Of Hack Writers, Rabble-Rousers and Mischief Makers

We are not at all surprised by the vituperations of the Delta State APC in an advertorial on Friday, February 02, 2018, and signed by one Erefoluwa Keka. Typical of the APC, the advertorial was concocted with barefaced lies, spiced with vile propaganda, garnished with uncouth language and served on a platter of malice and hatred with unmistakable diabolical intent; to beguile and incite unsuspecting members of the public against the administration of our performing Governor, Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
Instead of responding frontally to the issues raised in an earlier published advertorial by Jesutega Onokpasa, a lawyer of erudite pedigree, the APC chose instead to chase shadows, accusing the Okowa administration of abandoning and destroying projects it inherited from the previous administration. It listed the Asaba Airport, Osubi Airport, Warri Industrial Business Park, and the Independent Power Project among such projects. First of all, it is strange that the APC in Delta State would be holding brief for the previous PDP administration. Or is it a case of the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau? Be that as it may, we shall now proceed to update the general public on the state of affairs regarding these projects.
For the Delta APC to accuse Governor Okowa of stalling the development of Asaba airport clearly shows that the party has no regard for facts, decorum, and common sense. It would have been laughable were it not so pathetic. The facts regarding the Asaba airport are all in the public domain so for the Delta APC to feign ignorance of them is callously disingenuous.
To recapitulate, the Asaba airport was downgraded by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on May 6, 2015 over “safety concerns.” The previous administration re-awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of Runway and Taxiway ((STB.10/T/791),  on May 21, 2015,  at a total contract sum of N5b with 50% of contract sum as advance payment and a completion period of three months. In its acceptance letter also dated May 21, 2015, the contractor, ULO Consultants, affirmed that “completion period is within three (3) from commencement of the project.” The contractor subsequently submitted a Performance Bond from Zenith Bank to the State Government in August 2015 and on the basis of this, 50% of the contract sum amounting to N2.5b was released as advance payment.
However, following the breach of the contract agreement and with only 24.5% completion rate in two years, ULO had no choice but to disengage and a new contract for the airport was in December 2017 awarded to construction giant, Setraco Nigeria Ltd. But for the ingenuity, tact and wisdom displayed by Governor Okowa in handling the former contractor, the Asaba Airport project would have become a matter of prolonged litigation. Deltans should be assured that the airport would become fully operational in the next four months given the commitment, speed and professionalism of the new contractor.  If the APC cares about the truth at all they should take a trip to the Asaba Airport today and see the pace of work going on there right now.
The APC claim that Governor Okowa “killed” the Warri Industrial Business Park is petty, puerile, malicious and slanderous. The truth of the matter is that the Warri Industrial Business Park has been stalemated by litigations arising from the previous administration’s acquisition of the land for the project.
To acquire the site, the then Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan revoked the certificate of occupancies of the under-listed parties;
i. Chevron Nigeria Limited,
ii. Remm Oil Services Limited,
iii. Jeph Kebbi International Ltd,
iv. Gramen Petroserve Nig. Ltd,
v. Seiya Transport Ltd,
vii. Hercules Maritime Ltd,
viii. Weafri Well Services,
ix. High Chief Government O. Ekpemupolo,
x. Mr. Bolaji Ishaka and
xi. Otien Family of Edjeba Town
The revocation was done for overriding public interest, which is for the purpose of setting up the Warri Industrial Business Park Project via Gazette No. 15 volume 19 dated April 9, 2009. However, aggrieved with the way and manner the revocation was done, some of those affected instituted actions in court against the State Government. There are about six of such matters in Court and listed hereunder are some of the claims.
1. Mr. Bolaji Isiaka
(a)     A declaration that the purported revocation by the Defendants of the Claimant’s Right of Occupancy over his land measuring approximately 2.062 hectares at Chevron/Texaco Clinic Road, near Edjeba Juju Shrine is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
(b) An order setting aside the purported revocation of the Claimant’s Right of Occupancy over his said land.
(c) In the alternative, the sum of N 200,000,000.00 being special and general damages.
2. Remm Oil Service ltd
(a) An order declaring that as prescribed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Land Use Act of 1978, no Government letter of notice was served on the Claimant of intention to revoke the Claimant’s Certificate of Occupancy No. BDSR 6644 dated 11/1/87 registered as No.4, Page 4, Volume D28 Benin City covering the Claimant’s land measuring approximately 9.884 hectare.
(b) An order declaring that the Delta State of Nigeria gazette No. 15 purporting to revoke Claimants land fell short of the Constitutional requirement.
(c) An order of Court declaring no legal due process was followed in the revocation of title of the Claimants C of O.
(d) An order declaring void, illegal and unlawful the purported revocation of the Claimant’s C of O.
(e) An order declaring the letter of notice of revocation as null and void.
(f) An order setting aside the purported revocation.
(g) An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants from illegally revoking the Claimants title to the Land.
(h) The sum of N5,000,000.00 (five Million Naira) as general damages.
3. High Chief Government O. Ekpemupolo
(a) A declaration that the Claimant is the Owner and is entitled to Customary Right of Occupancy over all that expanse of land lying along NPA-EFFURUN EXPRESSWAY, EDJEBA TOWN
(b) An order declaring as null, void and unconstitutional Notice of Revocation of the Claimant’s Customary Right of Occupancy over his said land.
(c) The sum of N 25,000,000.00 being damages for trespass on the Claimant’s land
(d) An order of perpetual injunction
(a) A declaration that the Defendants invasion of the    Claimant’s Premises with the intention of demolishing the Claimant’s Fence/wall is unlawful, wrong, punitive,
   unconstitutional, null and void.
(b) An order of perpetual injunction restraining the    Defendants, from invading the Claimant’s premises.
(c )   The sum N10,000,000,000.00 as damages for trespass
Governor Okowa, as many people know, is not impulsive. He is a meticulous, astute administrator with utmost respect for the rule of law. As any right thinking person would advise in such circumstances, it is best for the court cases to be properly resolved before proceeding further on the project. But the APC people, sad to say, have never been known to be right thinking. Their idea of governance, if you would call it that, is to ride roughshod over the rights of other citizens and clobber them into submission.
It is important to inform Deltans that the Okowa administration has been in talks with the litigants and other land owners affected with the hope of amicably settling the matters out of court. As you would imagine, such a process is often long drawn; it involves lengthy negotiations because colossal sums of money are involved. Suffice it to say that Deltans would have been spared this needless impasse had the right thing been done in the first place. Once the legal issues are resolved, we assure Deltans, particularly those in Warri and environs, that the Okowa administration is committed to the full implementation of the Warri Industrial Business Park project.
Also, in line with the administration’s drive for private sector investment, it is the noble intention of the Okowa administration to make the Warri Industrial Business Park a project for Public Private Partnership as per the initial concept. It is certainly not the business of, nor is it within the competence of Government to build, manage and own an industrial park. The global best practice is Public Private Partnership for such humongous investments and that is the way to go for our people to reap the full benefits. Otherwise, it becomes a conduit pipe for public finances and a cesspool of official corruption.
Delta APC’s disdain for the truth is alarming. How could they have the effrontery of accusing Governor Okowa of “sabotaging” the take-off of the Independent Power Project? Truly, these are unconscionable and hateful people who see nothing good in the person of Governor Okowa.  How can the Okowa administration be liable for a project, which contract was awarded in 2009 and was to be completed in 2011? Have they forgotten that Senator Okowa became Governor on May 29, 2015? What manner of people are these APC people?
For the information of the public, an IPP typically consists of four components that work in sync, namely;
– Generation
– Transmission
– Gas supply infrastructure
– Sub-station
Only the generation aspect of the IPP was awarded by the previous administration and clearly this aspect cannot work in isolation of the other components. The contract for the generation was awarded on June 23, 2009, at a total cost of $125 million or N21.75b using the prevailing exchange rate of the naira to the dollar at the time. Owing to some modifications in the scope of work, the contract sum was upwardly reviewed to N23.2b on May 17, 2011, and the contractor has received a total sum of N19.8b as payment for work done.
The project was originally scheduled for completion in two years. The table below shows levels of completion of the different phases/stages.
1. Lead equipment procurement viz Rolls Royce Trent Turbine 2 x 64 MVA, Brush Generator 2 x 75MVA and all auxiliary equipment and parts necessary for complete installation The equipment are presently warehoused in Oghara by the contractor awaiting installation 90% Part of the ancillary items burnt and requires replacement
2. Ring roads and drainage Ring roads completed while work on drainage still pending 87% Incomplete
3. Peripheral fence Completed and site secured with two exit gates specified in contract 100% Completed
4. Auxiliary station buildings, viz warehouse, control room, admin block and gate house Construction in progress 68% Incomplete
5. 11/132KV generation sub-station Civil works in progress 70% Incomplete
6. Turbine generator plants Completed as per specification 100% Completed
7. 2nos 60/80MVA transformer and station auxiliary transformers Outstanding. Not yet purchased by the contractor 0% Not delivered to site
8. 11kv Control equipment Outstanding. Not yet purchased by the contractor 0% Not delivered to site
But after a detailed and careful review of the IPP, it was determined that the DTSG cannot continue to fund the project, which encompasses the completion of the already commenced construction and installation of the generation plant, and the yet to be awarded Transmission, Gas Supply Infrastructure and Sub-station segments. By 2011 prices, they were all estimated to cost N37.8b. With today’s exchange rate of the naira to dollar at N360, the project is expected to cost astronomically higher.
In view of the foregoing, the Okowa administration decided that it was in the best interest of the State to sell its equity in Delta Electric Power Limited to a strategic private investor who would then complete the project. In line with the Public Procurement Act, DTSG advertised for Expression of Interest for the appointment of a Financial Advisor to assist with the sale of DTSG’s interest in DEPL. The advertisements were published in Thisday of Monday April 3, 2017, Vanguard andThe Pointer of Tuesday, April 4, 2017, and had a deadline for submission and opening of bids on April 21 and 22 respectively. At the end of the process, which was open, fair and transparent, Access Bank was selected and has been formally engaged by the Government to undertake the sale. The bank is expected to complete the sale of DTSG interest in DEPL by the end of July 2018.
It is clear from the foregoing that there is no way the current administration can be held culpable for the failure of the IPP to take off. The awarded generation aspect of the project was not only uncompleted, the other vital components were curiously unattended to in the six years that the project was on-going before Governor Okowa came on board. That notwithstanding, the Governor has worked hard to see that the State gets the maximum benefit of the IPP by engaging the services of a reputable Financial Advisor to help the Government recover its money by selling its equity in DEPL to a strategic private investor with the capacity to complete the project.
It is annoyingly defamatory for the Delta APC to drag Governor Okowa’s name into the Osubi Airport saga in that dubious advertorial. The crux of the matter is that Osubi Airport is not a property of the State Government. In a letter (NCAA/DAAS/COR/2/1/537) to the State Government dated March 02, 2015, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority queried the proposed four–phase development of the airport for which contract was awarded to CCC Construction Nigeria Limited on April 30, 2013. Excerpts from the letter read:
“It is pertinent to state that there has been an unresolved issue in respect of the above mentioned project which the Delta State Government is yet to address:
1.  “HMA approval obtained for the project only meant for the construction of runway, being phase 1 of the project.
2. “The Delta State Government is yet to provide any document(s) as stated during our meeting in September, 2014 from the owner of the existing airstrip to show that the airport has been acquired by them.
    3.  “Due to the proximity of the proposed Delta State Osubi airport to the existing airstrip owned by SPDC whose ownership is being transferred to Shoreline Oil Services Ltd., it is therefore inappropriate in line with Nig. CARs to grant approval for the construction of another airport within the same location.”
So where does Governor Okowa come into the picture if not out of outright mischief and sheer blackmail?
We are thoroughly amused by Delta APC’s song and dance about so-called star projects. First of all, what one person may consider a star project may be different from another person’s perception of a star project. For the over 2,000 youths that have been trained and established in various businesses by the Okowa administration, the Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) may be their star projects.
Besides, let it be stated loud and clear that Governor Okowa is not an ego trip; he is deep, methodical, service-oriented and process driven. He will not, in the name of star projects, embark on a white elephant project that has no direct bearing on the economic well-being of the people he was elected to serve. All over the State, Governor Okowa is touching lives with meaningful infrastructural projects that are opening up the rural economy, facilitating movement of farm produce/goods and service and generally making life easier for our people. At the last count over 150 road projects have been embarked upon by this administration with over 60 of them already completed.
Tragically, Delta APC has become synonymous with ignorance, ineptitude and idiocy. They are only good at propaganda but are completely clueless when it comes to governance. Hence, we do not expect them to understand the rationale for the building of a new Central Secretariat Complex for the State Civil Service. Governor Okowa is constructing a new secretariat not because he wants a so-called star project attached to his name but because it is for the good of the State.
Currently, the Government has scores of rented office buildings scattered in the capital city of Asaba. Apart from the high cost of renting these buildings, there are the problems of cohesion, coordination, monitoring and management of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The new Central Secretariat, when completed, will substantially reduce the cost of governance, ensure speedy service delivery and forge closer ties between the various MDAs. If at some point the good people of Delta consider it a star project, all well and good. But that is not Governor Okowa’s motivation. His motivation remains to serve, serve and serve the good people of Delta State and ensure that they get good value for every kobo expended on projects.
ON 2019
In the drivel disguised as an advertorial, the Delta APC boasted that it is a “formidable party that parades great leaders.” A party that could not present candidates for 57 councillorship positions in the recently concluded local government election cannot be called formidable by any stretch of imagination. A party that cannot present enough candidates for an election, is that one a party? The APC can go on deluding itself by claiming to have so-called big names; politicians that are big only on newspapers and the social media. A politician that cannot win an election in his ward or local government, is that one a politician? The Delta APC is nothing but a gathering of rabble-rousers and unrepentant mudslingers.
When the time comes Deltans know who has their best interests at heart. And judging by his stellar performance in less than three years in office there is no doubt that Governor Okowa will trump whoever the opposition fields against him, come 2019. In closing, let me sound a note of warning to Delta APC that their plans to foment violence in the State will not be tolerated. Governor Okowa is not given to impunity because he is well-bred, cultured and a true democrat at heart. But on no account should this be misconstrued as a sign of weakness. A word is enough for the wise.
Long Live PDP!
Long Live Delta State.
Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza
State Publicity Secretary, PDP, Delta State
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