December 8, 2022

Delta 2023 and the politics of lies



A TIME comes in the life of a nation when citizens sign up for the patriotic ideal that should advance and turn their fortunes around for good. Every nation has her moments of evolution that are usually telling and tasking for all. In the course of that laborious evolution, statesmen are bound to arise and with patriotic gusto steer the nation out of troubled waters. 

But we must not lose sight of the band of disgruntled elements that will never sign up or concur with what is deemed patriotic for the common good of all. What happens is a polarisation of the society or polity along the lines of statesmen and that of political profiteers who are out to hound the state and subject it to capture. 

This trend is already playing out as Nigeria prepares for the general elections slated for February 2023. This scenario is what is reflected in the electioneering campaign between Nigeria’s two leading political parties namely: the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.  While both parties have been engaged in political fisticuffs at the national level, the states and even the local governments have become wrestling arenas with loud verbal slams intended to mudsling and tarnish reputations of political opponents.

This is the case in Delta State as orchestrated by the notorious APC propaganda machinery. Of course Nigerians have come to see the APC as a national swindle that thrived on lies and unscrupulous propaganda. Here in Delta State, the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has assigned to himself the dubious role of spreading barefaced Goebbelsian falsehood. 

Without a workable manifesto to campaign with Omo-Agege is more or less a politically drowning man looking for a straw to clutch at. He was raving with fever-pitch trauma when Governor Nyesom Wike went to town to accuse governors of the Niger Delta states of frittering the 13% derivation fund arrears.

Attention-seeking Wike sang and danced, telling the world that he used what came to Rivers State to build flyovers and challenged the other governors to tell the world what they did with what their states got. Although Wike has since recanted, unthinking APC lackeys lapped up the allegation and tried to use it to discredit Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State. 

At a stage-managed APC rally in Delta State some weeks ago, Omo-Agege and other APC leaders like Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Adams Oshiomhole mounted the podium to amplify Wike’s lies without bothering to carry out a diligent check to ascertain the veracity of the claim or not.  Tinubu, Oshiomhole and Omo-Agege who should be on their knees crying for penitence became accusers in calling the owner of the farm a thief. Governor Okowa was accused of squandering N240 billion of the derivation arrears. 

But records don’t lie and the records that have since been in the public domain showed that Delta State has not accessed more than N30 billion. Delta State took a wise decision to discount N100 billion out of the funds by way of loans so that the balance will help stabilise the incoming administration.

That was why the state applied for that N150 billion loan that has been reduced to N100 billion. Whereas Wike took all of Rivers State’s share by way of loan facilities from banks even though he knew that the Federal Government said it was going to pay the refund in 60 installments.  Observers now know between Wike and Okowa who is a better thinker and strategic manager of resources.

Wike has only mortgaged Rivers State and put its future in jeopardy. The Delta State government has come out with convincing proof that Wike’s assertion was a lie told by a politically desperate, bitter and angry man out to undo his fellow governors from the Niger Delta.

 Akwa Ibom professionals and a host of other stakeholders have also come out to flay Wike having seen through his ulterior motives.  While Omo-Agege was all over Delta State parroting Wike’s lies, Governor Okowa was on a national pedestal advocating a new dawn for Nigeria.

In response to Wike’s, Agege’s and Oshiomhole’s challenge asking what Governor Okowa did with Delta State’s share of the said funds, the people didn’t look too far to appreciate the achievements of the Governor. The consensus in town is that Governor Okowa ranks the highest nationwide in human capital development index. Governor Okowa is among the only five state governors who still pay workers’ salaries to date. 

Delta State has four functional state universities which is the highest ever in Nigeria. Besides education, Delta State has done wonders in health, jobs and wealth creation. But for federal roads that have collapsed, all state roads in Delta State are tarred as he constructed 1,900 kilometres of roads, drainage channels, bridges and more. 

The state boasts of the most modern and technologically-advanced public buildings in Nigeria. Delta State also has the most unique and modern stadium in Africa with an airport of international standard completed and upgraded by the Governor Okowa administration. 

Delta State is also enjoying peace and security arising from Governor Okowa’s astute leadership style and pro-people leaning. Delta is the most socio-economically and politically dynamic state in Nigeria in the last seven years. Compared to the present socio-economic reality in Nigeria, Delta State has offered prosperity to her citizens.

Yet, it must be pointed out that the crises which have turned Nigeria into a tragedy was caused by Omo-Agege’s APC, and instead of retreating and doing penance, he is out manufacturing lies and casting aspersions on statesmen like Governor Okowa. With the passing of days and more revelations, Deltans and Nigerians have seen through the lies, the deceits and layers of misinformation.        

Besides Governor Okowa, another phenomenal politician who has been targeted by Omo-Agege’s desperate lies in Sheriff Oborevwori who is the PDP governorship candidate in Delta State. What is interesting and which also marks Governor Okowa and Oborevwori as politicians of real worth is their refusal to join Omo-Agege in the mud.

Despite pouring invectives at the duo, they have refused to join issues with him. To Governor Okowa and Oborevwori, electoral campaign should be driven by manifestos and not abuses, curses and lies. Both men represent the new face of politics and they insist on being ethical. They abhor the politics of lies which has become Omo-Agege’s preoccupation.

Imomoh, a political analyst, wrote from Abraka, Delta State