Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has again been accused of using phantom companies to siphon funds from the state treasury, to the detriment of the Delta people.
In a petition titled “How Uduaghan Is Mortgaging The Future Of Deltans: Part 2,” a group named Movement For The Protection Of The Rights Of Deltans (MPROD) wrote they were “constrained as stakeholders to write the petition on behalf of the vast majority of Deltans whose future and children’s future are still been mortgaged by the ‘fraudulent and rogue’ Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.”
The petition was signed by Alanza Moemeke for Delta North, Ogheneovo Onoseme, Delta Central, and Brisbe Benifa for Delta South. The petitioners said that, after their first petition, they had expected the governor to focus on administering Delta State, one of Nigeria’s richest states, with the fear of God and for the good of the people.
Then they accused the governor of being “more brazen and audacious [in] stealing the state’s funds.” The petition stated: “[Governor Uduaghan] does not seem to care what becomes of the state as long as his selfish motives and ever-expanding appetite for illegal acquisition of state funds are satisfied. In Six years of his administration, Delta State has been continuously raped and violated and left to bleed. Things are now so bad that Deltans have become nostalgic of the Ibori era, with all its atrocities.”
The group further alleged that Mr. Uduaghan had increased his monthly security vote from N600 million to N2 billion with nothing to show for it as the state still witnesses an alarming rate of insecurity. Specifically, the group accused the governor of using phantom companies such as DONPARKER, believed to be owned by one Omatsuli Tuoyo, a younger brother to Mr. Uduaghan’s wife and the governor’s senior special assistant in charge of Special Duties, to siphon state funds.
“DONPARKER is one of such phantom companies which he uses to collect N150 million monthly purportedly to ‘Settle’ the Revenue and Fiscal Commission in Abuja. The money is shared between him and Tuoyo, senior special assistant, Special Duties, but who is more or less the de facto deputy governor and Uduaghan’s personal treasurer.”
In addition, the petitioners accused Mr. Uduaghan of using another relative, Derin Otubu, in his money laundering activities. Mr. Otubu is the governor’s blood relation, a cousin to former Governor James Ibori. His late father, called Papa Otubu, was the head of the Cherubim and Seraphim in Nigeria. The critics accused the governor of using Alpha Consortium to acquire Ikoyi Hotel in Lagos, which has been renamed Southern Sun. According to them, Mr. Otubu seconded one Ernest Oji to look after Uduaghan’s financial interest in Southern Sun.
“This same Otubu as one of Uduaghan’s cronies is also known as the contractor who gets the contract to supply all the official vehicles being used by the state government till date.
“Over N8 billion from the [South South] Crude Account was squandered mostly on frivolous parties, talk shows, summits and seminars. He used SAP system which is an electronic enabled payment system to transfer N800 million to some offshore companies in the name of periodic services and maintenance. Uduaghan used James Ibori’s sister, Christie Ibie, to buy two properties in Britain. That is why Uduaghan is scared of going to the United Kingdom. He is a wanted man there. We volunteer to pay his return ticket if he would dare go and visit. We urge other European countries and the United States which is becoming more of a second home to check on his records,” the petitioners wrote.
The petitioners alleged that Mr. Uduaghan’s government had abandoned the Warri Industrial Park after more than N3 billion was wasted on it. In addition, they stated that the Oleri Leisure Park at Udu, in which the state sunk more than N3 billion, has nothing to show for it, even as the state reportedly continues to pour millions of naira in it.
The petitioners also alleged that Mr. Uduaghan was becoming even more brazen in misappropriating state funds in the build-up to 2015. They said the governor shoved aside the due-process conscious former Commissioner for Finance, Bernard Okumagba, for the more pliable Mr. Okpara, a former contract staff of the World Bank.
The critics also castigated the governor for his alleged moves to impose Mr. Otubu, who supplies all the vehicles used by the state, as the next governor of Delta.
Contacted over the allegations, the state Commissioner of Information, Chike Ogeah, described them as baseless and without any iota of truth. He said: “Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is one person I know that has the full interest of Deltans at heart and every now and then I keep telling people that Governor Uduaghan will always be remembered for his visionary leadership.” He said the governor had made an impact through “his giant strides, human capital development and leadership.”
Mr. Ogeah added that Mr. Uduaghan’s achievements could be seen across the three senatorial districts of the state. He then challenged the governor’s critics to go round the state and see the massive development that had taken place while some were ongoing.
“Let them go round the state and see the massive development in our schools, hospitals, roads as well as in the area of transport and other sectors. The Oleri Park is a PPP thing and work is going on there as well as in the Warri Industrial Park. When completed Deltans will benefit massively from these people-orientated projects. I think Deltans should appreciate Governor Uduaghan at all time.”