BY May 29, 2023, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will be counting twenty-four (24) years of governorship in Delta State. Chief James Ibori, who pioneered a nascent democracy in the state, without any cautious evaluation of his administrative capacity to grow the state, handed over state power to Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2007 strictly based on some primordial sentiments. And like a child’s play, Uduaghan took over power, took the state through its worst moment in history and after spending another eight (8) years, handed over power to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 to complete a 24 year circle of a corrupt, visionless and time wasted administration. As it is, Ibori, Uduaghan and Okowa have jointly taken away 24 good years out of the life span of every Deltan without making any 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? Not even one standard flyover bridge.
The pictures above represent some of the newly built roads and twelve (12) flyover bridges by the Rivers State Governor, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Wike. They are actually part of his achievements in eight years. The flyover bridges and roads reconstruction are built by the German construction giant, Julius Berger Nig. Limited for quality durability and beauty. In Delta, we have had three PDP governors since 1999 yet in 24 years, there is no single flyover bridge in the state that meets the Wike’s quality and beauty. Anyone in doubt can visit the Effurun roundabout, and see a Delta model of flyover or Asaba the state capital which is at best a glorified village.
Governments all over the world are established to serve the needs of their people – think out the areas of need and then fill the gap. Before Wike came on board, Rt. Hon Chibuike Ameachi, now Minister of Transportation was governor of Rivers State in 2007. Ameachi took over the rein of power and made primary education and healthcare infrastructural development his own areas of priority. His vision witnessed a massive investment into rebuilding and furnishing of all primary schools and healthcare centres in every community in Rivers State. At the moment, Rivers State to a reasonable extent has addressed the issues of primary school and healthcare infrastructures. Ameachi within the same period, employed thirteen thousand (13,000) school teachers and about six thousand (6,000) medical doctors and nurses to service both sectors.
Delta state by nature is a garri and starch producing state. Farming is the only factory in the state, yet in 24yaers, a PDP led government has no investment in farming that could produce a basin of garri and keep the commodity affordable. As garri production technique was in 1960 so it remains in a 2022 PDP State of acclaimed educated men and women. Painfully, they have no idea that in many parts, starch exports is been a major source of foreign exchange earnings. What a government. As it is, Delta is not reputed for any food production even with a vast area of fertile land around. As at today, if Benue did not give us yam, we have no yam to eat, if Kano or Jigawa did not give us beans we have no beans to eat. If Plateau did not give us tomatoes and onions, our meals will be without their flavours. Is it not a thing of shame that Benue now supply garri to Delta and other Niger Delta states? We placate ourselves with an oil producing state yet even a drop of oil we do not control or produce.
Yes, by May 29, 2023, the PDP would have governed Delta for 24 years yet there is no tangible physical infrastructure in the education and health sectors. The Idjerhe Grammar School for example, 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. A responsible government would have revitalized an institution like this for the development of the people. Same Idjerhe has about forty (40) autonomous communities and a conservatively estimated human population of about one million people yet in 24 years, a PDP led government 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 daily basis. The narration is the same in every part of the state, yet there is a PDP government that is collecting on behalf of the people billions of naira every month in 13% derivation, share of federal allocation and internally generated revenue.
Democracy requires normal people everywhere in the world to throw out of their government any political party or individual that is not serving their needs. Twenty four (24) years is enough period of experiment with an irresponsible and incompetent PDP government in Delta. The PDP, as it is, has sufficiently shown it has no solution to the issues of development in Delta. Unfortunately, its gladiators and acclaimed leaders have no respect for intelligence and for 24 years they have continuously imposed on the state people that have no conscience of their own – boothlickers and fuddy-duddies. They thrive in mediocrity and quackery. And they say with pride that, “You don’t give power to intelligent people less you become irrelevant”. Chief Matthew Edevbie, MD/CEO, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution company, PHEDC hits the nail on the head when he described them as “Team 11th of eleven” in a public function in Port Harcourt. Edevbie referred to a set of politicians who cannot compete strictly on integrity and honour without the help of political thugs
For 24years, Delta PDP tied our state to individuals with a history of intellectual lacuna, moral deficiency, motor parks orientation and wasteful tendencies. In 24 years, contracts sum were bloated and billions of naira frittered away into private pockets yet the people are dying and have no factory to work. In 24 years, Delta PDP has repeatedly promoted into government individuals who see public office as an opportunity to cure ages-long poverty heritage. Some of them indeed went to school and have travelled to places like Dubai, Doha, Paris and other beautiful countries yet they come home to act like slaves that are newly set free. They have always been pecuniary in thought and action and they have no commitment to anything that requires intellectual effort. 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 will fade away in few months. Delta PDP from its foundation is not known for merit, and for 24 years the orientation has not changed. It produced appointees and lawmakers that have no concern for common good. In 2003, I went to a PDP lawmaker in the State Assembly with a proposal for a bill for an act to prohibit government sponsorship of pilgrimage to holy land in Delta. I took time persuading him on the spiritual invalidity of the annual voyage, its constitutional violations, social injustice, economic wastage and corruption elements. And after a moment of silence, he told me on the spot, “E nor go work”. No further word could suede him and so I left. Few days later, he told somebody that, “I just carry waka come from Port Harcourt that he should come and sponsor a bill to prohibit government sponsorship of pilgrimage when he is planning to go for pilgrimage. “That kind thing go work” they said he asked rhetorically. He actually went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem but the journey till today has not produced in him any form of righteousness. It is a case of moral failure. It’s the trademark of Delta PDP – mediocrity and mind emptiness. 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 failed from the beginning and touted a constituency project was designed to distribute N5 sachet water to market women on 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 legislative value. For the period he stayed at the Senate, before he was eventually removed, he remained one of the ardent seat warmers 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 streets 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 did not provide a citizens driven transformation. There is 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” he actually calls the PDP a “gathering of rogues”. Can anyone deny the fact that the PDP has plundered our state in the last 24 years? “There is a time for everything” they say. It’s time to push the PDP out of our government and allow the State to breathe fresh air.
Edafe, writes from Port Harcourt.