If information coming from Ibadan is anything to go by, then Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa may have expended over N700 million tax payers money to bankroll this year’s University of Ibadan, (UI) Award/Alumni Lecture packaged by the institution’s Alumni Association at the University of Ibadan Trenchard Hall, in the capital city Oyo state.
The event which was lavishly celebrated by governor Okowa and his contingents from Delta, HardReporters correspondents learnt witnessed the governor been conferred with a procured award tagged “The Alumnus of the Year Award” to admiration of Delta state contingents followed by his lecture titled “Good Governance for Wealth Creation and Sustainable Development: Experience and Lessons.”
A board chairman who witnessed the elaborate event confided in our correspondent that the event which has a political undertone tinting towards Okowa’s second tenure, may have cost the state “Not less than a billion naira with the reckless way and manner money was spent, and booking of five star hotels for two days for guests. Without fear or favour, the governor lavished money, he was like a father Christmas. He also used the occasion to showcase his achievements in the past two years through the institution’s voluminous copies of brochure used at the event singlehandedly printed in glossy with beautiful colours by our state.”
HardReporters correspondents who monitored the luxury event backed up with independent investigations, observed that the entire government house, house of Assembly members, led by its speaker, Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori, board chairmen and members, SSAs, SAs, PAs, PDP exco, leaders, elders, women, youths led by the chairman, Mr. Kingsley Esiso, contractors to Delta state government, among others relocated to Ibadan, the Oyo state capital for two days at the expense of the state.
An Aide to one of the commissioner who pleaded for anonymity, told our correspondent that “The event was ground breaking if I may use that word. Hotel accommodations for quests for the two days were fully booked in five star hotels, state officials and some important dignitaries were lodged at the Best Western Hotel in Ibadan. I don’t want to exaggerate, but I know by and large the state must have spent over N700 million plus and at the end of the day persons also got not less than N100, 000, to N200, 000 cash as honorarium.” the aide said.
Investigation however revealed that governor Okowa was bought into the luxury event after someone from the institution sold the idea to him for possible showcasing of his projects and the same time launch his second term bid using the instrumentality of the state government.
“The event was sold to the governor by someone who also graduated from the college and in a speed of light Okowa swiftly bought into it as an avenue to display his achievements in the past two years. The event paraded who is who in the Okowa administration, PDP, and Delta state politics especially those benefitting in one way or the other.” a top government functionary who attended the event said.
Meanwhile, the Okowa’s extravagant bankrolling of the UI award and lecture has sparked off controversies among indigenes of the states within and outside the state with civil servants condemning the governor’s display of wealth at the expense of the state.
Cross section of civil servants interviewed in Delta state lamented what they called “Wastage”, saying Okowa who cannot boast of a single star project since inception, does not deserve a second tenure come 2019.
It would be recalled that Delta state is among mentioned states been investigated recently by the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission, (EFCC) over alleged misappropriation of the first and second tranches of the Paris Club Refund released by the federal government to states and till date governor Okowa has not been able to explain to Deltans how the first and second tranches of the Paris Club refund was expended.