Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on Thursday, gave reasons for joining the governorship race in Delta State for the 2023 general elections.
Omo-Agege, who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), disclosed that he was in race to “set Delta in the proper process for development” and economic prosperity.
He spoke at the palace of the traditional ruler of Kabowei Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Shadrack Erebulu, Aduo lll, at Patani Town when the APC ward-to-ward campaign train visited monarchs in Patani Local Government Area of the state.
The Delta Central lawmaker posited that if elected as the next governor of the state, his administration will change the trajectory of underdevelopment and infrastructural decay which the PDP-led government of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has inflicted on Deltans.
Omo-Agege noted that Delta under the administration of Governor Okowa has received so much but have little to nothing to show for the huge resources that had accrued to the state in the last seven and half years.
He said the Okowa-led government has received over one trillion naira and had borrowed billions of naira since he assumed office but the state had yet see the projects that funds were used for.
He particularly lamented the non-completion of the Asabase-Abari Road and Uduophori/Agoloma road projects which connects several communities in Patani and Isoko South LGAs of the state.
He assured that when elected, his administration will quickly ensure the completion of both road projects as well as open the area to economic and infrastructural development.
According to him, “For the past seven and half years, because of who we are in this committee of states in this country, and we are one of the richest states. First in Niger-Delta, and of course in Nigeria. As the consequence of that, we have so much resources that come to this state. By our last reckoning, we have received over N3.5 trillion that has come to Delta State. In addition to numerous loans that has been taken by the current government which is close to about N400 billion which when summed up will amount to N3.9 trillion.
” In addition to that,we also have grants and budget by president Muhammadu Buhari and support monies given to states from the shortfalls of the 13% Oil Derivation funds which Delta is inclusive of. By the time you sum it up all, you are hitting close to N4.5 trillion.
“The major question becomes take a look round the state and round Patani, because I don’t want to take you on a voyage of excursion. Look round Patani local government area because you are not a politician, so I don’t expect a response but your subjects here can take a look round and I can’t see any trace of what is about N4 trillion that has come to this state.
“Your majesties, our people are suffering in the midst of plenty. I don’t want to run down states, but there are certain states which their monthly allocations sometimes isn’t up to Ughelli North or Uwvie local government areas of Delta state, but they are still doing well. But you come here and you don’t see anything.
“Now people are asking questions, why is that the case? We don’t want to be …. we are not pursuing anybody, but we are only saying that there as not been any proper judicious and equitable allocation of the resources that has come to this state that has been ongoing for about 8 years.
“Our opponents do not see anything wrong with that, rather they want to continue on the same path. That is why they have come up with the M.O.R.E Agenda. The M.O.R.E Agenda as we understand it is More Loans, More Deprivations. Here in Patani local government area, almost all of the projects supposedly from the state government has not been approved. By the time I speak with your subjects, I will enumerate all of them that are in a state of abandonment. They want to continue with more of that.
“They’ve had our fathers, our mothers, our brothers and sisters who have given the best parts of their years in service of this state and they have retired. All that they expect is their entitlement of pension funds having given the best part of their years and having made contributions, therefore it’s not a grant neither is it a gift. They made contributions to the government with the expectations that upon retirement they will be entitled to their gratuities and pensions as when due.
“But today, they are not even getting that. Everyday you see them. Some which have retired over six, seven and eight years crying. Some of them have died. Some they are being maltreated by the current government. They are even being told that we don’t know who you are with discriminatory remarks of segmentation that they are not state government workers rather some are local government workers. These are Deltans.
“When Okowa came on board, school fees in DELSU was N27,000 per session, but today he increased it to almost N400,000. It this same people, this same parents that are not getting any increment in their salaries are the people whose children are attending the institution. Besides even the approved minimum wage is not being implemented. But these are the same people (current state and local government workers and retirees) who are now expected to pay additional tuition fees. Something is wrong somewhere.
“That is why I have decided to take this challenge and get rid of the Okowa-led administration and set Delta State in a proper course of development.
“And for us to achieve this, we’ve decided and having consulted with the best brains we could put together to come up with an agenda and a manifesto which we have christened the E.D.G.E Agenda.
“And in that E.D.G.E Agenda, we are looking at what heals our people, and what heals the people of this kingdom. For the most part they’ve gone to school, graduated over six, seven and eight years and haven’t gotten jobs. So we are determined to create an enabling environment where companies that were here before but for one or two reasons or the other, they’ve decided to relocate. But we are on the course to attract them back to the state so that they can create employment and empowerment opportunities for our people.
“Now how do we do that? First we must address the security concerns because most of the companies that are no more left because of the issues of insecurity. So we’ve also decided as part of that manifesto to push for enduring peace and security for the state.
“How do we intend to do that? First we will invest in our security architecture. There are a lot of states that have done that also. It’s expensive, but when you do a cost benefit analysis of what you are investing and what you are getting in return, it’s worth it. About four to five states in the country have invested in purchasing security devices. Devices that you could use to track people that are into kidnapping, banditry and killer herdsmen.
“These are devices that could be used to track and arrest all of them. Once that is put in place then we can have the moral right and locus to go back to those companies that have left and inform them that we’ve addressed the issue that made them left. Then they can come back with their people, have their offices set up here and engage their people, then they can start paying Personal Income Taxes which has positive implications to our state which means our state Internally Generated Revenue (I.G.R) will also increase and stimulate other things by way of infrastructural development which is another component of our E.D.G.E Agenda”, Omo-Agege said.
Responding on behalf of Patani traditional rulers, Pere of Kabowei Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Shadrack Erebulu, Aduo lll, commended Omo-Agege for “his good intentions” for Patani and the state.
Aduo lll charged politicians to remain peaceful during and after the period of campaigns and the elections to ensure that the right candidate were elected in 2023 elections.