I READ with consternation the myopic and uninformed piece by one Jesutega Onokpasa in the 19th August 2015 edition of Vanguard on page 39 of paper titled “If only it was O’tega in Delta”.
In trying to dwell on wishes rather than reality, Onokpasa tried to mislead the public with wrong information by distorting facts while basking in the sophistry of fiction, falsehood and fables.
Clearly, I do not intend to give any relevance or credibility to Onokpasa’s piece except that we need to set the records straight, and perhaps educate him a little on good governance, political expediency, and jusxtaposing, the morality of truth.
I doubt if the writer knows anything about the pedigree and experience of his principal who has never held any government position before and therefore lacks the requisite experience to govern a state like Delta.
For instance, how would an O’tega Omerhor-led government ‘impress with paradigm shift in governance’ if the available resources are not enough to even take care of recurrent expenditure? Government is not Santa Claus, and the halting of the recruitment of 3000 workers who bought job slots is not a metaphor for economic hardship as Onokpasa suggested; rather it is blessing in disguise.
Delta state, with a bloated civil service of over 60,000, struggles labouriously to pay workers. No responsible government will take overdraft every month to pay workers and neglect other critical sectors of the state. We are all witnesses to the change happening in a state like Osun where workers are owed more than a year’s salaries!
That is not the kind of change we desire in Delta state. Governor Okowa’s five-point SMART agenda is the kind of change we want in Delta State at this critical point in our history: Strategic wealth creation and provision of jobs for all; Meaningful peace building platforms aimed at political/social stability; Agricultural reforms and industrialisation; Relevant health and education policies and Transformed environment through massive urban renewal.
SMART is not a political jingo; it is an economic blueprint to reposition the state in the face of adversity, harness available resources into productive ventures, create value for money, accelerate growth, drive potentials into performance and enhance the well – being of the people.
We all know that falling crude oil prices means dwindling revenue from the centre as monthly allocation to Delta state hovers around N6billion, even as the government fights to grow the IGR beyond N4billion monthly. Yet, recurrent expenditure remains a cesspool, draining the state’s meager finances and slowing down investments in capital projects and critical sectors like infrastructure, agriculture and industrialisation.
A sensible government must shed unnecessary weight and look for ways to block all leakages in order to create value for the people. Yes, it is not going to be business as usual. That is why Dr. Okowa seeks to reform the 8 year-old Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) which has received not less than 200 billion naira since inception and yet cannot point to any meaningful achievement. That is why Okowa has surrounded himself with tested, credible, honest, pragmatic and sleeve-to-the-elbow people to reposition and drive growth in the state in order to deliver superior value to the people.
I don’t know if Onokpasa has visited other state capitals in the country and compare them to Asaba, the capital of Oil-rich Delta state. You will agree with me that Asaba is in a parlous and decrepit state, and does not befit the status of the capital of an oil-rich state. And if a conscientious and visionary leader like Senator Okowa decides to retrofit or refit the state capital by setting up the Asaba Capital Development Authority, I don’t think that this is out of place. He is not building a Dubai or engaging in any profligacy; he is just going to make sure our state capital is not an eye sore.
Dr. Okowa has a vision and a mission to use available resources to manage the state and transform it into a splendour that is not only enduring and sustainable but one that will impact positively on future generations. That is legacy. And the chronicle of his feats has just begun with momentum. It can only get better.
Finally, we are all witnesses to the overwhelming support that Senator Okowa garnered prior to the last elections, and how he campaigned vigorously and reached out to all interest groups in the state. The people trusted him, voted massively for him, and gave him their mandate. Deltans made the right choice and are now poised to see good governance in action. Let us all join hands and build the Delta state of our dreams.
Mr.Sunny Onuesoke, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Asaba, Delta State.