By NosaAkenzua, Delta
With the drum beat of political warfare currently threatening the Delta State political landscape, leading opposition party in the state, All Progressives Congress (APC) has commenced secret plot to stop Governor IfeanyiOkowa’s second term bid in 2019.
Instructively, the political temperature has been rising steadily since 2017 with numerous political activities, especially within the ruling PDP-led government, with its leaders insisting that there was ‘no vacancy’ in the Delta gubernatorial seat. Incidentally, many Delta people, who have grown increasingly frustrated by the prevailing socio-economic situation, have averred that the PDP-led administration in the state, had largely failed to provide the dividend of democracy to the people. But the party faithful think otherwise. Across the 25 local government areas in the state, the PDP members have resolved to make Governor Okowathe sole candidate for 2019 governorship election, thus insisting that he (Okowa), within two years of his administration, provided the needed infrastructural developments in the state. They are always quick to list Okowa’s achievements and what his administration would do once it secures another four-year term.
For instance, the Delta state PDP publicity secretary, Mr. Ifeanyi MichealOsuoza, recently described a recent advertorial placed in a national daily by APC over Okowa’s poor performance so far as ‘pathetic fallacies’. According to the PDP spokesperson, APC erroneously listed the Asaba Airport, Warri, Industrial Business Part, and the Independent Power Project among such projects that were either abandoned, or looted. He stressed that the APC claims were completely out of place and needed empirical proofs.
He said: “To recapitulate, the Asaba airport was downgraded by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on May 6, 2015 over “safety concerns.” The previous administration re-awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of Runway and Taxiway (STB.10/T/791). On May 21, 2015, at a total contract sum of N5b with 50% of contract sum as advance payment and a completion period of three months. In its acceptance letter also dated May 21, 2015, the contractor, ULO Consultants, affirmed that “completion period is within three (3) from commencement of the project.” The contractor subsequently submitted a Performance Bond from Zenith Bank to the state government in August 2015 and on the basis of this, 50% of the contract sum amounting to N2.5b, was released as advance payment.
However, following the breach of the contract agreement and with only 24.5% completion rate I two years, ULO had no choice but to disengage and a new contract for the airport was in December 2017 awarded to construction giant, Setraco Nigeria Ltd. But for the ingenuity, tact and wisdom displayed by Governor Okowa in handling the former contractor, the Asaba Airport project would have been mired in prolonged litigation. Delta people should be assumed that the airport would become fully operational in the next four months given the commitment, speed and professionalism of the new contractor. If the APC cares about the truth at all they should take a trip to the Asaba Airport today and see the pace of work going on there right now.
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Osuoza insists that APC’s claim that Governor Okowa “killed” the Warri Industrial Business Part is petty, puerile, malicious and slanderous. “The truth of the matter is that the Warri Industrial Business Park has been stalemated by litigations arising from the previous administration’s acquisition of the land for the project.
According to him, to acquire the site, the then (PDP)governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel EwetaUduaghan, revoked the Certificates of Occupancy of the Chevron Nigeria Limited, Remm Oil Services Limited, JephKebbi International Ltd, GramenPetroserve Nig. Ltd; Seiya Transport Ltd, Hercules Maritime Ltd, Weafri Well Services, High Chief Government O. Ekpemupolo, Mr. BolajiIshaka and Otien Family of Edjeba Town.
“The revocation was done for overriding public interest, which is for the purpose of setting up the Warri Industrial Business Park Project via Gazette No. 15 volume 19 dated April 9, 2009. However, aggrieved with the way and manner the revocation was done, some of those affected instituted actions in court against the state government,” he explained.
But the APC had insisted in its claims that the state had,from 1991 to date, suffered untold hardship and under developed, orchestrated by what it described as “Family ruling party”, alleging that, within two years plus of Okowa’s administration, a whopping sum of N260billion was squandered on frivolous projects while another N162billion alleged diverted into personal pockets.
Orient Daily recalled that the APC had, in a statement issued last Thursday through its spokesperson, ErefoluWakeka, accused Governor Okowa of gross insensitivity to the plights of the people of Deltastatre, stressing that those drumming support for his administration, were political jobbers and charlatans working to eke living for themselves. While APC claimed it has uncovered sinister motives by Governor Okowa, and his followers to rubbish its prominent members, it vowed that, come 2019, the PDP administration in the state will be reduced to history.
Further checks revealed that key APC chieftains such as OtegaEmerhor, one-time governorship candidate of the party, Barr. Victor Ochei and Chief AyiriEmami have been meeting under closed doors in recent weeks to perfect their strategies on how to defeat Okowa and PDP in the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial election in the state.
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