As Delta State marks its 26 year anniversary, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of the opposition parties, the Young Democratic Party (YDP) have differed over its state of development.
While the YDP described the ruling party as a failure, stating that for the past 18 years of the country’s return to democracy, Delta is yet to know any development, the PDP said there are many things to be celebrated in the state since it was created.
Speaking during a media chat in Asaba, the State Chairman of YDP, Festus Ofume, said it was obvious that indigenes of the state both at home and in the Diaspora, are unhappy with the crop of public officers who have continuously mortgaged the development and bright future of Delta in their pockets to the detriment of the masses.
While commenting on the 26th anniversary of the creation of the state, Ofume said, “If we are to assess the present level of development in the state, you would agree with me that this state would fall below the required pass mark since it was created. We have not seen what is expected of the developmental growth in the last 26 years. Our people can attest to it that their state has not lived up to the developmental recognition.”
Ofume said that placing Delta State side by side with Lagos in terms of infrastructural, human and capital developments “You would agree with me that Delta has not done anything and we will attribute this to no other factor other than the poor leadership of the PDP administrations in the last 18 years.”
He posited that those factors that have hindered the development of Delta, was the lack of proper administration and lack of proper governance. He pointed out that Delta, unlike Lagos, lacks continuity of developmental projects “for instance we could see how the successors of the former governor of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, continued with his projects and policies since 2003 that he left office, which was the reverse in Delta.”
He lamented that after 26 years of creation, the state could not even boast of a city that can be reckoned with, saying, “Asaba has been the capital from inception for the past 26 years and if you go around the city, you will weep because there is nothing to show that this place is actually a state capital.”
Ofume further condemned the PDP leadership in Delta on the poor state of the roads and how poor management of the state have caused erosion to drive people away from their property.
“Why is this happening, the current administration and the previous administrations do not understand what governance is about. Governance is all about continuity. A situation whereby you will see a governor that enters into an office and will not continue with the policies and work of the past administration (who are of same political party) is absurd.
“We have situations whereby roads like Infant Jesus, DLA Road, Mariam Babaginda, Okpanam Road and others have been abandoned and if you ask questions, you will be told that these contracts have been awarded by past administrations.”
He however promised that YDP would bring succour to the state if allowed to rule.
But the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, in his reaction said the people have a lot of reasons to celebrate.
According to him, “As a people, as a state and as a government, we have every reason to celebrate because, if not for any other reason, from August last year when we marked our silver jubilee to this year, there is reasonable restoration of peace, especially in our creeks where there is no longer destruction of pipelines.”
Okowa, who spoke yesterday at an interdenominational thanksgiving service held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Delta Province 3 Headquarters, Asaba said, “Though the impact of the peace that has returned to the creeks may not have been felt in our economy, because, the state did not only suffer from the effect of consistent low price of oil for more than 38 months; we were not just affected by the price going down and the quantum produced, but there is hope that it will be better.”
He also expressed gratitude to the church for the prayers “we are thankful to the youths for sheathing their swords, we thank our traditional rulers for their interventions, and to all those who worked for peace to return to our state, we say, thank you.”
But reacting to Ofume’s allegations, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah described the YDA chairman’s comments as misleading and a calculated attempt to divert the attention of the people from the hardworking Governor Okowa, adding that the PDP-led government in Delta has overwhelming infrastructural development put in place among others.
He therefore called on the critics of the PDP to cross check their facts before going to the press.