Who will save Delta State? That is the big question on the lips of concerned Deltans following the massive debt profile of the state despite lack of infrastructural development, THE WITNESS reports.
Tongues have continued to wag in the ‘Big Heart State’ following recent revelations that the Delta State House of Assembly has approved a N4.1 billion loan request for the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
This is coming despite the massive rising domestic debt profile of the state which stands at N213 billion as at March 2021 amidst declining infrastructure under the Governor Okowa regime. The state emerged fourth highest most indebted state in Nigeria in the Domestic and Foreign Debt Report 2021 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The report shows that Lagos leads with N507 billion debt, Rivers follows with N377 billion, Akwa Ibom N232 billion and Delta follows with N213 billion.
In his letter to the house, Okowa explained that the approved N4 billion loan was to enable his administration complete ongoing people-orientated projects but these projects to be funded with the loan were not mentioned.
Inside sources however disclosed to that the loan is to be used to fund the buying of utility vehicles and pacify some disgruntled party stakeholders not to leave the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial election.
In a chat with our correspondent, the coordinator of DELTA REFORMATION GROUP, a non-partisan organisation, however, expressed concerns that the other states which top Delta in the debt profile have been experiencing landmark developments in the last six years.
“Take a visit to Lagos, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, you will see the massive developmental projects going on there.
“Let’s even forget Lagos. Look at what Nyesom Wike is doing in Rivers.
“In 2019, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom established Ibom Air; today the airline is one the leading airlines in Nigeria with brand new aircraft. What about the infrastructures in the state? Just give it to him.
“Both Wike and Emmanuel are PDP governors but our governor, Okowa, has refused to learn from them.
“What Governor Okowa is known for is politics, signing of memorada of understanding (MoU), felicitating with people on the pages of newspapers, attending birthday, wedding, and burial ceremonies.
“Despite the huge allocation and other revenues the state has received since Gov. Okowa assumed office in May 2015, all we see is high rates of poverty, unemployment and poor infrastructural development everywhere.
The state commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu and the chief press secretary to Governor Okowa, Olisa Ifeajika did not respond to our inquiries as at press time.
Source: The Witness