EDITORIAL: On Okowa’s Procured Unmerited Independent Award And His Lackluster Government

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Among the unending list of nominees for the Independent Newspapers Awards which held at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, Nigeria, last Sunday, was the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa who bagged Man of the Year Award for 2017.

The criteria for nomination apparently haphazardly defined by the organisers, was laced, obviously too, with pecuniary interest, which, of course forms the defining standard of many Newspapers in Nigeria that had organised such awards in the past even till date.

The nomination list featured governors, royalties, business stalwarts, and politicians who include, Governors Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Samuel Ortom of Benue, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi former Kaduna state governor and immediate past caretaker committee chairman of PDP amongst others on different award categories.

That governor Okowa was there in person to receive the unmerited and procured award by every standard is immaterial, especially, since over N40 million of Delta state tax payers money was said to have been squandered on the un-profitable venture for image laundering, in view of the 2019 general elections.

What cannot escape quizzical attention, is the fact that the Delta state government house, the government elites and political class ranging from the members of the State Executive Council, to members of the State House of Assembly, political appointees relocated to Lagos for the jamboree at the expense of the state treasury.

According to our impeccable sources, governor Okowa earned the Independent Newspaper award as a result of using the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) funds to revive the newspaper owned by ex-convicted former governor of Delta state James Ibori, who had time without number poured encomiums on governor Okowa as well as several endorsements for Okowa’s second tenure.

It was in the public domain that the Independent Newspapers Limited, was off the newsstand for several months following lack of funding but immediately governor Okowa pumped in several hundreds of millions of naira from the coffers of DESOPADEC, the several months moribund newspaper graced the newsstands again on February 22, 2016.

As at today, DESOPADEC, has no budget to operate with and its as good as been moribund because of lack of funding by the Okowa led government. Today in Delta state, the governor Okowa’s campaign slogan “PROSPERITY FOR ALL DELTANS” has metamorphosed into “POVERTY FOR ALL DELTANS” because for him, the state is his private estate business where only his family members and cronies will benefit from why every other Deltan go cap in hand to beg from him for survival.

HardReporters gathered that, again, over N80 million was squeezed from the state government coffers and squandered on flight tickets, on luxury at choice hotels, on women of easy virtue, and to attain praises from intoxicated merry men, at a time when the Okowa led government has been unable to clear the backlog of salaries to local government workers, unable to effect promotion increase in salaries of state civil servants, unable to offset the government’s indebtedness to contractors running into several billions of naira, with most recent accumulated debt profile of over N200 billion.

To us, the Independent newspapers award is devoid of integrity since the organisers bequeathed such prestigious award on a corrupt, failed, nepotistic, clannish, inhuman, wicked and propagandist government of Ifeanyi Okowa.

We dare to reiterate that the award is grossly inappropriate for a man who till date could not give requisite account of how the tranches of Paris Club funds, the several hundreds of billions of naira accrued to the state since inception were spent but could invest over two billion naira in Edo state last governorship election as well as financing several meetings and conventions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the behest of Delta State workers and every Deltans by extension.

We condemn in its entirety, this crass display of applauded villainy, and for cloaking a man whom, even posterity has found wanting of iniquity.

HardReporters by way of advice, urge the Independent Newspapers Award organisers to save their face by withdrawing the award and to apologize to Deltans. Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State as well as the most revered Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi – apostles of integrity – should detract their selves from such gathering of jackals whose only stock in trade remains integrated looting.

However, if the organisers fail to go the way of Penance’s sacrament, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa should register for his freshman’s in the Faculty of Integrity and should reject the award as well as apologize to Deltans with a caveat to turn a new leaf henceforth.

A WORD THEY SAY IS ENOUGH FOR THE WISE!

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