DELTA State Governor Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has blown holes in the growing protest by stakeholders in the Niger Delta for the federal government to pay 13 percent of the diversion fund directly to oil communities, describing the agitation as illogical. Governor Okowa, interacting with journalists in Asaba, the state capital, warned activists that their current tactic would create disaffection, which antagonists in the region were seeking to divert attention from the restructuring issue.
He noted: “I think it is important that we put our energy in the right direction because people have misconceptions about what to do. As of today, I am not a lawyer, but I think the constitution is very direct about how referral funds should be handled and who should handle them. “” What we are doing today is pushing the process on the Bill. of the Oil Industry, GDP, where the oil communities themselves will have some leverage and will be provided for in the constitution and the law, allowing them to have a percentage for the various communities.
“This will help to strengthen the relationship between the communities and the oil companies because such provisions are foreseen and that is the process that we must promote. “But if every community stands up and says it wants to control its resources, I am sure Nigeria will eventually become a banana republic and there will be no control, no country, no state. “If you are talking about the state of Delta, for example, I think that 20 or 21 local government areas are oil producers, if each community begins to control their own, I am sure that the crises and the battles that will arise will be outside our control.
“Although the people have their views and have the right to have them, it is up to us to follow the constitution and the laws of the country at this time. I think that having been able to vote for governors and legislators, we should allow them to manage these resources and if they are not managing the resources as we want, you have the right to vote for the person in the next four years, “he said. . Okowa, also chair of the South-South Governors Forum, said:
“It is not that I want to manage 13 percent, they should say that they want to manage 100 percent. If you are providing 100 percent and only 13 percent make it to the state, what about the 87 percent that is shared among other states in the country? “You did not press for 87 percent, but it is the 13 percent that comes to the state that you want to manage, it doesn’t make sense. If you really want to manage your resources, you have to be clear on what you want, but unfortunately, people just want to be heard and noticed and continue to comment in any way they want. And by the time the governors are speaking on their own, a group of communities is being made to speak and they have a different point of view.
When this division is created between people, what happens then? They will say that we are singing in different tones, that you do not have a collective voice on the true management of resources, which is the control of resources that we are talking about. “They divert their attention from the issues of an adequate restructuring of the country as we are going to talk about it. “So there is a lot of politics going on, but I think the South-South governors are doing quite well and why do I say it? We are in this country and we see what is happening in many other states. I have visited most of the South-South states and I can see that the South-South governors are doing very well amidst the challenges we have to handle. “A lot of money is spent to keep the peace in the Niger Delta, although we have military and others, people cannot say that they ignore it because it is a well known fact,” said the governor. Covid-19 hindered our plan for BRACED Commission Governor Okowa, however there was room for a fair review, adding: “We tried to start the BRACED Commission, unfortunately COVID-19 slowed us down, but now that we are starting to understand things better, we have already appointed a CEO. “And I believe that we will have a way to relate more to ourselves, to examine and share governance values and ideas and speak with one voice.
FG affirms undermining In his words: “There is no doubt that many times we have been defrauded by the Federal Government because we are not in the center of the questions about how much we obtain and what comes to us. But, to the extent possible, we hope we can get the best we can under the current circumstances. “As of today, we are owed a lot of money for the referral, we are working hard to see that we get it and we pray that the government at the federal level will be
magnanimous to pay us all the arrears they owe us. “
Speaking about the control of the gold deposits in the state of Zamfara by the government of the state of Zamfara, “You will remember that the south-south governors used to talk about the need for restructuring and control of resources, and obviously they are because we believe that there is a need to restructure, not only the powers at the federal level to the state and local government, but also the return of resources.
“But as of today, there are acts in the National Assembly that guide the issue of oil production that is dealt with in the constitution and with solid minerals, those are not covered in these acts and obviously, this is already a delicate point. in our nation’s system of government, ”We cannot enforce the laws in our nation to the point that it becomes discriminatory because if people are allowed to process their solid minerals, they should also be allowed to do the same with their oil. So we are going to be very tough and try to make our voice as strong as possible… I think that at some point, these discriminatory trends will have to be reviewed in this nation at some point, ”he added. Boost to investment Continuing, the governor stated: “We are doing everything possible to see how we can attract investment; We have a Delta State Investment Agency and other agencies working to see how we can attract investment.
“We have been able to attract a few, but the situation in the world is making it very difficult for investors to enter. We are also trying to make sure we create an enabling environment; We also approved a law on the prohibition of the development tax that has been a great challenge for the state and we have just created a coordinating committee that will be able to address this issue. “We have the Kwale Industrial Park, but COVID-19 has really slowed us down, and the way it’s going, it will take longer for people to come and invest outside of their countries. “We also partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other companies in the agricultural development sector, which is also an area that can lift a lot of our people, especially in areas of cassava and oil palm development. “I think all of this is already paying off because we are in the process of having a cassava site manufacturing company that will generate a lot of jobs and we hope to keep the faith in this. Yellow Fever Outbreak The Governor, speaking about the recent yellow fever outbreak in part of the state, stated:
“Regarding the number of yellow fever cases last week, I am aware that 22 have died, but we hope that now that vaccination has begun we will hope that the situation will normalize. “It takes about 10 days for people to get their immunity and hope that the death rates will be remarkable and eventually disappear.” “We are definitely going to expand vaccination in other parts of the state. We have a lot of vaccination units in the state and I was told that in the Ika North East local government area alone, we have about 80 teams and I think those kits will be distributed to other local governments very soon. Former governor pensions Responding to a question about whether he planned to review the pensions of former governors in the face of reconsideration of them by his counterpart from Lagos and Kwara states, he said: “Regarding the payment of pensions for former state governors, I do I don’t think I want to comment on that because there is an existing law in the state of Delta about it. I think there are better things for me to do research than to start looking back at the laws that existed. “” He (the governor of Lagos) has the right to make a decision that he wants to make since he has his reasons for doing so and I cannot criticize him. , but there are many more important things to do now it is time for me to start looking at how to reverse one law or another because that is not in my thought process at the moment.
On the job opportunity created for people by Cross River State Governor Okowa stated: “The Governor has the right to do such jobs. I don’t know how many people you have on your staff roster today, but I know that as of today, we are not deliberately trying to downsize our roster, we believe the Delta state was overstaffed. “When we arrived, we had a little more than 60,000 employees by the state government, no other state in the country had that, since they had between 15,000 and more than 20,000 on their personnel list, but on Saturday I think that number has dropped to 50,000. , a little bit below that and it’s still a high number for a state government and that’s still a problem. “” But when vacancies occur, we employ people like we did when we employed some science teachers. I also think in the Over the course of 2021 we are going to hire more teachers, but mainly science teachers as well. “We will also be hiring teachers for new technical schools and that will be early next year because we expect the schools to start, in September 2021, to get them involved early enough. and put them through a bit of training and retraining before they take off in September. So we will employ as needed and not based on pressure, “he said.