By May 29, 2023, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will be counting 24 years of governorship in Delta State. Chief James Ibori, who was the second civilian governor of the state, without any evident and manifest evaluation of the administrative capacity of his successor’s skills to grow the state, handed over state power to Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2007 purportedly based on some primordial sentiments. And like a child’s play, Uduaghan took over power, took the state through some of its worst and turbulent moments in history and after spending another eight years, handed over power to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 to complete a 24 year circle of an inept and visionless administrations. As it is, as some concerned political analysts have submitted that the troika of Ibori, Uduaghan and Okowa have jointly taken away 24 good years out of the life span of every average Deltan without any known positive impact in their lives. In a contemporary Nigerian state, a 24-year old daughter would have become a mother of about five children and with the first born almost completing secondary school. But what did we get from the PDP in 24 years of governance in Delta State? Not even one standard flyover bridge!
Delta state by its nature and topography is blessed with rich agricultural landscape and it is a garri and starch producing state. Farming is the main, and indeed, the only factory in the state. Yet tragically, in the last 24 years that the PDP has ruled the state, the PDP led government has no investment in farming that could lift up the agricultural potentials of the state! The government hasn’t been able to even elevate the production of garri into a major source of revenue neither has it been able to make the commodity affordable to most Deltans.
Sadly, the garri production technique that has been in use since the 1960s still remains in use in a 2022 PDP led government of Delta State! Yet Delta State boasts of highly educated men and women. That is the sad irony! Painfully, the PDP led Delta State government appears to have no idea of the fact that in many ways, starch exports can be a major source of foreign exchange earnings. What a government!
As it is, Delta is not reputed for any food production even with vast area of fertile land abounding across the length and breadth of the state. As at today, if Benue State does not convey produced yam to cities in Delta, the people of Delta would sadly have no yam to eat! Similarly, if Kano or Jigawa does not process its beans and transport same to towns in Delta State, there would be no beans in the oil-rich state. If Plateau does not give her tomatoes and onions, many Deltans would have to contend with meals without their good flavours!
Is it not a thing of shame or irony that Benue State now supplies processed garri to Delta State and other Niger Delta states? Why do we as Deltans delude ourselves with the title of an oil producing state yet we control neither the oil nor do the people truly enjoy the revenue from oil!
Yes, by May 29, 2023, the PDP would have governed Delta for 24 years yet there is no tangible and indeed commendable physical infrastructure in the education and health sectors. For example, the Idjerhe Grammar in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, was established as a boarding school with adequate hostel facilities for boys and girls, a well-stocked library, a science laboratory and a massive poultry farm. Today, the hostel facilities have become open toilets and many of the classrooms blocks are without roof, while the two useable classroom blocks have no benches and writing boards for learning. Ordinarily, any serious-minded government would have revitalized an institution like this for the development of the human manpower! The same Idjerhe has about 40 autonomous communities and a conservatively estimated human population of about one million people yet in 24 years of a PDP led government in Delta State, the jurisdiction known as Idjerhe has no single dependable healthcare centre in any of the communities to respond to the health challenges of the people, thus exposing them to untimely and avoidable death on a periodic basis. This narrative is the same in virtually many parts of the state, yet there is a PDP government that has received allocations from the federal government running into billions of naira. In the same vein, the government has also been collecting on behalf of the people billions of naira om account of the 13% derivation sharing formula. This is aside earnings from internally generated revenue!
In 24 years, contracts sum were allegedly bloated and billions of naira frittered away into private pockets as published public accounts and judgements later revealed! Yet, the people are dying and have no factory to work. Even though some of our sons and daughters have been thoroughly educated and have travelled to places like Dubai, Doha, Paris and other beautiful cities and countries, their conduct when entrusted with public offices appear to be less than salutary! They seem to be driven by pecuniary aims in thought and action and they appear to lack the much needed commitment to achieve laudable community goals for the good of the state. They need money but not the effort that creates money. They leap for joy and award to themselves vain titles when they construct roads that easily fade away few months after the commissioning exercise!
Why has this been so? According to a school of thought, Delta state PDP from its very foundation, was not known for merit, and consequently, for the past 24 years, it has not changed in orientation and ethical conduct. For illustrative purpose, in 2003, I went to visit a PDP lawmaker in the Delta State House of Assembly with a proposal for a Bill for an Act to Prohibit Government Sponsorship of Pilgrimage to the Holy land in Delta. I took time explaining to him the spiritual invalidity of the annual voyage, its constitutional violations, social injustice, economic wastage and corruption elements. And after a moment of silence, the lawmaker told me on the spot, “E nor go work”. No further word could sway him and so I left.
In a similar show of shame, another PDP lawmaker from Ethiope West came to Jesse a few years ago with a two meter size caravan tagged, “PDP water spot”. The project, which seemed to have failed from the very beginning and was touted a constituency project was designed to distribute N5 sachet water to market women every four market days. The project, which speaks about the quality of persons the PDP pushes into government in Delta actually made a mockery of the PDP, whose insignia was boldly shown on the body of the caravan. Till it eventually died, the project never distributed sachets water a second time more than the three bags it distributed on the very day it was launched. And until Chief (Senator) Ovie Omo-Agege recovered his stolen mandate, the PDP Senator who was at the senate, was not known for any effective legislative representation. For the period he stayed at the senate, before he was eventually removed, the senator remained one of those without any known bill to his credit! Without a single motion or bill passed in his honour! The PDP has actually raised people who have become lions only at home.
As it is, we no longer need politicians who jumped from street corners into becoming commissioners and assembly members, Politicians who take us for an enemy for telling them the truth about their political irresponsibility and mismanagement of our common wealth. Politicians who become overnight millionaires by stealing from our common wealth. Politicians who celebrate to high heaven, invaluable chieftaincy titles that are daily thrown at whoever has few naira and kobo to display.
For 24 years, a PDP led government was not known to have provided a citizen-driven transformation. There are no social amenities, no electricity, no low cost housing estates, no pipe-borne water, no transportation services and no commendable improvement in the health and education sectors. In spite of all this, some unstable minds have said that both PDP and APC are the same. To the extent that the APC has some PDP defectors, I can agree but until the PDP goes down, our state will not experience true development and it will not occur to Delta politicians that there is democracy in the country.
As Prof Wole Soyinka puts it “If the APC is not the answer to our problems, there is no reason going back to the instigators of the problems”. Can anyone deny the fact that the PDP has plundered our state in the last 24 years?
- Edafe, writes from Port Harcourt.
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