Barely 24 hours after the presidential flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, named Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate ahead of the 2023 general elections, the All Progressives Congress Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation in Delta has warned Okowa “not to use Delta State funds to finance Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s campaign and other political activities”.
The APC Governorship campaign organisation, in a statement issued on Friday by Ima Niboro, the Director, Communications and Media Strategy, said that “the call became necessary in the light of credible intelligence at its disposal that the 2023 General Election is a PDP conduit pipe to loot the State”.
According to the statement, “the use of taxpayers’ funds and collective resources of Deltans to fund personal political ambitions was unacceptable, callous and inhuman”.
“It is sad that on a day the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, approved the immediate payment of outstanding gratuities, pension arrears and death benefits for retirees of Rivers State Public Service, the Delta State House of Assembly approved N25 billion loan for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa allegedly to plant palm trees,” the statement read in part.
“This is coming barely 49 days after the embattled PDP candidate, Okowa’s yes-man and Speaker of the state Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori or Francis, approved a controversial N150 billion loan.
“We have sufficient grounds to suspect that these loans are being taken to prosecute Atiku’s presidential campaign. We will not stand by and watch Okowa impoverish our people in order to enthrone a man who has nothing to offer Deltans in particular and Nigerians in general.
“If Governor Okowa had devoted half of the time he used in pursuing his Vice Presidential ambition to focus on governance, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“As of today, the government is owing retirees over seven years of gratuities, pension arrears and death benefits while the state goes on autopilot for Okowa to pursue his personal ambition. Most retirees have resorted to commercial tricycle, popularly called Keke, for survival, some are bedridden, others have resigned to fate or even died while waiting for the present administration to pay their entitlements after 35 years of meritorious service to state and country.”
According to the Delta APC Governorship campaign organisation, “the path of backwardness and crippling debts which the Okowa government has sentenced the state was undeserved given the huge, abundant human and natural resources that Delta is blessed with”.
It, therefore, charged Governor Okowa to borrow a leaf from his counterparts in Rivers, Borno, Ebonyi and other states “that are blazing the trail with legacy projects, turning their states into massive construction sites, while paying outstanding gratuities and pensions, rather than take loans with nothing to show at the end of the day”.