The twenty nine lawmakers of the Delta State House of Assembly currently live and make laws in fear, even though they may not publicly show it, this SecretReporters can authoritatively confirm.
In what will be the most bizarre moment of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration, he has sent an executive bill to the State House of Assembly for a law to amend the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor pension rights and other benefits law 2005 (as amended) for the purpose of including the pension and entitlements of a former Acting Governor and other matters.
The crude bill which was read by Tim Owhofere as the Majority Leader on 22nd of October 2019 seeks to make Mr Sam Obi who acted as a governor in 2010 for only two months when Emmanuel Uduaghan election was annulled by the Court of Appeal become a first class privilege citizen.
If the bill sails through, it means Okowa would have made his kinsman, Sam Obi to be granted life pension benefit by amending Section 2 of the principal law to include the following interpretation:
“Acting Governor” means a person who acts as a Governor pursuant to the removal of a substantive Governor by an Order of court.
Section 3 (1),
Notwithstanding the provision of section 3 above, a person who holds office as Acting Governor and have not been impeached from office shall on leaving office be entitled to pension for life and other benefits as stipulated in schedule I “TABLE B” and schedule 2, part 3 only.
In helping the governor’s tribesman to avoid backlash, Mr Owhofere stated that Sam Obi is entitled to annual salary of the incumbent Deputy Governor. The formulae for calculation of his pension and gratuity will have 300% as final pay for gratuity while 70% as final pay for pension.
Sam Obi will also enjoy free medical treatment within Nigeria and abroad where necessary, subjected to the approval of the serving governor. Tax payers will also foot his 15 days annual vacation anywhere within Nigeria.
As Fmr. Acting Governor, Mr Sam Obi will also be entitled to have his luxury vehicle and back up cars changed every two years and a new house built for him anywhere he chooses in Nigeria, with retinue of domestic staff and security personnels paid from the public purse, office with four staff paid for by the state. With this new law by Okowa, the man who acted for just two months will smile to the bank with over N300 million annually while Deltans grow poorer.
This will be the first time in the history of Nigeria that a State Governor will be assenting to a bill to make an Acting Governor who was not elected and not constitutionally qualified to enjoy pension benefits.
Even though the bill bears Tim Owhofere as the sponsor, it is a legislative norm that the Majority Leader presents all governor bills.
Top political figures who once ruled their states scorned at the process. A particular former governor from the South East who spoke to SecretReporters condemned the action stating that the law was explicit on only elected governors and not acting governors.
“This is why even military governors are not entitled to such pension and privileges because they were not elected. How then will someone that only acted for two months be given such benefit?”, he queried.
The bill has already passed the first and second reading on the floor of the Delta State House of Assembly and referred to the Committee on rules and business. We gathered that majority of the lawmakers were bullied into giving nod to the passage of the bill, even though they kicked against it during discussions with close allies.
Only Innocent Aniedi of Ethiope East and Reuben Izeze of Ughelli South spoke against the bill while the remaining lawmakers chorused yes and the ‘ayes’ had it.
Top government sources disclosed that the bill has the voice of Jacob but the hands of Esau, as Tim merely sponsored the bill at the instance of the powers that be.
When contacted by SecretReporters to know the motive of the governor in sending such bill including Sam Obi to enjoy such benefit, the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika stated that it is for good governance.
“My take in all of these is that it is for good governance and well intent”. He advocated for developmental journalism of going to communities to find their immediate problems and reporting them for government to take actions.
SAM OBI ERA AS ACTING GOVERNOR
Few days after Sam Obi was sworn in as Acting Governor of his State, a N20 billion loan which Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan applied for from United Bank for Africa (UBA) before his election was annulled, dropped into the state coffers. Some days later, the sum of N16 billion federal allocations was also paid into same purse.
In less than one week, Sam Obi according to sources swept away the N20 billion in a misadventure that remains unknown till date. Findings by SecretReporters uncovered how he decided to play politics by showing interest in grabbing the ticket to make sure Uduaghan does not return as governor.
To kick start his ambition, he allegedly converted part of the N20 billion to dollars and moved to Abuja to start bribing presidential big wigs as well as top Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftains, especially late Chief Tony Anenih to seek his support. Unknown to him, Anenih was Uduaghan political father. Sam Obi also approached Patience Jonathan, who was the first lady, but met a brick wall as the Patience was also sympathetic to the ousted governor’s return to Dennis Osadebey House.
Part of the N36 billion was also used to buy large expanse of land where he intended to build a resort but changed his mind for fear of anti graft agencies and built a massive church called Oracle of God Ministries, where he ordained himself a pastor, preaching every Sunday and feeding the congregation. He also bought a mansion in the United States of America and moved his family there, while acquiring other eye popping properties.