…Says it’s immoral to shatter Delta power sharing pact because of Ogboru
…Uduaghan’s exit regrettable, but he can’t stop PDP
By Emma Amaize, South-South Editor
COORDINATOR of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa Re-Election Committee in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, Chief Favour Izoukumor, has said that it was wrong to rupture the power sharing arrangement in the state simply because one man, Chief Great Ogboru, wants to rule the state.
Izoukumor, who is the Commissioner representing Ijaw ethnic nationality on the board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, told Saturday Vanguard, “No one is undermining the popularity of Great Ogboru, the All Progressives Congress, APC, standard bearer, but you would agree with me that in a democracy, victory is determined by the electorate with whom the power lies.”
“The people of Delta have spoken that the incumbent governor, Senator Okowa, has done very well and they will reelect him – it is very clear. Besides, Delta state has a power sharing agreement, howbeit unwritten, and Delta Central, from where Great Ogboru hails has enjoyed power for eight years through Chief James Ibori. Delta South has also enjoyed it through Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and it is only just and right for the Delta North to have their full term.
“This arrangement is on moral grounds and it is working positively for the sitting governor. Ogboru is from Delta central and all Deltans feel that since the other two senatorial districts have enjoyed this arrangement, it is germane for the Delta North to have the same feel, particularly with a man who has done very well. Let’s not forget that this arrangement has brought understanding between the three senatorial districts, and all these are working positively for PDP. It is not good to break a working arrangement just because some people are desperate for power,” he said.
Chief Izuokumor added, “You can only win election with a political structure and PDP is very much on ground – from the state to the local government areas to the wards, to every unit in the state. I wonder how the APC can fly without viable platform and base. They also have to deal with the fact that APC at the center has woefully failed Nigerians. Buhari is the face of the APC and with his glaring failures; even APC’s stalwarts are canvassing a need to “change the change”.
His words, “There are a lot of APC members working with us, we do not want to expose them, because in politics you must have your ace, you joker. Our (PDP) presidential candidate and the Senate President came from APC, they realized that the party of strange bedfellows has failed Nigerians, and the only party that can make Nigeria work again is the PDP and they defected to make it work through the PDP.”
Uduaghan’s followers refused to follow him to APC
Speaking on the exit of former governor of the state and currently, APC Delta South senatorial candidate, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, from PDP, he said, “Well, he was a respected leader of the PDP, but unfortunately he has left and we cannot undermine his influence and all that, but as far as PDP is concerned, his departure will not hurt PDP in the state.
Izoukumor cautioned the ruling party at the center against the use of federal might in the state in the election, saying, “We have always heard of federal might, but democracy is not about war and the Niger Delta is not fighting either. We expect the election to be conducted by INEC and APC-led government to be free and fair. It is not a war, so I do not see why the federal government led by the APC will deploy their federal might to intimidate us.”
Federal might won’t work in Delta
“If APC tries federal ‘might’, it will fail because it is democracy and the people are in the position to make the decisions on who rules. I believe that by the position of the electorate in Delta state, the federal might will not come to play and even if it will, the people will resist it in a civil manner, they will vote against it.”
“We have a lot of strategies in place for the purposes of this election and I may not like to divulge the plan at this critical time. But I think the people have spoken in all the campaigns and the beauty of democracy is that the people know their choice and with all the feedbacks in our disposal, PDP will win convincingly at all levels,” he asserted.
Development cuts across all Delta LGAs
Commenting on the allegation that Governor Okowa focused his attention more on his Ika area, he said, “This is a mere allegation that is unjustifiable. Development by his government cuts across all three senatorial districts, and in all 25 local government areas of the state, you will see the developmental strides of the governor. So whoever that is peddling the rumor in this session, of course this is a political period and a lot of propaganda will arise. They are doing it for all reasons but the truth. It is totally false.”
Okowa didn’t abandon Warri
He dismissed the claim that the governor abandoned Warri all these while, only to start some construction works during the election period, saying, “Again, I do not think there is a political gimmick in this issue, of course, fund is the strength of every government. You will recall that when this government came into power, it was faced with economic recession, in the whole of the federation, which partly affected the resources and the economy.”
“You will remember that the Niger Delta states were struck and the Forcados Trunk Line destroyed. This took about a year to be repaired. The daily production on that line was over 400,000 and that period of almost a year, Delta state was receiving almost zero percent allocation on the 13 percent oil revenue. For individuals, corporate or government, you must take a reasonable time to save, and I believe that he has been saving and that is why he can do some work during this dry season.
“This terrain of some parts of the state is riverine and you can only do most of the construction works in the dry season. It is unreasonable to say that because the governor was waiting for the best time to construct road, then it is political. And moreover, you will recall that late 2017 and 2018, the governor commissioned some completed projects in Warri, Delta south senatorial and some of the riverine areas,” he said.
DESOPADEC now refocused
Regarding the performance of DESOPADEC, he said, “When Okowa took over, he consolidated on the achievements of the past government and he has made giant strides. Before now, the oil producing areas, especially the riverine communities, which is predominantly dominated by Ijaws and Itsekiris, did not get centralized projects from the past regimes. The Okowa government focused on centralized projects and he not just allocated, but awarded contracts in the oil producing communities and also those projects were completed and commissioned.”
“There were up to 47 or 49 projects awarded, and as we are talking more than 80% of those projects have been completed and 60 to 70% are commissioned. All these were achieved despite the economic challenges and militants’ destructions of oil facilities and attendant paucity of funds that the government inherited. So I believe that the governor has done very well in terms of capital development in the oil producing communities.
The commissioner said the rumor that that the governor was not releasing funds to DESOPADEC was not true. His words, “No, no, no, it is not true at all. I am aware that every month and even in some cases before the end of the month depending on when funds are released by FAAC, the commission is funded on monthly basis. I cannot remember any month for any reason that there was no allocation released.”
“I know that there are some projects of the ethnic nationalities that have not been fully paid and the government is defraying the outstanding bills on monthly basis. And you have to understand too that the issue of payment is not only in Delta state but a universal thing; payment is made when there is fund,” he added.
How Deltans should reward Okowa
He told Saturday Vanguard, “I want Deltans to reward Governor Okowa by voting massively to renew his mandate. They should also not be deceived by the opposition party, APC; they should not listen to them. Deltans should believe in the Okowa-led government and they should showcase all the praises they have been singing acknowledging all the good works of the governor at the polls on the 16th of February and the 2nd of March believing that they will re-elect our smartest governor to consolidate all the good works he has done within this short period despite all the challenges.”