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Okowa’s Bid To Hijack Delta Communities’ Leadership: It Will Not Fly

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There seems no limit to the self-mockery and shamelessness Governor Ifeanyi Okowa could subject himself to driving his government of intimidation and extortion over Delta state.

What is it we read and heard in the media recently? That Delta State Government, under another Okowa’s fiat, will now moderate leadership selection in communities.

That is the guise of promoting peace in Delta communities, the State Ministry of Justice will write a constitution for communities and endorse those to contest leadership elections, a fabrication of a license to impose partisan leaders in the communities.

Of course, the intended role of the justice’s ministry in this conspiracy is just a secondary interest of Okowa’s sudden concern for peace in Delta communities. The primary interest, as always with the Okowa gluttonous administration is extortion.

According to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs Kevwe Agas, the “registration form would cost N50,000”. So Okowa is not satisfied that he set thugs everywhere harassing and extorting on Delta populace in the name of revenue generation.

Now, imagine every community in Delta state paying N50,000 for a piece of paper in the name of registration in the name of regulating community development association. Enumerate how many communities you have in Delta and you understand how racketeering savvy Okowa’s administration can be.

Now some posers for Okowa and his gang of extortionists. What moral justification do you have to regulate community leadership in Delta. Where is the legal backing?

A government that is led by a medical doctor, but thrives on propaganda, shoddy projects that fail before commissioning, thuggery, extortion and intimidation against the disappointed populace.

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An administration that borrows to share among officeholders at the expense of the state. A government that draws from the commonwealth in billions of naira into private vaults with impunity in the guise of security votes while the crime rate rises by the day. What moral justification does Okowa has to regulate community leadership in Delta?

The unchecked violence caused in communities in Delta today is a result of bad governance As a result of failed governance, host communities hold the oil companies to Ransome as though they are alternative governments who must right all the wrongs and failures of government in the communities.

If responsible leaders are elected as councillors, council chairmen, assembly members and governors, all of the communal crises in the state will vanish. Delta state government interfering in community leadership is very wrong, so dangerous, and too political.

What is needed from the Delta State Government is good governance, at all levels, not imperialism over communities. We need the government to stop robbing the communities.

DESOPADEC was set up to address the prolonged neglect of host communities.

From the very beginning, the commission, so politicised was turned into a patronage tool for any governor in power, deliberately derailed from the set objective by brazen defiance of the enabling law set by the same government.

From the beginning, the legal provision that 50% of accrued 13% derivation to the state be made available for the commission to develop oil and gas producing communities was itself inconsistent with the statutory context of 13% derivation which is intended entirely for oil communities.

The more inciting tone to it is that no administration since thief James Ibori established DESOPADEC has honestly released the 50% the establishment law of the commission stipulated. Worst still, the fraction that is released is not diligently utilised to address the development gaps in the oil communities.

Instead, the partisan managers appointed to manage DESOPADEC delight in spreading compassionate employment of bloated redundant staff who receive salaries for doing nothing. Frivolous projects are conceived without genuine needs assessment in the target oil communities to filter into private vaults with pretentious shoddy projects as cover-up testimonials.

Money ought to be used to build infrastructure is what they sit and share, with impunity. That was how under Okowa, DESOPADEC once voted N300Million for the development of Ibori’s private Western Delta university when pupils in basic public schools sits on bare floors to learn.

The errand Attorney-General of Delta should promote probity in making Okowa respect the law enabling DESOPADEC and make the commission accountable for best results in the deployment of its set funds.

The slide into creating more problems in the communities must not and will not fly. If allowed, soon government officials will collide with community executives to further mismanage GMoU funds from oil companies.

I don’t know what will be the business of government in local communities administration?

Efforts should be concentrated on providing good governance, responsive to the needs of the people and there will be peace in the communities. Extorting N50,000 from communities in the name of registration is introducing the prohibitive cost of buying party nomination forms in disguise.

The United Arab Emirates was built with oil and gas money in commitment to integrity and selflessness. Here in Delta, the governor and clueless appointees are busy twisting every government policy and programme to benefit them and hangers-on only at the expense of the majority alienated.

Okowa and his Delta state Attorney-general must stop their intentions to rubbish villages of Delta with the dirty politics of PDP and APC. These communities have been in existence long before the Nigerian state was formed.

Okowa should steer clear of Delta communities’ to keep to their customs and tradition of appointing/electing their leaders. He should rather concentrate on rendering good governance by providing basic infrastructures fairly across the state.

Zik Gbemre
May 20, 2022

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