By Jackson Ekwugum
Over the weekend, the good people of Delta State and, indeed, many Nigerians were assaulted with the vile propaganda that is the stock-in-trade of the All Progressives Congress. Addressing a press conference, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the APC governorship candidate for Delta State launched a tirade against the Governor of Delta State and PDP Vice-Presidential Candidate, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as well as Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the PDP governorship candidate. The entire statement and his comments during the APC Presidential rally in Warri were riddled with fallacies, distortions, outright lies, unsubstantiated claims, and deliberate misinformation. They were served on a platter of malice with an unmistakable diabolical intent to spread disaffection and foment disunity among the good people of Delta State.
The APC Presidential rally in Warri was nothing but a failed attempt to divert attention from their monumental failure at the centre. The APC rode into power in 2015 promising to fight insecurity, corruption, and improve the economy. Nigerians, including APC members, know that on all three counts, the APC-led Federal Government has been an unmitigated disaster. Nigeria has never been more insecure than it is today. Corruption has grown wings under the APC, and the economy has hit rock bottom. Today, the naira is exchanging for N800 to a dollar as against their promise to make one naira equal to a dollar. Our external debt now stands at a staggering $40 billion as at the second quarter of this year, no thanks to the rubber stamp Senate where Omo-Agege is Deputy President.
Instead of apologizing to Nigerians for the pain and suffering they have been subjected to under their misrule, Omo-Agege and his band of political opportunists are busy reeling out phantom figures in a futile bid to confuse and deceive them. The length and breadth of the country are littered with failing and failed federal roads, including Agbor-Abraka-Eku Road and Warri-Sapele-Benin road, which makes you wonder what the loans were used for. It is shameful that Omo-Agege as Deputy Senate President could not prevail on the federal government to rehabilitate these roads that have remained a nightmare to motorists. The same scenario applies to the sea ports, which is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government. After almost years, is it now that the APC realised that the Warri Sea Port is not functional?
Omo-Agege and his co-travellers continue to deviously push the false narrative of financial profligacy in Delta State. The truth of the matter is that we have over N320bn in receivables including the N292bn refund by FAAC as part of illegal deductions before the payment of the 13% derivation. The Federal Government promised to pay in equal instalments of N13b over a period of five years. This compelled the government to request a drawdown of N150bn under receivable discounting which lingered until recently when 30bn was drawn. It is instructive to note that it was Governor Okowa who broke the news to Deltans and informed them that N25b has been channelled to ongoing projects while N5b was deployed to defray outstanding pension liabilities. Talk about openness and transparency!
The Okowa administration has judiciously utilized every money that it has received either from FAAC or IGR. Completed and ongoing road projects in the state number 883 covering a total length of 1, 932.14 kilometres while drainage channels have a cumulative length of 1,035.95 kilometres. Because Omo-Agege’s idea of politics and development begins and ends with his native Orogun, he does not know that it was Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who commissioned the flagship 20.28km Obotobo I – Obotobo II – Sokebolou–Yokri – Road in Burutu local government area. Riverine communities like Burutu, Oporoza, Okerenkoko, and Benekrukru have been given a facelift with road infrastructure of the most vital interest and consequence by the Okowa administration.
Six bridges have been completed while an additional 15, including the Koka Flyover and Interchange on Benin Asaba Expressway, are at various stages of construction. The ultra-modern Central Secretariat Complex, an architectural masterpiece that was, again, commissioned by Vice-president Osinbajo, and the Ogheye Floating Market are two other signature projects of the administration. Meanwhile, three new universities have been established while nine new model technical colleges are nearing completion. Then there is the Stephen Keshi Stadium, the Asaba Storm Water Drainage, and the ongoing Warri Storm Water drainage projects. In human capital development, the Okowa administration has trained and produced 14,075 youth entrepreneurs while the state has maintained its leadership position in universal health coverage with over 1.2m enrollees (20% of the population) in the health insurance scheme.
I am not at all surprised that Omo-Agege is not ready to run an issue-based campaign as has been canvassed. This is a desperate power monger whose name has gone down in history as a political bandit. He needs to be reminded that Nigerians have not forgotten his dubious role in the infamous mace saga, which remains the greatest assault on our democracy and legislative freedom. It would have been too much to expect a man whose name has become synonymous with political subterfuge and brigandage to suddenly embrace the fine art of constructive engagement and ideological debates to sell himself and woo the electorate. As the saying goes, you can only give what you have, and all that Omo-Agege has to offer is his mischief, uncouthness, brazen lies, wild conjectures, vile propaganda, and bolekaja mentality. Even his half-hearted attempt to present a manifesto was nothing more than a cheap copy and paste job.
It is ironic that Omo-Agege would dare to pillory the emergence of Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori as the PDP governorship candidate in Delta State. It would have been laughable were it not so pathetic. It is common knowledge that Oborevwori emerged through a free, transparent, and credible primary election that was broadcast live on national television where Oborevwori defeated twelve other contestants with 591 votes out of 821 total votes cast. Compare that to Omo-Agege who, in his usual crude and despotic manner, hijacked the electoral process in the APC, connived with powerful forces to prevent others from contesting, and crowned himself the winner of a kangaroo primary election. Again, the outcome of that exercise did not come as a surprise. Omo-Agege’s antecedents first as Executive Assistant, later Commissioner and SSG in the state exposed him as a selfish, self-centred, bigoted, and heartless individual who would stop at nothing, including using underhanded methods, to get his desire at the expense of others.
That Omo-Agege would continue to parade himself as the architect of the new Electoral Act despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary speaks volumes of his character as an inveterate liar, serial deceiver, and traitor. Nigerians remember very well how this rabble rouser stood on the floor of the Senate and spoke and voted against electronic transmission of results because, according to him, there was no sufficient network in Nigeria to make that possible. For him to now seek to claim credit for what Nigerians fought for is the height of political chicanery.
Similarly, Omo-Agege wants to posture as a champion of southern presidency. Yet, it is on record that he led Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s campaign to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. The truth of the matter is that such terms as equity, fairness, and justice, have no place in Omo-Agege’s dictionary. It is on record that he has been a staunch opponent of power shift in Delta State. Since 2007, he has contested the governorship, jumping from one party to another in the manner of a shameless political prostitute. Recall that in 2019 when some leaders of the APC sought to zone the governorship ticket to Delta North, he vehemently opposed it and the only aspirant who dared to contest almost lost his life. That is vintage Omo-Agege – vicious, cruel, and barbaric.
Deltans know better than to commit their fortunes and future into the hands of a notorious political bandit. And as for Senator Emilokan, clearly this is a man that is mentally and physically unfit to occupy the office he is aspiring to. There is really no need to respond to him because he is daily making himself a nuisance and laughing stock to Nigerians. Truly, I have compassion on him, and I hope that sooner than later, those close to him will come to his aid and rescue him from continually making himself a national embarrassment.
Ekwugum is Manager, Communications, Government House, Asaba