Mr. Emmanuel Ogwuda, a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta state has joined issues with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and some of his aides who claimed that the state has a lot to celebrate in 26 years, saying that there is, indeed, nothing to celebrate.
Picking holes in the claims of the governor, he described the Delta state situation at 26 as a huge paradox of extremes.
The hospitality business mogul, who spoke during an audience with journalists of the Indigenous Correspondents’ Chapel (ICC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Asaba on Sunday, August 27, 2017said: “It is like a huge scenario of paradox of extreme sadness and joy. When the state was created it elicited bumper celebration, the joy knew no bounds. I can still recall that when Delta state was created brothers and sisters, kiths and kin from Delta South and Delta Central had some objections to the creation of Delta state, but overtime, e were able to come together as a people to unite on a common cause that we can exist and live together. But there is nothing to celebrate.”
Mr. Ogwuda observed that there are three stages of man, crawling, walking and running, but that Delta State has not yet moved from the starting block. “We are still at the starting block,” he lamented.
Ogwuda continued: “In terms of development, we have not done well. Different Delta State communities cannot be accessed. Our educational institutions are scattered. We don’t have schools for our children. I’ll give you an instance; Westend has over 4,000 students, they are now getting to about three sessions, morning, afternoon and night. I don’t know whether we will get to midnight (laughter).
“But there is a clear solution to it, and they are not willing to take to that solution. Before the schools were given back to the Missions, we had budgetary allocations to a school. The schools were funded, teachers were paid salaries. Why not use these budgetary allocations to schools like SPC to subsidize the tuition in SPC, thus affording parents the opportunity of sending their children to SPC to reduce the crowd at Westend. It’s just a simple thing to do.
Ogwuda is also distressed with the fiscal policy of the government in a state with about three million population. “Fiscal policy thrust of the state government is a disaster. You can’t tell me that you have 65,000 taking 80 percent of our resources for salaries and emoluments as against three million people. And you are giving that to me as reason why we cannot develop,” he asked.
He continued: “Then why tie down a good number of Deltans with the civil service job when you can encourage them to do other things when you relieve them of that position whereby they can make the state productive. Why pay the salaries that you cannot even pay?
“As a business man I see that as a failing.”
Besides Ogwuda also criticized the way the budgets of Delta state have been run by successive governments, decrying the tradition of running budget in which the current expenditure goes high well above the capital expenditure. “And you are telling us that you are doing well? Is that governance? Not just for one year, not two years but for 26 years.
“We got Paris refund. I told channels Television when they interviewed me that Okowa planned a budget proposal which he sent to the House of Assembly. He told the House of assembly that this is what my budget is. That I can source for these funds to be able to fund my budget. And they approved it for him; he assented to the bill and it became appropriation law. So, why use the Windfall to pay salaries? I can’t understand it. Why should we continue to fool ourselves?”
Answering a question, the APC chieftain said: “The way forward is for Deltans is to take the first line option of getting the PDP out of government. Somebody has been in government, he is not doing the right thing kick him out of government, and allow another platform to do their best. They are bereft of ideas, they are confused. Can we continue to pay salaries on windfall.
“Let me tell you, Asaba as a town can fund itself. You have 25,000 Kekes on the streets of Asaba. Mltiply that by N300 that gives N7.2 million everyday. Multiply that by 30, that gives you N216,000,000. The salaries of the local government is not more that N60 million. Why must a local government staff in a town like Asaba jump on keke, salaries are paid? That is N60 million from N216 million, then over N140 million over three, four months can fund DLA road project.
“The first drainage contract for Okpanam Road that Uduaghan awarded was N2 billion. So, are you telling me that N2 billion at that time cannot do Okpanam Road, Ogwuda asked.”
He said Delta state is not a PDP state, but God’s own state., pointing out that APC alone cannot rescue Detans from the strangle hold of the PDP. “The power to deliver Delta state rests with Deltans. APC is granting Deltans the opportunity and platform to kick PDP out of power in the state,” Ogwuda declared.