Monday, April 15, 2024

Clark blasts Okowa over alleged corruption in Delta

  • Calls PDP vice presidential candidate a traitor
  • Says Okowa’s prayer won’t be answered
  • We respect your age – Delta replies ex-minister

BRIGHT JACOB

Former Minister of Information and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, on Thursday descended heavily on Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, describing his administration as the worst in the history of the state for being dictatorial and lacking accountability.

Clark, the renowned Ijaw leader and convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, also described Governor Okowa, who is the vice presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party as a “betrayer of the southern people.”

Clark, in an open letter titled “Your dictatorial government and reign of unaccountability in Delta State”, said “Today, I say with certainty that you are more dictatorial than any other Military Administrator that has administered Delta State since its creation in 1991. I can therefore understand why you have deliberately and immorally betrayed your colleagues of Southern Nigeria and the people for your own selfish ambition by wanting to land on a safer ground by accepting to serve as running mate to Atiku Abubakar.

“No, by God’s grace, your prayer will not be answered. Perhaps, you have forgotten the gravity of the offence you have committed against the people of Southern Nigeria.”

“In order to cover your nefarious plot, you voluntarily induced everyone to host a meeting of the 17 Southern Governors in Government House Asaba on Tuesday 11th May 2021. You gave them a very good reception and provided them with a secretariat that drafted the communiqué under your supervision, which was ably read by the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State. It was indeed a bombshell, as you collectively demanded for the Southern Presidency and insisted that none of you should accept to be a Vice President.

“We are therefore not surprised that you directed all the delegates from Delta State not to vote for Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State or Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who are your neighbours but instead, they voted massively for Atiku Abubakar during the PDP Presidential Primaries last year.”

The former minister also accused the Governor Okowa-led administration of alleged corruption, charging him amongst other things to give an account of how the 13 percent derivation paid by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was expended.

“Take note, there are many issues of corruption and abuse of office perpetrated by you and your government; this is ranging from one of your siblings partaking in the building of the Prof. Chike Edozien New Civil Service Secretariat Complex, Asaba. Because of the trust and belief we had in you at the time, we did not react to the exposing report made by Sahara Reporters on the 19th April, 2018, where he accused you of being the brain behind the fraud scandal related to the new secretariat complex in Asaba.

“Meanwhile, I have decided to concentrate on the misuse of about N250 billion 13% derivation fund which you collected from the Federal Government and corruptly misused by your administration for the purpose of which the fund was made available for,” he charged.

But in a quick reaction, the state government, in a statement signed by the Information Commissioner, Charles Aniagwu, disagreed with Clark.

The state countered that Okowa’s excellent performance in Delta justified his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the PDP.

The state also argued that the governor holds a quarterly media briefing at which he lays bare everything going on in the state.

“We have read with keen interest the open letter to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

“First we accord him his due respect as an elder statesman and a respected father in our state, but we state categorically that his letter is not a true reflection of the state of affairs in Delta State as the massive achievements in infrastructural and human capital development recorded in the state in the last seven years are visible to all and sundry.

“On the allegation of unaccountability and dictatorship, it is on record that Governor Okowa has been very accountable to the people as he has always briefed Deltans on the state of affairs in the state. He holds quarterly media interaction with journalists in the state where issues across the state are discussed and questions asked and relevant answers provided.

“The Governor has had cause to relate with the State House of Assembly on all matters concerning the state finances at all times. How can a Governor that ensured full autonomy for the state’s legislature and the judiciary be said to be dictatorial?

“On the allegation of misuse of N250 billion 13% derivation fund, nothing can be far from the truth because the said fund is being paid in quarterly installments and as at last record we have only received four installments totaling N19.6 billion.

“Because of the time value of money and inflationary tendencies, we decided to discount N100 billion. On application to the state House of Assembly, we listed some landmark projects to be completed from the fund and some of them including the Ogheye Floating Market, Koka Flyover and Interchange, Maryam Babangida Leisure Park, Film Village and Zoo, Mother and Child Specialist Hospital and Advanced Diagnostics Medical Centre have been completed, inaugurated and currently operational,” the state government insisted.

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