Delta state Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mofe Pirah, has said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa did two and half years plus as sitting governor struggling to pay debts and clearing all mess inherited from his predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Pirah spoke in reaction to allegations by the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, who accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of neglecting the Itsekiri ethnic nation in his administration’s development agenda for Delta state.
The Ologbotsere popularly known as Ayiri according to Vanguard report, had also labeled Itsekiris in Okowa’s administration as being compromised by “stomach infrastructure”.
But reacting to the allegations, Pirah tongue lashed Ayiri saying he was not credible to speak for the Itsekiri nation on what Okowa has done or not done.
He however shot himself on the foot when he tried to discredit the immediate past administration of Uduaghan in which he also served, in a bid to defend Okowa’s failure to meet the expectations of the Itsekiri’s people.
Pirah said: “Ayiri is blackmailing Okowa.You know he is a politician. Blackmailing is a weapon to open the wallet and handbags of the rich, so that the blackmailer can collect.
“Like I always tell people, you need credible people to speak on behalf of ethnic nationalities on what government policies are, how it affects their people. You need credible voices, so that when people hear what is said about their ethnic group, they will accord value.
“We don’t need voices that are biased to do that. If people say Chief Ayiri Emami is the spokesman for Itsekiri now, I am not aware. Having said that, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s government in which I serve has not neglected or sidelined Itsekiri people on projects in their environment.
“You just told me that he is the Ologbotsere. I am not aware that he is one. I wasn’t in any ceremony where he was made Ologbotsere. I am not saying that an Ologbotsere is not credible, but the individual par se makes the man.
“What school of thought is he coming from? When did he become an APC stalwart? Was he an hatchet man in the previous administration? Was the previous administration doing projects? Can he show us the projects that he drove for eight years in that government to his Itsekiri enclave? Let’s be factual on sensitive issues having to do with developmental projects. That’s why I said we need credible voices.
On Okowa’s scorecard for Itsekiri nation so far, Pirah said, “I was in the previous government of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. Six month to the end of that administration, there was no fund. Allocations went down making it impossible to execute projects. Paying salaries became an issue. And Okowa inherited that. Okowa has just managed surviving September last year. So the incumbent governor did two and half years plus suffering in paying debts and clearing all these mess inherited.
“Not long after Okowa came in there was the demise of our king, Ogiame Atuwatse II. And Okowa ran with his two feet to meet the succeeded Olu of Warri, went to Big Warri (Ode Itsekiri) and did over 20 internal roads so that Itsekiri can have a befitting ancestral home for crowning of their new king. 20 roads. The state is still paying for that. That’s on record, let them verify.
“Again if you say Okowa has done nothing for Itsekiri, in Ogidigben where I come from, Okowa is doing a 2.5km internal road. It is ongoing. Other projects ongoing in Iwere land include, reconstruction of Korobe Road, Koko, Ubeji Access Road, Rehabilitation of NPA Bypass among others. There is rehabilitation of Esisi Road, and adjoining Swamp Road. Construction of Trans Warri – Ode Itsekiri Bridges and Access Roads. There are lots of project in all three Warri council areas.
“I went to the Governor personally to request a road from Deghele, Bateren to Orere in Warri South West local government area. It is in the budget. I went again to say in Aruton at the mouth of Ugborodo, there is need for reclamation, shore protection and sand filling so that the people can have a new settlement. I have not seen copy of the new budget, I will look at it to see whether that one is there as well.
“So, Governor Okowa, for Itsekiris of Warri, has made remarkable impact. The projects in Big Warri have not been abandoned. Work is ongoing. The state allocation is beefing up. This dry season, there will be a lot of work done in this environment. So we shouldn’t be talking about why are we not getting what is due us”(BIGPEN)
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