The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta dismissed the allegation of “invidious acts” made against the state government by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Below is full text of the PDP statement is
26th December, 2019
APC’s untruth, hogwash, long-term amnesia in Delta State
Our attention has been called to a press statement from the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta State alleging invidious acts in the governance style of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and casting aspersion on the integrity of our respected traditional rulers.
For us in Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, our decision is to denounce the APC tirade for what it is, a poorly crafted propaganda and baseless hogwash, which sadly reflects once again, the long-term amnesia now synonymous with the APC and most disturbingly the coarseness, contempt and discourtesy directed at our revered traditional rulers and institutions.
We are not surprised by the wrong-headed disposition of the APC, except to express PDP’s dismay at the frustration and dementia induced by the serial election defeats the APC has suffered over the years, have led the party to engage very colourless and unimaginative spin doctors whose crass lack of imagination and articulation is sadly a true reflection of the confusion that has bedeviled the APC in all its political nomenclatures in recent times.
Indeed, The Delta PDP is truly disappointed with the tone and content of the recent APC press statement titled: Your Approach To Governance, Invidious TO Deltans. Delta APC Tells Okowa, issued on 23rd December, 2019 and signed by Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina, Publicity Secretary, APC, Delta State. We would however, in the spirit of the Yuletide season, resist the urge to join issues with Mr. Imonina at the pedestrian level of his baseless hogwash propaganda, but it is imperative to set the records straight as regards some of the misinformation contained in his statement.
First, let’s talk about the recent and very commendable employment programme which absorbed close to 500 bonafide, properly Identified and certified Deltans into our very robust and highly motivated civil service, especially at a time when most States are even still grappling with paying the old minimum wage.
With all due respect to the status and pedigree of the principal figures involved in the said 2015 employment saga, we wish to state categorically that fundamental to every employment process is the laid down procedural guidelines defined and established by the civil service extant rules. Those who witnessed what happened at that time will quickly concur that that employment process was flawed from the onset and shrouded in all manner of discrepancies.
We do not wish to delve into the unsavoury shenanigans and clandestine misdemeanors that hijacked the programme, including the arbitrary impunity of employing persons who never attended any of the screening processes or the gross and monumental fraud of impersonation of bonafide Deltans by persons intent on shortchanging and denying eligible sons and daughters of Delta State from their entitlement to gainful employment in their own State.
We will also not dwell too much on the amazing governance wisdom and political calculation that informed the absorption of about 3,000 persons into the State work force, less than two months to the expiration of an eight years tenure, especially when it had already been confirmed that the Federal and State governments were even borrowing money and collecting bonds from financial institutions, to pay salaries to the existing workforce in the last few months of that tenure.
We were all living witnesses to the strangulating recession that gripped the entire Country and indeed the strategic management ineptitude of the APC Federal government which we are still suffering till today. But thanks to the visionary, astute and focused leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the fortunes of Delta State were not only turned around for the better, our State remained one of the very few in the country that paid salaries regularly and eventually addressed the pensions and local government workers funds and emoluments successfully and satisfactorily.
Today, Delta State has not only employed over 1,000 teachers and absorbed the screened and certified persons from the list of suspended civil servants, but Governor Okowa, the Ekwueme of the universe, has already directed that Delta workers will start receiving the new minimum wage from this December 2019. Suffice it to add further that employment is an ongoing process and we are confident and fully assured that every avenue of employment through which eligible, qualified and properly screened Deltans, including the highly successful YAGEP, STEP, PPSP, the dynamic Development Agencies and other great initiatives of the Okowa administration, which will compliment the periodic civil service employment scheme, will be explored and strengthened in capacity to accommodate all Deltans in the course of building a ‘stronger Delta’ in this second tenure.
As for the ridiculous bellyaching by some sponsored wailers on whose bleatings the APC’s mumbling propaganda machinery has temporarily found a muffled whimper of half hearted disapproval, we can only say that it is extremely hilarious for the opposition to even suggest in Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina’s words that Governor Okowa “inveigled and did cow some of our Traditional Stools into hurriedly putting up an award ceremony for him and some members of his political family, thereby desecrating the age-long revered Traditional Institution… It is preposterous that Governor Okowa was given an award and/ or declared the best in a race, he is yet to finish…”
It will indeed be preposterous to even attempt to join APC in their tepid, monolithic mindset and discourse on the role and critical importance of traditional rulers and institutions in the established symbiosis of collective governance module which has evolved over time and attained even greater relevance and centrality, given their natural and divine ordination as the custodians of the cultures and traditions of our people in a fast democratizing polity where power structures are now been determined and endorsed by the people.
Traditional rulers and institutions have transformed into integral stakeholders with the evolving and deepening of our democracy. Nigeria is predominantly an ethno-cultural society. Elections are campaign based and robust election campaigns by serious political parties are basically conducted at the grassroots were traditional rulers and institutions hold sway. Political power belongs to the people and those who genuinely desire to lead the people must first enjoy a cordial and harmonious relationship with the custodians of the very essence of their cultural and traditional identities.
Perhaps, we need to remind the APC that their ‘own’ President Buhari has played host to countless traditional rulers from different parts of the country including those from Delta, led on such visits by recognized APC political chieftains. He has even received political endorsements for his presidential ambition from prominent traditional rulers across the geopolitical sections of the country and Delta APC made political mileage out of all these meetings with President Buhari and even some recent meetings with their new found political leaders.
We also wish to put the Awards of Excellence to their Excellencies, Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Deputy Governor Dcn Kingsley Burutu Otuaro and former Governor Chief James Onanefe Ibori in proper perspective. According to a statement by the Delta Traditional Rulers, the monarchs in deciding to give the honour, commended the trio for what they described as the excellent leadership they have provided in human capital development, peace building, infrastructure development, security and general harmony in the State.
Virtually every adult Deltan who witnessed the tenure of Chief James Ibori, will attest and concur with the collective opinion that he is generally regarded as the architect of modern Delta State and the consolidation on the solid foundation laid by Odidigboigbo has continued to be improved upon by successive administrations after him.
And of course we have all been privy to the bold and courageous visitations and interventions of His Excellency, Dcn Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, as he spearheads and drives the peace building and reconciliation agenda of the Okowa administration, with a dedication and commitment, which has not only contributed tremendously to sustainable peace in the Delta creeks and ensured increased oil production, but has also shored up the fortunes of the country, boosted our overall revenue and equally created an atmosphere of peace and stability which has greatly addressed the restiveness in this region and encouraged investment in Delta State.
Let us state here and categorically too that our dear Governor and leader Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, after receiving his Award of Excellence from the traditional rulers, exhibited great statesmanship and magnanimity when he made it abundantly clear and acknowledged the contributions of his immediate predecessor who took over from Chief Ibori, to the growth and development of the State. Ekwueme who further charged the political class, never to trample on traditional rulers in the State, also used the opportunity to remind Deltans that the stools, which the various kings occupy were created by God and appealed that politicians and other stakeholders who have issues with any traditional ruler should take steps to resolve such for the peace and progress of the community.
It is on record that the PDP has always held our traditional rulers in the highest regard and esteem and accorded respectful reverence and recognition with the greatest humility to our traditional institutions over the years. We have been unequivocally sincere in our appreciation of the role our traditional rulers have played in ensuring that our communities are peaceful, especially at critical times on the National Calendar and we are proud and profoundly humbled by the continued cooperation and endorsement our leaders and governors have enjoyed from our revered traditional rulers over the years. It is therefore ironic and somewhat paradoxical that some of the strident voices speaking against the Awards of Excellence bestowed on our leaders by the traditional rulers, were still the same persons who cleverly exploited the colourful majestic royalty of our traditional rulers and ensured that they were fully attired in their imperial traditional glory, showcasing the full arrays of there cultural majesty in the front rows of every official State function to add credibility and grace to such functions and by extension those administrations. How time flies indeed.
It is also amazing to read the APC claim that Delta State has the highest monthly Federal allocations in this year 2019, besides ecological funds, internally generated revenues, and others sources of incomes, yet there are no legacy to reflect the huge allocations. Really? Apparently, the amnesia which the APC has been suffering for so long as a result of serial election losses has also blinded them to the plethora of achievements, which incidentally served us as unique selling points during our comprehensive reelection campaign tours as we criss crossed the length and breadth of Delta State, highlighting verifiable accomplishments where ever we berthed.
As for legacy projects, we need not remind the APC that government is a continuum and in line with the proper definition of ‘legacy’ projects we wish to point the APC in the direction of the fresh construction of quality connecting roads in virtually all the local government areas in the State and the Ultra-Modern State Secretariat Building which is nearly complete, as well as the massive upgrades, extensive remedial constructions, structural re-designing and critical re-evaluation which the Asaba International Airport, the already delivered Stephen Keshi International Stadium and the Asaba Storm Drainages, had to undergo, which were almost like starting the projects all over again.
Add these to the landmark roads and bridges in Delta South and the Riverine areas, some of which have already been delivered, as well as the gradual but steady transformation work which the newly set up Development Agencies are engaging in the major cities in the State, and even the APC will be left marvelling at the transformation of Delta State when these initiatives, which are all going to stand the test of time as lasting legacy projects and schemes, will be accomplished by the Okowa administration in the committed drive to consolidate on the SMART Agenda and build a #StrongerDelta.
In the final analysis, we will leave the last word on this matter of traditional rulers to His Excellency, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who made the following comments after receiving his Award of Excellence:
“I thank the Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers for the Award of Excellence bestowed on our leader, Chief James Ibori; my Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro; and I, today at a grand reception.
“The unity we enjoy today in our great State, could not have been achieved without our Royal Fathers playing key roles in ensuring that peace is maintained in their various realms.
“I urge all our traditional rulers to continue to support the government, as our administration continues to serve our people. Together, we will keep working towards a Stronger Delta for all Deltans and non-Deltans in our State”.
These are the words of a phenomenal leader cum statesman per excellence and one of the greatest visionary leaders of our time. Ekwueme has spoken. There is indeed nothing more to add.
Dr. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza
State Publicity Secretary
PDP, Delta State.