Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has blasted the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission for allegedly proposing over N4 billion annually for its media activities.
Prosper Edo, Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on DESOPADEC Matters, had a few weeks ago announced that the commission's Managing Director, Askia Ogieh, would embark on a rebranding mission of the commission through a weekly television programme on ChannelsTV, AIT and state-owned broadcasting outfits in Asaba and Warri in an Opa Williams Production.
According to a director in the commission, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, the programme will cost over N4 billion annually.
Condemning the programme, the APC stated that it would not in any way add value to people's lives.
In a statement signed by the state's Publicity Secretary, Sylvester Imonina, the APC said, "A commission that is supposed to be an interventionist agency for the good of Deltans from oil producing communities is now a cesspool of personal aggrandizement and corruption. While the commoners/the poor from the oil producing communities are wallowing in abject deprivation of social basic amenities such as good schools, good roads, potable water, health care and other basic necessities of life.
"The present DESOPADEC budget for oil producing area is about N28 billion. A critical look at the budget shows that N4.6 billion is for media propaganda of things claimed to be done, yet “not done” for the area of the mandate of the commission, for the fiscal year. Why that humongous amount.? A good product does not need advertisement. The claimed projects will advertise themselves through the beneficiaries and not the media hype.
"N5.2 billion for the fiscal year, on security in the area of mandate. In other words, over N433 million is budgeted/spent on a monthly basis. N3.6 billion is for Water ways and land security committee. That is, N300 million on a monthly basis. This is a committee that ought to be directly financed by the state government, but same was given to DESOPADEC as an added burden and a pipe for frittering away our commonwealth.
"Information available says that the committee is an avenue for empowering some few PDP thugs/members who could not be given the position of Special Assistants and Aides to the Governor. What a way to waste resources of our dear State. Five billion naira for miscellaneous, entertainment and other frivolous things. Who are they entertaining? That is left for Deltans to imagine.
"Meanwhile, after the addition of monies for salaries of DESOPADEC staff to the above, what is left for the developmental projects of the oil-producing areas in Delta State is only a meagre sum, around the neighbourhood of N4 billion. This is criminal thievery and neglect of the people who purportedly 'voted' PDP into power in Delta state, and it is unacceptable. Deltans never bargained for this."
The party, however, warned that the patience of Deltans should not be taken for granted.
All efforts to contact the Peoples Democratic Party's chairman and publicity secretary, Kingsley Esiso and Ifeanyi Osuoza, respectively were unsuccessful.
Similarly, DESOPADEC Managing Director, Askia Ogieh, did not respond to calls made to his telephone line.
However, his aide who spoke to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said there was no going back on the N4 billion earmarked for the TV programme.