Agholor King Abwest
Authoritative information reaching this medium is that the leadership of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, (DESOPADEC) is currently unhappy and as a result has lambasted governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the recent release to the commission a paltry N500 million out of the N4.5 billion 50% of 13% derivation funds due the state for the month of June.
Expressing his grievances over the corrupt manner governor Okowa is running the affairs of the commission, an angry commissioner who don’t want his name mentioned confided in us that from the Managing Director of the commission, Mr. Williams Makinde, to Commissioners, Directors and the board, non is happy with the governor.
“We have decided to be placing curses on Okowa. He will never succeed in his second tenure. Enough is enough. We are wiser now. Can you imagine governor Okowa releasing to us paltry N500 million to run the commission, to pay contractors, pay staff and others.? We are aware that in the allocation that came in June and by right of 50% of 13% derivation funds, N4.5 billion was accrued but the governor who is running the commission as sole administrator released to us paltry N500 million. What can this money do.?
“We are not happy at all at all, everybody is seriously angry with the governor’s style of leadership especially as its affect the commission. We are dying in silent, I can tell you authoritatively that the MD himself and all of us, none is happy with governor Okowa. Because of fear nobody is complaining but we have decided that we will begin to open up to the press now. Emergence of Okowa as a governor is a life time mistake ever done by us.” the commissioner lamented.
Also expressing his reservations, a Director, who pleaded for anonymity noted that governor Okowa has decided to continue to short-change and kill the commission stressing that “Even in the days of former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, things were never like this. The commission was doing well but since Okowa came in, the commission is in a state of comatose.”
According to the Director, time without number, they have reported to former governor James Ibori and severally, Ibori has called Okowa to order but wouldn’t listen and things are going bad every day.
“This Commission that is statutorily entitled to 50% of 13% derivation funds that accrue to Delta State is now comatose. This legal statute has been breached repeatedly as DESOPADEC has never received its proper entitlement in the last two years since Okowa became Governor, as he merely allocates whatever he likes to the Commission periodically. The overall effect is that DESOPADEC has become a salary-paying agency as it can no longer carry out its official mandate.
“What will meagre N500 million out of N4.5 billion do with a commission that is owing contractors over N11 billion for contracts executed.? Since Okowa came on board as governor the commission has not embarked on any meaningful thing unlike past administrations. We are all waiting for him in 2019 when we shall take our destiny into our own hands because we cannot continue like this while he enrich himself, brothers, family and cronies and inflict us with poverty.” the director said.
We recall that under his imperial government, governor Okowa was able to compel the State House of Assembly to amend the DESOPADEC law in order to suit his intentions. This action no doubt has frustrated all the oil-bearing communities to the extent that a militant group that styles itself as “New Avengers” recently voiced out their anger in an advertorial in the Vanguard Newspapers, threatening to resume hostilities in the creeks of Delta State to protest Okowa’s orchestrated and unwarranted crippling of the development of the oil-bearing communities.
It was gathered that governor Okowa has allegedly vowed to continue to cripple the commission and strangulate it by denying them funds while he focuses his attention on the rival commission, the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA), which he personal established barely a month he assumed office.
All efforts to reach the state commissioner of information, Mr. Patrick Ukah and the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Charles Aniagwu proved abortive as calls to their mobile phones were rebuffed as at the time of filing in this report.
All efforts to reach the media aid to the DESOPADEC boss Owen Nero was abortive as his number was switched off.