Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Monday said the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and his All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot win elections in Delta State to give them governance of the state.
The Governor who spoke through the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, at a news conference in Asaba, said that Omo-Agege lacked requisite knowledge to govern Delta just as the performance of APC-led Federal Government had made it very difficult to market any candidate from that party for the 2023 general elections.
He stated that he had recently advised Omo-Agege to concentrate his energy on things that could enhance his electoral value rather than chasing shadows.
According to him, not too long ago, I had advised the Deputy President of the Senate and APC governorship candidate in the state, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, to try as much as possible to stay with the issues that could help his electioneering campaign and not to begin to stray in directions that will not in any way advance his interest.
“I had thought that it was only those who speak for him that tend not to understand what the issues are.
“I read somewhere, where he was mentioning that we have received over N700 billion in the last seven years and that we couldn’t account for that and I begin to wonder N700 billion received as what.
“It shows that he does not understand how governance runs because the data that are available show that we have received more than that.
“I say so because he thinks that what we use to run government alone in a year is N100 billion; our wage bill alone, that is the recurrent side of the budget, is even far more than what he was mentioning,” he said.
The commissioner reminded the Orogun-born Senator that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was not contesting elections with him in 2023 and as such he should not make Okowa the subject matter of his campaign.
“First he needs to be reminded that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is not on the ballot with him in 2023. Governor Okowa is not running for any of the elections in Delta, he is not running to become a governor again, he is not running for any election that is limited to Delta, so its important that he begins to address his mind to other issues rather than chasing shadows.
“As a government we have been able to show transparently through the press in the last seven years, the many projects and programmes that we have embarked upon.
“Programmes such as the many platforms that we have used to empower our youths and a cross section of Deltans.
“Policies such as the ones that affects the livelihoods of our people and indeed projects that are quite outstanding such as the New State Secretariat, upgrade and concessioning of the Asaba airport that has made our airport quite outstanding among the comity of airports in the country.
“We have performed significantly in the capital side of the budget with many outstanding accomplishments in infrastructural development.
“As a government we have added value to the people of Delta whether they live in the creeks or in the upland so for Omo-Agege to say that N700 billion is not accounted for, you begin to wonder whether he understands the issues of governance.
“I thought that as a member of the National Assembly he should be able to do some calculations because there has never been any year where we drew up a budget that is less than N360 billion.
“If in all our budgets we have performed 100 percent in the recurrent part of the budget which is why we are always ensuring that salaries are paid as and when due and that we have also performed significantly on the capital side of the budget.
“All these projects have led to the many milestones we have recorded in road construction, building of schools, bridges and other infrastructure such as the storm water drainage here in Asaba and Warri.
“Many of these projects you have either accompanied us to inspect or to inaugurate many of these projects so you begin to wonder if such a person is capable of governing if he does not have a clear understanding of what statistics is all about?
“As we go into the electioneering campaign be rest assured that we will put up what our party the PDP has done in Delta. state for our people to be the judge,” the Information Commissioner stated.
On Okowa’s rising political profile and comments by some uninformed analysts, Aniagwu said the governor didn’t buy it from the market, adding that he Okowa will add value to national governance with his scorecard in Delta.
“The good Lord and the people of Nigeria have seen that our Governor has discharged his responsibility very creditable well here in Delta and there are a lot facts that speaks to that in terms of projects, programmes and policies.
“We therefore urge you to shun the possibility of individuals who lack knowledge of activities in Delta and tend to paint pictures that are at variance with realities in the state.
“We thank you because you have remained with the truth and you have remained very professional in the discharge of your reportage and we are not going to lose any sleep because we know that you will continue to stay with the facts,” he said.
The Information Commissioner further said that the primary election of the PDP has come and gone and the delegates spoke loudly and those who witnessed it can see the transparency that characterised the process.
He urged those who contested with the party’s candidate Sheriff Oborevwori to join hands with him to continue the party’s winning streak in the state.
“As a Government we have always put the interest of the people first and that we will not lose sight of.
“The abysmal performance of the ruling party in Abuja is enough challenge for anybody who want to come and challenge the very laudable programmes and projects of Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
“We want them to go and correct their challenge first before looking in our direction because that’s enough trouble for them rather than spending their energy questioning thins that are not even questionable in the first place.
On the alleged frosty relations between Governor Okowa and former Governor James Ibori, Aniagwu said there was no issues with the two leaders who have continued to remain close as great leaders.
“We are on course and I don’t think there is any problem between Governor Okowa and our leader, Chief James Ibori.
“Okowa has continued to show him respect and I have not seen Chief Ibori speak ill of Governor Okowa and of course knowing who Okowa is, he will never speak ill of anyone especially his leader,” he stated.
On the issue of a northern candidacy, Aniagwu said the country needs a dispassionate leader that will treat people equally and fairly and not on the basis of any ethnic, religious or regional considerations.
He said the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar had served the country well as Vice President and assisted President Olusegun Obasanjo to rejuvenate the nation’s economy between 1999 to 2007 and urged Nigerians to support him and the PDP to rescue Nigeria from the grips of the APC.