As the wanton looting in the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) reached a crescendo, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr Askia Ogieh is sparing no chance to come top on the looters chart.
A look into the commission by Secret Reporters since the coming in of the new board headed by the very docile Mr Williams Makinde has shown that it’s all tale of woes as only the duo runs it, while other Executive Directors and Commissioners mope into the boardroom ceiling.
The commission came with the mantra, “Bottom Up” to touch the lives of the mandate areas by involving the people on projects and other social services to the area.
The governor started with presenting a bill for the restructuring of the commission, with reference to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which resulted in the creation of directorates with Executive Directors manning four of the directorates of Finance and Administration, Projects, Research and Statistics and Social services Development.
This was to make the commission more functional and mobile to meet the needs of the mandate area, and involve the staff to be more effective.
However, the supposed good intention of the governor, is nothing but pains as nothing had been achieved either in the form of projects and social services, based on the fact that the slogan of “No Money” due recession in the country.
But recent development has shown that it is not the issue of money, as money has always been given to the commission, but the total amounts were never disclosed.
The governor was forced to release the total amount of money to the commission, after a media report quoted a source that he gave the commission N500 million to pay staff salary, contractors and other running expenses.
While the board members were told that a total of N800 million was released by the governor, the governor, through the office of the Commissioner of Information, Mr Patrick Ukah denied the amount, and informed the public that a sum of N1.65 billion was released to the commission at the end of July, 2017.
This figure was shocking to the entire board members, and ever since then the commission had witnessed more and more impunity from the commission, mainly from the office of the Executive Director, Administration, Account and Finance.
He boasts to all who cares to listen that he is the next Managing Director if the governor is re-elected, as he has already signed a pact with Okowa to that effect.
The Executive Director Administration Accounts and Finance, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, has held the commission, the entire board members and the staff hostage, as he had hijacked the commission to his personal business. He is the real biblical Nebuchadnezzar, a source described him.
He has taking virtually all the jobs from other directorates. All the other Executive Directors and Commissioners just go to office to fold their arms, as Askia loots everything in the commission. To the EDFA, they are his doll baby that he can remote whenever he wishes.
For instance, Mr Askia is now the purchasing officer for items in the Health, Safety, disposal of waste in the commission, fumigation, purchase of safety wares, as he recently supplied some of the items needed in departments outside his directorates.
He is also now the purchasing officer for the pharmaceutical unit, as he buys drugs and other material for use in the medical centre of the commission.
He had solely ordered a closure of a unit of Planning, Research and Statistics, (PRS), another directorate, as he has taking over the project inspection job.
Anything he is not benefitting he kills it, and will not fly, our sources authoritatively stated
In training he selects those that will benefit.
Recently, just as he took over the duties in social services development and hijacked a training that was planned by PRS directorate.
In Payment to contractors, he does not allow for general input as he solely decides who get paid and who does not. No input from projects. He is the almighty of the commission, the Alpha and Omega to fellow board members. Few months ago during the contractors protest in front of the commission; instead of coming out to plead with them, he entered into his siren blaring vehicle, reversed back and in speed ran over the protesters who had to scamper out of the road for his mad convoy to pass.
The board will be holding their meeting today which we gather may result in serious quarrel and argument with angry board members ready to beat Askia to coma if he oversteps his boundary. They are ready for a showdown today, we learnt.
His impunity has caused the commission more harm than good.
Implications to the Okowa’s Government
The implications of the activities of Mr Askia to the mandate area are numerous.
Askia’s personality should be checked if he merits the position from the 19 local governments that make up the commission, as nothing had happened since inception.
The docile nature of the commission also shows that the Managing Director, Olorogun Williams Makinde is not in control, and his competence is called to question as he does not know what to do.
Many of the actions taken by the commission, is based on the decision of the MD and Askia, as matters not decided are implemented without the knowledge of the management team or the entire board.
Despite the educational qualification of the MD, who has a PhD attached to it, his administrative competence is zero, as he is easily mangled by Mr Askia, and he signs documents for implementation in an issue yet to be decided by the management or the board.
Except the governor takes action on this activities, he will be considered an accomplice.
Information from the commission indicates that they are disenchanted with the governor, and members of the board. They had vowed to massively campaign against the governor for the second term if things continue.
Among the board members, there is a silent call for the MD to resign as he had shown that he cannot manage the commission.
Some of the management staff no longer comes to work, as the actions of Mr Askia is disenfranchising them from performing their duties.
“Take it or leave it, the 19 local government area has a massive votes to give the opposition, if the governor did not take action”, a knowledgeable source within the commission told this medium
He has kept quiet, watching the happenings in the commission. In the heat of the saga of the N1.650 billion, he called a meeting of the board members to Asaba, but he left the issue at the hand of the alleged corrupt Party Chairman, Kingsley Esiso and travelled to Abuja. In that meeting Askia being the god that he is did not attend.
Sometimes last year, at the House of Assembly Committee level, members of the house queried the information that junior staff are heads of departments which the MD denied, but the confirmation and issuing of letter to Mr Aluta, means he is also above the State House of Assembly.
Time is tickling for Okowa to take decision on Askia and Makinde or face the wrath of the staff and the people of the mandate area in 2019.