Delta 2011: What has Gov. Uduaghan done to deserve your votes?
Richard Nixon once wrote that 'in politics and statecraft, power means life or death, prosperity or poverty, happiness or tragedy for millions of people'. And as such, those who seek power must do so with a sense of mission. They should so much believe in their mission and their ability to change the course of history to the point that nothing, not personal gain, not even their own personal survival, matters to them. He wrote that those who seek power without a sense of purpose and dedication to service, but for personal gains, will, at the very best, be dangerous leaders. Deltans politics are here again where those who think promises are to broken rather than to be kept for once, where those who think powers are meant for themselves, cronies and families rather than to carry the people along in scheme of things, where those who have aggressively failed the electorates with their empty promises without any recourse that he who fight and run away must definitely live to fight again and it is on that note I want to ask us now that, IN REAL SENSE OF THE WORD, WHAT HAS GOVERNOR EMMANUEL UDUAGHA DONE IN HIS OVER THREE YEARS IN OFFICE TO DESERVE YOUR PRECIOUS VOTES COME 2011? Follow me down as I take you through some of his comments in his Warri resident on Thursday, September, 16 th , 2010 while formally making his declaration for a second term before the Press. 'I called you here this morning to make a formal announcement; but before I make that announcement, I want to thank you for the support you gave to me and my family before the last election during the election and after the election. Most importantly, the great support to my administration in the last three years and two months or so. There is no doubt we had a robust relationship. You said things the way they should be and whenever there were differences, we always settle it amicably. Thank you for the support.' 'Secondly, many of you will recall we started politics from this environment, when I wanted to go into the race. It was at this kind of meeting that I made the announcement, through the Warri Press.' 'The time has come for people to make their intention known and yesterday; my party, PDP came out with the electoral guidelines for the upcoming election. I don't believe that I should have said anything until the electoral guidelines came out. I was part of the meeting that critically examined the electoral guidelines and I think it is very possible for me to take a shot at the governorship of Delta State . I am formally announcing this morning to run for the governorship race as Governor of Delta State.' 'In doing so I believe and I do know that over three years now as governor of this state, that I have tried to keep very faithfully to my Three-Point Agenda of peace and security, infrastructure development and human capital development . You will all agree with me that between May 29th, 2007 and today Delta Sate is a more peaceful place. It is more peaceful than as it was before, it is more secure, the waterways are open, people can move around at night especially and businesses close into the night as they used to do before. You will all agree with me that in the area of peace and security, Delta State is a better place. In the area of infrastructure we have gone ahead with our social infrastructures, in the health sector, in education and in the area of providing good roads for people to move around for their daily activities.' 'The second aspect of the infrastructure development for investment; that is, in the area of power, transportation, sea ports, air ports, major highways and of course urbanization and the information and communications technology (ICT). We have also designed the Warri Industrial Park and we are about to design the Koko Export Free Zone for investors to come in. In the area of human capital development, we have tried as much as possible to improve the lives of our people from the day of birth to the day of death. We have tried to improve on the lives of pregnant women and our unborn children by starting a free healthcare scheme; so that people have better access to health system. We have also tried to improve in the lives of our children, making sure that they have access to education. We have removed every encumbrance in terms of financing payment for examination fees and other payments that occur in secondary school education is virtually free in the state. We also were able to provide some books to children. Beyond the secondary schools, we have also tried to make sure that bursary and scholarship to intelligent ones and others with first Class to further their education anywhere in the world. We also have a special scholarship for the very intelligent ones in the tertiary institutions and after schooling, we have also tried that our people are better empowered.' "Our micro-credit programme is on course, we have improved in the funding this year and also our children and youth who are interested in agriculture are trained and we are ensuring that we open farms for them either in clusters or as single farmers across the state. We have also gone to make employment in all tiers of governments: in the health sector, education and even in the civil service we have offered employment for various Deltans. Fourteen thousand (14, 000) have been employed in the last three years. We have also tried to improve on the welfare of our workers. When I came on the 29th May, 2007, there was 50% wage increase and the state government has been paying faithfully and we have also 7.5% pension scheme, which the state government has been doing faithfully to our workers. We have also tried to invite investors to the state. So, there are a lot of investment enquiries today. In the next three to four years, we will be having a fertilizer plant in the state. The opportunity is for people to get employed in the private sector and the opportunity is still improving every day.' "For over three to four years now there have been no drilling activities by the oil companies in the state; but as at today efforts have been made for drilling to go on because conditions in the waterways have improved. You will also recall that an Escravos Gas-To-Liquid plant has been constructed and almost completed for commissioning next year. The $5.9 billion project was constructed without hitches and that shows how secured the state can be to investment.' 'Having said that, a lot have to be done in Delta State . We have also done more of planning in the past three years in the administration of our projects. It will take several years of our initiated projects to mature. It will only be fair for somebody who initiated these projects to see them to maturity. Four years is not enough to plan and execute such projects. We need more than four years and that is why I am offering myself for a second tenure as governor of Delta State .' If you ask me I will say what a beautiful speech there by his Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, governor of oil rich Delta state, but it is how well not how far.
If Deltans must to be sincere to themselves in all ramifications without sentimental attachment, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan does not in any way deserve the precious votes of the people. Talking about his administration's well publicised three point agenda, in what way has it truly affected the lives of the people? For over three years plus now the state can not boast of its own media, whereas Governor Uduaghan spent huge sum of millions of naira in hiring AIT, Channels, NTA and others to broadcast government events live while the three state owned media houses remain in a state of comatose. Take a critical look at the Governor Uduaghan's peace and security agenda; today the people are not safe, a situation where armed robbers in broad day light will murder several persons including a pregnant woman at Ogwashi-Uku in an uninterrupted Bank robbery, a situation where a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Ibuza police station, Mrs. Mercy Dagogo will be murdered around the popular Ogbeogonogo market in the state capital, Asaba, a situation where several souls were lost during the Irri communal battle as well as other communal crisis in Isoko land and several other communal crisis among others, yet we have in place peace and security agenda and every month tax payers money running into billions of naira are been voted for security. Apart from the two gigantic projects initiated by the former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori recently commissioned by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, what other major projects can His Excellency, Governor Uduaghan come out bold to show Deltans that will warrant them giving him their votes in the forthcoming general elections.? All we have on ground been paraded by Governor Uduaghan's administration as projects are nothing but mere cosmetics and media propaganda. Analysts contend that the current government under Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan might have received over 600 billion naira in oil revenues from the federation account via statutory allocations from the federation account, excess crude remittances, ecological funds, derivation proceeds and value added taxes, but the state cannot boast meaningful investment that could assist reduce mass poverty and youth unemployment. In deed, the last World Bank report cited Delta state (34th) along with Imo state (35th) as the states in the country most difficult to do business. Such rating underscores why Delta state is massively impoverished, underdeveloped and poverty-stricken in the hands of a very corrupt government. A cursory assessment of the government's advertised three-prong programme of peace and security, human capital development, infrastructure and development, only leaves the mind even more dumbfounded. Visit the state's website, and the visuals that greet you only exacerbates the anger of any intelligent as the government flashes a group of armed mobile police men, some secondary school children and a stretch of street lights as showcase of the advertised programmes of achievement. The current government presides over poverty intervention agencies like the Delta state economic and development commission, with an ugly acronym, DESOPADEC, where billions of development funds are frittered away through massively inflated phantom projects, and each them the sleaze become public the governor never fired one errant staff. A leader should show anger when state officials act against their oath of office.
Governor Uduaghan is known to allegedly covering up the cancerous corruption at DESOPADEC, only able to display pretentious anger. Leadership is about dreams and visions that are translated into set tasks. Those tasks are outlined in either a short term, or long term intended programmes or projects. To plan for state institution couldn't be different from the way projects are designed in the private sector since there are no separate project modules for the public or private sector. From good governance, investment and human capital, economic development and infrastructure, to citizenship right (a social policy affirmation), administrative control and fiscal discipline, accountability and youth empowerment, the Uduaghan's administration is a failed entity. In normal circumstances, student that fails in a continuous assessment programme is offered a re-sit option, but not in the leadership programme where you either perform, or quit. In a corporate environment, a CEO with such dismal performance after three years can only pass for dismissal by the company's shareholders. The day of reckoning is lurking. And politicians, particularly the incumbents across the country are jittery about the prospects of re-election, or rejection. In almost four years Governor Uduaghan could not do anything for Deltans, is it now he thinks he can something? One is not sure how the mind of the governor works. What things does he think about? Is it about how to better the lots of Delta citizens, or do things the same old ways while actually doing nothing since the system works solely for him and his cohorts. This is a state so rich in human and natural resources, and yet subdued in the hands of a rampaging bad and self centered and corrupt regime whose creeds are power, greed and intimidation. When the governor talks about taking Delta state to the 'next level,' one is jolted to ponder what this 'level' actually represents. Is it more of the same old ways that the people now reject, or further corruption, abandoned projects, capital flights and youth unemployment? The people are crying for change, and many in the party and outside are prepared to put their trust elsewhere. Governor Uduaghan is not relenting, throwing all the cash he can get, in fact, governance has since ended in the state as he mops the state's resources to fight the battle of re-election. Some analysts who worked for Governor Uduaghan in the immediate past recount their frustrations as they accuse the governor of using poverty as weapon of psychological torture to cripple his opponents. Most of them have vowed to work for the opposition. Governor Uduaghan's leadership skills and style in governance remain an interesting curiosity for students of leadership and good governance, not so much about what he does, but how he did them. He dreams, but lacks vision. He purports to work, but he trivializes governance as tool for motivational nuisance. He admires followers as basis for loyalty, but lacks how to lead. Now, Delta people appear to be asking themselves whether they had made the right judgment by entrusting their destiny into what had become the unsafe hands of a governor that lacks the capacity to protect their future. Governor Uduaghan neither designs, nor invents the future because he lacks the visionary capacity. And so, he panders today and ruins the future. As politicians crisscross the land, the citizens believe that they can have one unique chance to direct their future. They are waiting for the aspirants to come out with their programmes. They are waiting for the political parties to unveil their manifestoes, but as analysts contend, the differences in manifestoes are not that clear. As economic hardship and illiteracy wreak havoc on the land, personal integrity, vision, trust, blueprint for a new direction and disenchantment or content with the status quo might well be the driving considerations for voters' behaviour in next year's general elections. In a recent press interview by one of the state governorship aspirants, Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege noted that really there is nothing to cheer about as far as governance in the Delta state is concerned.
According to Mr. Omo-Agege 'Today, People are asking given the enormous resources that has accrued to the state in the last three years and half, most especially the N650 billion the state received, have we received the development that is commensurate with this amount? And the answer to the majority of Deltans is a resounding no' adding that the near absence of governance in the state is what is primarily fuelling his quest to acquire power this time around and use it for the betterment of his people.
Using the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Delta state to explain his position that the government in Asaba could have done better, Omo-Agege affirmed that 'Just few months ago, the President, Goodluck Jonathan, was in Delta State to commission projects. If you notice, in most states he visited earlier, he spent two days or a day. In Delta State , he managed to stay for a few hours. There is reason for that; we only had two projects to commission. 'And what were these projects: the specialist hospital in Oghara and the Naval barracks in Oghara. These are the only two projects the governor deemed fit to put forward to be commissioned in three years. 'And the two projects are those projects commenced and completed by former Governor Ibori. So what happened to the N650 billion allocation from the federation account and the internally generated revenue that has come to the state? 'To the extent that Omo-Agege claims Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan have not performed, he says incumbency factor in a country where it is a potent tool in elections cannot be an obstacle to his bid to be Delta governor next year. His words: 'There are incumbents and there are incumbents. You have to take a lot of factors into consideration. Factors such as the circumstance of his emergence, poor or lack of performance completely obliterate any advantages that ought to go with incumbency." Addressing a crowd of his supporters and other political associates recently at his country home, Delta state 2007 AC, now ACN governorship candidate, Mr. Peter Okocha noted that the present administration in Delta State has failed the people. The PDP returnee said, another four years of the government will be 'Catastrophic for Delta people.' He asked all stakeholders in the state to join hands to bring into office, a government that will ensure positive development in the state. Mr. Okocha however warned the people of Delta against selling their votes and, by implication, their conscience, noting that voters should seek for long term benefits by voting credible leaders into government. The PDP leader said that though Governor Uduaghan is his personal friend, he has not acted like a friend to the Delta people, 'as there is nothing on ground to show for the three and a half years of the government in power' citing unfinished projects like the Asaba International Airport and the dualisation of Ughelli road as among the areas where the Uduaghan government has failed.
It would be recalled that some time ago, former members of Delta State House of Assembly under the aegis of Mass Movement for Change (MMC), led by Hon. George Oyefia had called on the incumbent governor to account for over N380b accrued to the state from the federal Government allocations since 2007 till date.
In a communiquÃ© issued and signed by Hon. George Oyefia, Hon. Misan Ukubeyinji, Hon Paul Akegwere, Chief Julius Ogboru, Barr. Blaise Sideso Comrade Olori Magege and 44 others mainly former law makers shortly after their inauguration at the Jabin Olori Hotel Ughelli on May 16, 2010, revealed that Delta receives an average of N10b (Ten Billion Naira) monthly from the federal allocation, and over a billion naira from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), stressing that there has been no meaningful development in the state to show for the huge allocation.
The pressure group while accusing Governor Uduaghan of inflating the ongoing Asaba Airport projects which was originally awarded at N7 billion naira, but has been inflated to whooping huge sum of Billions of naira and still not completed, lamenting that a similar Airport Project was built and completed in Akwa Ibom state at the cost of N3billion.
According to the group "All ongoing projects in the state have been abandoned, and have become a veritable means of looting public funds into private accounts," they alleged.
The ex-lawmakers who vowed to wrestle power from Uduaghan come 2011, accused Uduaghan of further looting in the ongoing Event Centre tent in Asaba, the state capital constructed at the cost of a 'whooping N3.5billion.'alleging that even the ongoing tent was awarded without a Bill of Quantity (BOQ), and the Delta State government is currently building the parking space of the Event Centre alone at an additional cost of N450million.
The ex-lawmakers also frowned at the renovation of the Warri Stadium with N4billion, which was awarded to his (Uduaghan) brother-in-law, and yet the stadium could not meet the required standard, a development that led FIFA to reject the stadium and subsequently deprive Warri of hosting last year's Junior World Cup. The former law makers also noted that the Independent Power Plant (IPP) Oghara for which the state government has not received a license from regulatory agency has gulped over N14 billion of the projected cost of N27 billion but yet there is no single signboard of the project even as its proposed site. MMC which further accused the governor of several corrupt practices said is embarking on a campaign to the nooks and crannies of the state to enlighten the society of the dangers to society of the unbridled corruption in government quarters, on the sanctity of the ballot paper and the need to ostracize persons with wealth acquire from unknown or unproven sources. Silence they say means consent, till date as I write this piece, governor Uduaghan has not deemed it fit to come out bold before the public and explain to Deltans how far he his sincerely gone with this billions of naira that he is been accused of squandering. Believe you me, if after almost four years in office, governor Emmanuel Uduaghan could not boast of any completed tangible people oriented projects, then his second tenure might be a mirage mostly when he knows he will not be coming out to contest for the office again. Deltans how has the dualization of the government House road affected your lives when our major roads such as DLA road and many others in the state capital, Asaba, Agbor and other parts of the state are crying and begging for serious attention. Flood, triggered by heavy rainfall has continued to submerge roads and thousands of houses and render several persons homeless in Asaba, Delta state capital as nothing is been done to check the hit across the metropolis. This is after N95 million was approved and released, Friday, January 4, last year, 2008 for rehabilitation of 24 roads within Asaba metropolis, by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and as present several major streets within it had become danger zones for residents, for lack of drainages, owing to the shoddy work said to have been done. In a nutshell, Governor Uduaghan must among other questions answer the following queries. (a) Where has he kept all the budgets and his often supplementary budgets money? It is on record that his government has frequently sent supplementary budgets to the state House of Assembly when even the need did not arise, (b) Where are the projects for which he claims he has expended the tax payers money? As I talk Delta State has no single functional factory. While Governor Uduaghan paints himself holy on the pages of newspapers that he is handling huge projects in Delta State which has brought accolades to him from unsuspecting observers of Delta politics. The Nigerian political scene is inundated with dangerous leaders, men and women who come to power with no vision, sense of purpose or commitment to serve, but for personal gains: to pander to their insatiable greed. To them power offers the opportunity to luxuriate in fame, pomp and other trappings of power, enrich self, cronies and relatives, and entrench the privileges of the political class. Neither subject to the law nor beholden to the people, they perverted democratic power, ordinarily, a selfless servant of the people, to a ruthless enemy of the people.
Let it be made clear to every politician including His Excellency, Dr. Uduaghan seeking for election or re-election that what will help them get into office come 2011 is their antecedent-record of previous performance, how you have through honest services, projects and programmes affected your people in the past. Do you have the capacity, competence and character to serve the people in the fear of God? It would also be recalled that on the 4 th , December 2008, the Sun publications Ltd, publishers of SUN newspapers held its first ever economic summit in the south East at the Imo Concorde Hotel Owerri. One of the speakers and Chief host at the occasion is Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo state where he spoke on leadership. Governor Ohakim ended his speech by suggesting that corrupt leaders should be stoned. Yours sincerely supports Governor Ohakim's suggestion 100%. But come to think of it could it really be that why development has eluded Delta state in the past three years plus is as a result of bad and corrupt leadership? The question now is what are the characteristics of corrupt leaders? What are the indices or benchmark which the society will use to measure corrupt leaders? The following point of references listed below will help us identify a corrupt leader. (1) A leader who is a pathological liar and who tells lies to his people is corrupt.
(2) A leader who dips his fingers and tampers with local government funds is corrupt.
(3) A leader who travels abroad all the time in the guise of looking for 'foreign investor' only to end up buying properties in major cities of the world is very corrupt
(4) A leader who signs 'memorandum of understanding' with a non existent foreign company for the establishment of a refinery in his constituency and state is corrupt.
(5) A leader who promotes anti-people's policies and use state funds meant to alleviate the suffering of the people to bribe his or her way to achieve his selfish and devilish aims is very very very corrupt.
(6) A leader who finds pleasure in using funds meant for the development of his people to buy mansions and duplexes for his girlfriend and mistresses is corrupt.
(7) A leader who invites other leaders to come and commission projects executed by his predecessor while claiming that he built them is very corrupt.
(8) A leader who allows people of questionable characters to head government Agencies and Ministries is very corrupt.
(9) A leadership that promotes a bill for the renaming of an institution after a man who was removed from office for certificate forgery is a very corrupt leader.
(10)A leadership that promotes anti-people policy or the other just to make sure that the poor masses remain suppressed is corrupt.
(11) A leadership that dissolves market union executives and imposes his relative as leaders of all the market union in his 'constituency' is very corrupt.
(12) A leader who awards road contract at five times the actual cost and yet the roads are never completed is very corrupt.
(13) A leader who rules his constituency only on the pages of newspapers with propaganda when in actual fact there is really nothing on ground is very corrupt.
(14) A leader who recently immortalized a man who conducted the worst election in Nigeria (as have proved by the upturning and mollification of result) with the renaming of a popular road in his constituency after him is very corrupt.
(15) A leader whose rate of acquisition of personal properties is inversely proportional to the rate of development in his constituency or state is very corrupt. (16) A leader who awards contracts only roughly to companies he has interest in is very corrupt.
(17) A leader who shares his constituency's or state monthly allocation meant for development with the rich in the society and members of the legislature is absolutely corrupt. The above points of references are just preambles of a corrupt leader. Proverbs 13 v 11 says 'Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, but he that gathered by labour shall increase.' Proverbs 16 v 25 also says 'There is a way that seemed right unto man, but the end thereof is the ways of death.' The Bible also made us to understand that 'VANITY upon Vanity all is Vanity. For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Deltans my advice for you all is be wise about who you give your precious vote come 2011 because I know you won't be deceived again with their ill-gotten and state funds for the next four years after been deceived with failed promises in the past four years.
Prince Amour Udemude is the Asaba Correspondent, Niger Delta STANDARD Newspapers, Delta state.