By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Elders’ Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State has challenged the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to show proof of how the over N840 billion which allegedly accrued to the state in the form of federal allocation, internally generated revenue (IGR) and loans in the past two years is spent.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the media coordinator of the council, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said that apart from a “questionable” monthly wage bill of N4 billion, the state has recorded unpaid salaries and pension of up to 24 months.
Ojougboh, who said the state government has been tall on propaganda but short on achievement, added: “Delta State has no business with poverty and since the inception of the present government, Delta has received N840 billion in allocation, loans, IGR and grants. The APC Elders Council is asking ‘Mr Governor, what have you done with this money?’
“The people want to know. The APC implores Deltans to note the sorry state of our cities and the complete darkness now enveloping the previously well lit cities of Asaba and Warri. Poverty yawns in Delta State.”
According to him, the council noted: “During the tenures of James Ibori and Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, the expenditure approval limits for governors was N50 million. On the 17th August 2015 immediately after inception, the Delta government issued a circular without seeking the approval of the state EXCO jacking up the governor’s approval threshold from N50 million to N250 million.”
“The Governor also immediately increased the threshold of the ministerial and State tenders’ boards, but barred them from exercising their powers”, without prior approval from the governor.
Ojougboh added that; “For the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, he did not present budget details for the state budget and DESOPADEC budget. The government has failed since the 4th October 2017 till date to produce the state and DESOPADEC budgets for 2016 and 2017. We challenge any member to present a copy of the 2016, 2017 State and DESOPADEC budgets.
“The government then went for the bailout funds. Delta State Government has received N76 billion till date. The government also passed the hangover loan from the previous administrations to the Federal Government as bonds, so there are no liabilities to this present administration on previous loans.
“In the process, the Paris Club refund of N20 billion was paid to the Government. Delta State is one of the lucky states that receives enormous monthly allocations, eg, the State received N14 billion for the month of September, 2017 which was the highest in the federation. Internally generated revenue brings an additional of N10 billion monthly”.
The APC elders said two commissioners had complained bitterly that as commissioners they do not have the right tools to work with.
“Truth they say is stranger than fiction, only yesterday the Commissioner for Finance posited that 2, 203 political office holders are paid N330 million, this again is not true. Each earns N250,000 and common sense shows that the monthly wage is N550 million.
“We again call on the State House of Assembly to stand up to be counted. The State House of Assembly should suspend the sales of Delta Line and investigate the criminal handover of our common wealth to private individuals in Government,” he said.