From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Deputy Senate President and the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta State Ovie Omo-Agege on Tuesday accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of taking loans to the tune of N400 billion since 2015.
Besides, he said the administration has received N250 billion from the Federal Government as the state’s share of the shortfall of derivation funds.
He had on previous occasions, alleged that since 2015, Okowa has received N2.7 trillion as a monthly allocation with no visible development on the ground to show for the humongous sum.
Omo-Agege said Okowa who is the vice presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has plunged the state into a huge debt that would have impacts on unborn children.
The Deputy Senate President made the fresh allegation of a N400 billion loan at a campaign rally in Onicha-Ugbo in Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state, as the APC flagged off its ward-to-ward campaigns for 2023.
However, the state Commissioner for Finance, Fidelis Tilije had pegged the total debt profile of the state at N272 billion.
Tilije also said the money being expected from the FG as shortfall of derivation was N240 billion and not N250 billion, adding that N14.7 billion of the money has so far been received in three quarterly instalments, even as he added that the state also accessed N30 billion from the commercial market through bridging finance application.
Regardless, Omo-Agege insisted that the Okowa administration allegedly diverted the funds, pointing out that the governor was bent on imposing the governorship candidate of the PDP, Sheriff Oborevwori, to cover up his tracks.
“In the past seven and half years, Okowa has borrowed over N400 billion in addition to the over N2.7 trillion monthly allocation and N250 billion shortfall of derivation. But there is nothing to show for it, the money was diverted to private pockets.
“Rather than answer our questions on accountability, he continues to take loans, he has made all of us in Delta debtors, even the unborn generation are debtors.
“What crime have we committed to deserve this treatment? As if that is not enough, he wants to impose his stooge that he can control with ease on Delta. We have therefore resolved to resist Okowa’s third-term bid. He has failed,” Omo-Agege said.
Omo-Agege said if elected, his administration would create jobs for the youths, create sustainable empowerment for women, build enduring infrastructure by engaging competent contractors, as well as invest in security to attract foreign investors among other plans as encapsulated in his EDGE agenda.
He described the 2023 election in Delta State as a “watershed. It is not about Omo-Agege, we need to change the narrative here in Delta.”
The Deputy Senate President called on the people to vote for all APC candidates from the House of Assembly to the presidency in the elections.
Earlier, the state chairman of APC, Omeni Sobotie, presented flags to the House of Assembly candidate for Aniocha North, Bazim Biose; House of Representatives candidate for Aniocha/Oshimili, Tony Nwaka; and the senatorial candidate for Delta north, Peter Nwaoboshi who was represented by Moses Kamanya.
On his party, a leader of APC in the area and member on the board of NIMASA, Victor Ochei, called on his kinsmen to embrace the change mantra of the party and vote out PDP.
Director General of the APC campaign council, Godsday Orubebe, had, while presenting Omo-Agege, said Okowa, in 2015 promised prosperity for all Deltans but ended up being clannish in his approach to governance.
The campaign later moved to Issele-Uku, the council headquarter with three wards. Four wards attended the rally at Onicha-Ugbo.