A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Isoko Federal constituency, High Chief Paul Olotu Eriri assessing the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration in Delta State in the past two years came out with his damning verdict: “It is a disaster.”
Eriri spoke while fielding questions from a community newspaper, The Periscope, whose motto is Truth and Justice, and published, by Daily Link Communication Ltd, Otowodo, Ughelli, Delta State in its June/July 2017 edition.
Responding to questions during the interview conducted by Gabriel Awodeha, Eriri stated: “If you ask me about my assessment of Okowa’s administration within the last two years, I will answer this way, it is a disaster. He is the worst governor this state has ever produced. In fact, Okowa is the worst governor Africa has ever experienced. Nothing has been done; no achievement of anything.”
Eriri who described himself as a member of the PDP, a chieftain and a leader of the same party with the governor pointed out that his assessment would not be based on the fact that he belongs to the same political party with the governor. “I will be sincere, honest, professional and patriotic in my assessment,” he declared.
He began: “The way to start assessment of Dr. Okowa’s administration for the period of two years is to read his own personal assessment which has been published in the State newspaper, The Pointer. If you read several editions of The Pointer from December 30th, 2016 to the middle of January 2017, you will get a lot of information about his own personal assessment as it has been published Ministry by Ministry, Directorate by Directorate, Agency by Agency.
“If you go through the whole page, then you can now match it with the realities on ground. You can subtract publicity and image making from partialities and realities on ground. When you read the assessment in those editions of The Pointer, you will first ask yourself a question: Where are we going? In one of the publications, you will see that the Ministry of Information, some of the achievements so listed include the servicing of a generator. In other words, one of the achievements of the Governor is to service a generator that was not working before.What an achievement!
“And they went further to list other achievements that are completely ridiculous, talking about provision of smart phones to directors as an achievement. I just said, is anything wrong with this guy as a Governor? The Governor that is supposed to develop the State, provide infrastructure, provide facilities and you are talking of distribution of Smart Phones to Directors of Ministry of Information as achievement.
“You go to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and others; you see that one of the achievements is testing of bore holes and others as an achievement. Frankly speaking, that a governor who could not provide water for the citizens of the state would go ahead and ask people that have boreholes under the pretense that he is testing the quality of water. It is unthinkable, it is unimaginable, but it is real. It was even published. “
Asked as an economist if the shortfall in revenue accruing to the state is accountable for the slow pace of development in the state, or is there enough revenue that His Excellency can use to develop the state as expected, Eriri responded this way: “As an economist and with my understanding of the economy of Delta State economy in particular, I can tell you that Delta State has more than enough resources and have no reason to shy away from their responsibilities claiming that there is down fall in income.
“You have to compare what comes to Delta State and what goes to other states. Go to Cross River and see wonders, go to Akwa Ibom and see miracles, go to Rivers and see projects that are going on. What is the difference in terms of Federal Allocation, what is the difference in terms of internally generated Revenue? The last time I read, according to their board, they are generating over six billion in a month in Delta State. So, it is not a question about resources,” Eriri declared.
He accused Governor Okowa of killing and burying the Delta state Oil Producing and Development Commission (DESOPADEC). He said: “I can tell you right away that Okowa deliberately killed and buried DESOPADEC. DDESOPADEC is dead and buried. The problem we have here is that, Okowa, since he came to power has never provided funds for the running of the commission. That is why no project is going on anywhere in the oil producing communities because Okowa has starved the whole Commission of funds.
“There is a monthly allocation from Federal; the 13 percent derivation is not given to the commission. Where is the money? Okowa should tell the state where the money is.”
He said the oil producing communities have been destroyed in terms of development, claiming that there is nothing happening in those places.
Eriri also said he was holding the governor responsible even for the 13 months non- payment of salaries to local government workers, with “all the France Club refund money.”
“So, I hold Okowa responsible; that we have never never seen anything like this in my entire life, and I said it and I am repeating myself, Okowa remains the worst governor Delta has ever produced,” High Chief Eriri exclaimed.
The PDP chieftain also took a swipe at the the administration’s SMART agenda. Pointing out that that there is nothing smart in the acronym SMART, Eriri said: “It think that is the least intelligent thing in the world. I want to give you the challenge, as any of the government officials you come across; ask the governor, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa when you meet him that, Sir, what is the meaning of SMART. It will take Okowa the next one hour to explain the meaning of SMART. In other words, there is nothing smart in that word SMART. There is nothing smart about the agenda.
“The programme is a failure. It is just a way of siphoning money, and I will give a practical example right away. Recently, I read in the newspaper, and of course, The Pointer because it is the voice of Okowa, that he distributed 40,000 fingerlings to farmers. A fingerling sells for N20 now, that is N800,000 for 40,000 fingerlings. I am very sure if they check the account for the amount for the supply, you will see N8 million or more, but the actual cost of a fingerling is N20 per one because I am a farmer, I know the cost.
“Forty thousand fingerlings are not enough for an average farmer, one farmer. Again, when you distribute 40,000 fingerlings to farmers and you think you have you have done wonders in the world, if they are not lucky they may not get 10 percent of those fingerlings to eatable size because they will not be able to manage it.,” Eriri stated.