new assignment as a Minister. He has all it takes to occupy a ministerial seat. We thank the President for this kind consideration.”
An aspirant for Delta State governorship ticket on the platform of PDP for the 2015 election, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme also lauded the appointment of Oru as Minister.
Olejeme, who is the chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), in a statement issued by former Delta State Commissioner of Lands, Survey and Urban Development, Barrister Raymos Guanah, described Dr. Oru as a detribalized Nigerian and a gentleman per excellence. She implored the new Niger Delta Minister to continue to advance the course of Nigeria, adding that, “My prayer is that the Almighty God gives Dr. Oruh the wisdom and direction to deliver on the transformation agenda of this administration”.
While I congratulate Dr. Oru, a one-time Member of Senate, University of Benin, on his merited appointment as Minister, I enjoin him to endeavour not to disappoint his people and Nigerians in general in the discharge of his duties. He must be focused and committed to meeting the mandate of the Niger Delta Ministry which is to formulate and coordinate policies for the overall development and security of the once restive oil-rich region.
I wish him the very best in office!