Barely three days to the expiration of the Fifth Assembly of the Delta State House of Assembly, some aggrieved members of the house have accused the newly sworn in Governor of the State, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa of plans to use a new bill to siphon the State treasury.
Okowa, Tuesday, sent two bills, namely Technical and Vocational Education Board Bill and Asaba Capital Development Agency Bill to the House for passage and within 24 hours the two bills were given express passage on Wednesday on the floor of the house without the usual debates that follow bills.
SaharaReporters learned this did not go down well with some members of the house especially those from Delta South and Central who have described the Asaba Capital Development Agency Bill as a scam to siphon the state treasury.
A principal member of the house who wanted anonymity confided in SaharaReporters that no area of Delta state that will need a bill before development could be carried out.
"Few of us who are already aware of the evil intentions of the bill wrapped in a 'corrupt foil paper' kicked against the bill immediately it was sent to the house by the governor, because without a bill, Asaba can still be developed like every other areas across the state. The intention of the bill is too corrupt. Some of us who kicked against it were threatened with blackmail and to seize our entitlements if we refuse to cooperate.
"You know the bills came barely three days to the end of the fifth Assembly and as we talk the bills, especially the Asaba development agency bill was not critically scrutinised before it was hurriedly passed just to curry favour from the governor whom has promised the house with some parting gifts. For avoidance of doubts, the Asaba Development Agency bill is a fraud and clannish bill. Some of us had vehemently refused the passage of the corrupt bill but our objection was not allowed to see the light of the day." the aggrieved lawmaker said.
Another member of the House who lost their place during the 2015 general elections, described as unfortunate the Asaba Development Agency bill by the governor, saying the bill is another avenue to drain the state treasury just like what ex-governor, Uduaghan allegedly did with DESOPADEC.
"Governor Okowa is deceiving Deltans with his prosperity promises for Deltans. We have it from a very credible sources that since DESOPADEC was for the Delta South and Central people, he has decided to create a similar thing in Delta north where funds can be fleeted into his private pockets to offset some of his debts incurred during his elections. This is how the ex-governor, Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan used DESOPADEC to his own advantage to amass wealth for himself.
"All our effort to stop the passage of the bill failed because we were few and some of our members have compromised having been confronted with threats, blackmail and denial of parting gifts and other entitlements. Right from time we know Okowa is a clannish politician which he has already started with his Asaba Development Agency Bill. Where in the federation can you say such a bill is in existence apart from Abuja where similar thing exist because Abuja is no man land and such can be done but not Asaba. I do hope the Sixth Assembly will leave up to expectations unlike our Fifth Assembly which was like a rubber stamp." the lawmaker lamented.
Other lawmakers who spoke with SaharaReporters condemned in its entirety the Asaba Development Agency Bill describing it as ill-conceived bill that has no meaningful bearing and impact on the people rather than to serve some individuals interest.
Meanwhile, it was learned that governor Okowa has also concluded plans to shut down the government house annex in Warri.
An impeccable government house source who confides in SaharaReporters stated that the governor considered the government house annex as a monumental waste perpetrated by former Governors, Chief James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan.
"Delta state has one state capital which is Asaba but Ibori and Uduaghan because of personal reasons well known to them decided to create another government house in warri and governor Okowa has said, a state can not have two capitals and the annex will be closed in the shortest possible time. Okowa is very prepared and ready to reverse so many policies of the Uduaghan government just watch and Deltans will see what will be happening in the next couple of days and weeks." our source stated.
However an aide to Okowa who craved for anonymity said his boss should be left alone to do whatever his mind tells him to do. "It is his turn, Uduaghan has done his and my boss should be left alone. Everybody in Delta know what Uduaghan did with funds accruing to DESOPADEC, so also my boss should be allowed to create his own agency too. While billions of naira will be going to DESOPADEC, billions of naira should also be going to Asaba Development Agency. The state belongs to all of us, so they should leave my boss alone." the aide warned.