By Felix Onajite, Abuja
Despite the huge monthly allocation it receives from the federal government of Nigeria besides other sources of revenues, Delta State has not witnessed any meaningful development in the last five years under the watch of the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, THE WITNESS reports.
This is because the state government may have been entangled in horrid abuses of the state’s finances.
In 2019, the state emerged the biggest recipient of federal allocation with a total sum of N214.4 billion.
Sequel to series of investigations carried out by THE WITNESS on the Delta State government house from 2015 till date, the permanent secretary, Directorate of Government House & Protocols, Mr. Eddy Ogidi-Gbegbaje and Governor Okowa will soon be regular visitors to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (EFCC) over inflated cost of projects in the state as a 27-page petition has been sent to the anti-graft agencies.
Recall THE WITNESS reported how Governor Okowa allocated a whopping N400 million to his daughter’s office in the 2020 budget. This was reviewed downward to N300 million after THE WITNESS‘ expose. This newspaper has also reported how another whopping sum of N43,457,922.83 was expended to repaint the VVIP guest house situated in the state Government House, Asaba and also, the purchase of golden spoons, towels and assorted coffee for 30 godfathers in the state gulped the sum of N10,750,000. All these were authored and allegedly executed by the permanent secretary with speedy approvals by the governor.
In another development, an inflated sum of N32, 912, 548.88 has been expended on the provision of furniture and equipment for the office of Governor Okowa’s wife, Dame Edith who on Wednesday tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) alongside her husband and daughter.
A market research for the items listed in the memo, some of which included executive sofa, conference table and chairs, amongst others should not cost more than N6 million.
This lavishness comes even as Deltans continue to languish in pains due to the high rates of poverty, unemployment and poor infrastructural development in the ‘big heart state’.
Even roads claimed to have been constructed by the government does not stand the test of time.
Efforts by our reporter to reach the permanent secretary for his reactions to the report proved futile as calls and text message placed across to his mobile phones were not responded to as at press time.