From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of plans to create a crisis by ordering a staff audit of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
DESOPADEC is an interventionist agency created by law to fast track the development of oil-producing areas. The commission, which was created in 2007, is funded from the 13% federal derivation.
The APC, the main opposition party in Delta State, has alleged that the mandate areas of the Commission have been neglected by the Okowa administration, claiming that the aim of staff audit was to foster what the party describes as the governor’s ‘nepotistic and clannish interests.’
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the APC State Caretaker Committee, Sylvester Imonina said the move was a dangerous adventure capable of causing a crisis that could cripple the Commission.
Imonina claimed that the audit was to determine the number of persons employed from each ethnic group within the mandate area of the Commission.
‘The sole reason is to enable him use his executive powers to make sure that his nepotistic and clannish interest is forced down the throat of the management of the Commission,’ the statement read.
‘This unholy adventure he has sworn to achieve, not taking into consideration the quantity of oil produced by each ethnic groups in the state,’ Imonina stated.
But in a swift reaction, the management of DESOPADEC described the APC’s statement as turning facts on their head, insisting that Governor Okowa does not interfere with the running of the Commission.
In a statement by Chinenye Ezonfade (Mrs), Head, Media & Public Affairs, the audit is an annual statutory function of the State Auditor-General, adding that the report is submitted to the Delta State House of Assembly.
She said DESOPADEC, being an agency of government, cannot be above the law, and that the audit was actually targeted at management and not the staff since none was being screened.
‘The audit is to ensure that management is playing strictly by the rules, including a forensic look at our financial books and payroll.
‘Therefore, a normal statutory audit that every responsible corporate body should undergo at intervals, should not be cause for infantile innuendos,’ Ezonfade state.