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Oborewori One Year In Office: Egbema Decries Neglect, Political Exclusion (Opinion), by Mingo Saya




Amid initial fanfare, good feelings, and high expectations of the beginning of a new era on May 29, 2024, as the Governor, deputy Governor, Commissioners and other various political appointees in Delta state gathered to cut Cake to mark the one-year anniversary of His Excellency Rt. Hon. Sheriff F. O. Oborevwori, Governor Delta state, Egbema kingdom in Warri North remained deprived of the current political dispensation. However, we celebrated in a clear sadness, this is what Fela of blessed memory described as suffering and smelling. We are sad, feeling hopeless, nothing for Egbema people His Excellency Rt. Hon. Elder Sheriff F. O. Oborevwori?


Speaking on the backdrop, a youth leader of the Egbema kingdom, a prominent son of the Niger Delta, Comrade Mingo Meshach Saya Ogumaka, who attended the one-year Delta state Praise day at Dome Event Center Asaba, Wednesday 29th may, 2024, said, It was a sad day to be in the midst of great statesmen who are celebrating the dividends of democracy while mourning for deprivation and oppression.


His words , “The state leadership echoed sentiment for the various appointments made by the Rt. Hon. Elder Sheriff Oborevwori’, where Egbema people felt betrayed by the lacklustre performance of their governor, after massively voted for him. Egbema kingdom is most oil rich Ijaw kingdom in Delta state, host to many multinational oil companies, such as Chevron, NPDC, SPDC, ELCREST, OML40, 30 SAHARA ENERGY, CONOIL, and other independent oil and gas companies, despite all these we remained deprived and treated like second class citizens by political actors in the state”.


This piece written, published in the various newspapers and online news for the past months, captured the general feelings of Egbema sons and daughters at home and abroad. Governor! nothing for the Egbema kingdom?, stop sidelining the Egbema kingdom in your appointments, we are Deltans!.


“It is utterly absurd that instead of the elected governors to focus on making the state economically viable and developing the state from down to the top but turned to sideline Egbema kingdom and Ijaw Areas for development. it’s an alarming situation, for the past decades many governors have turned the state into fiefdom domains, while they rule as absolute dictators controlling not just the resources of the state, but all the state institutions with impunity, bow down for external actors, with our resources and revenues.


“We see some past governors in Delta state, who unashamedly use public funds as their private funds and use it anyhow they want, with little or no accountability whatsoever, but only focus on their community alone” but Egbema people are equally owners of the resources of Delta State, we are entitled for same dividends, projects and appointment. The immediate past Governor of Delta state, Dr. Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, the Godsent broke the depression, deprivation and stand for equity and fairness on his political aspiration, who brought justice to Egbema people in Warri North local Government Area council, initiate rotational system of the council Chairmanship position, were the immediate past Warri North council chairman Hon. Capt Smart Asekutu became chairman after 32 years of Itsekiri rule. He also appointed the DESOPADEC commissioner, an indigene in the Egbema kingdom, representing Ijaw ethnic nationalities in the board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission , Hon. Spencer Okubo Okpoye”.


“There were high expectations and a renewed hope that the new administrations in the state would be different this time around and would use the state’s resources to develop the state equally, as the Governor made lots of promises to the Deltans.


“To tackle the myriad problems whereby a local Government Area owned by two ethnic nationalities Ijaw and Itsekiri, all appointment and elective position for only one ethnic tribe, which Itsekiri, two commissioner slots for Itsekiri, Delta state house of Assembly for Itsekiri, council chairman for Itsekiri, and no common projects for Egbema kingdom for the past one year, it shows the high level of inconsiderable Oborewori is.


Sadly, all Delta state Ijaw local Government Areas are heading in the same direction of hopelessness and despair as in this dispensation. Leadership is lacking, and the status quo must be changed if Delta riverine communities are to see meaningful development in the current dispensation. To address this, the governors must reflect on his performance in the last year and implement policies, structures and systems that will help him fulfil his responsibilities to the people of the Egbema kingdom, and other Ijaw Areas.


“The state scorecards for the past year, as evidenced by dire and unpleasant statistics in aspects such as poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and underemployment, environmental degradation, poor business-friendly environment, and poor policy implementation and deprivation, at best, suboptimal and, at worst, grim. Whereby Delta state cannot demonstrate meaningful achievement in any one area in Ijawland, and no effort is made to achieve anything meaningful in the future unless something drastic is done to redirect this leadership to the proper development direction. This lacklustre and self-defeating approach to growth and development occurs when the states enjoy unprecedented FAAC allocations and other internally generated revenues.


“Every month, according to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), not less than a trillion naira is announced to have been generated and disbursed among the three tiers of government in Nigeria, at least since the removal of fuel subsidy, which has significantly improved the revenues of governments across the country. The statutory federal allocations to the coffers of the state governments alone are expected to increase by 69%, from N3.3 trillion in 2023 to N5.54 trillion in 2024, based on the approved budget and revenue projection.


“Government fiscal statistics indicate that in the first four months of 2024, states have received approximately N1.548 trillion in disbursement. The internally generated revenue of many states have significantly increased in the past year, adding more funds to the state’s coffers for growth and development. This is besides the 13% derivation revenue (for the benefitting states) and other funds accruing to states from different sources.


“The recent increase in state government revenue has not improved Delta state’ s quality of life especially for Egbema people. Revenue from FAAC has doubled, but living standards are getting worse. More money for the state has yet to translate to substantial improvements in infrastructure, healthcare services, education, job creation, or even security in Egbema kingdom Warri North local Government Area.


“Much has been written about the Delta state government’s performance in the past one year, and the verdict is nothing to cheer about. We frequently overlook that, in the state, the ways by which state governments create and implement development policies are essential to a functioning state. In Delta Ijaws people are openly, disappointed and dissatisfied with how subnational entities are run. This illustrates how deeply disappointed Egbema people are with the results of governance over the last 12 months.


“Despite modest progress in a few of the local Government Areas, there is a systemic breakdown of massive projects, public healthcare and education facilities at the state, construction of road, billions have signed for development projects’in the state, The public’s confidence in His excellency Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori and Delta State capacity to deliver social services and look out for the welfare of the populace has been severely damaged as a result of sentiments and ethnic bias leadership.


“With the significant resources the states have received in the past one year, it’s disheartening to see that Egbema kingdom has been sidelined in development projects, While we acknowledged the impact of rising inflation and a decline in the value of the Naira, it’s inexcusable for state to not demonstrate significant achievements with those funds. This lack of transparency and accountability at the state level is a key factor contributing to the suboptimal performance in Ijaw Areas, Citizens must demand and ensure transparency and accountability in governance to drive meaningful change.


“Many local Government Areas and their chairman and other representatives need something to show in terms of infrastructural development. The level of infrastructural decay in the Egbema kingdom is palpable. Few or no new roads are constructed. State governments have been empowered to regulate the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity yet only a few states have taken advantage of this constitutional amendment. Since the creation of Nigeria Egbema people have never known what electricity is.


“The availability of pipe-borne water and other water systems is still a mirage, and medical facilities need to be put in place to cater to the needs of the Egbema people. The newly sworn-in governor promised us these things, but one year later, there is nothing, no appointment, no project, we are staggering into the second year without a concrete plan and hope.


“At all levels, I hope our political leaders recognise the importance of redeeming democracy’s reputation. The average person is beginning to question the capacity of democracy to deliver the dividends that can improve the people’s life. It will take more than impressive rhetoric to convince citizens that our political officeholders are working for our interests”.


The youth leader, Mingo further stressed that, Actions must follow words and beautiful promises. “Despite, it is not rocket science to provide quality leadership for the people, the next three years are enough time to correct this harmful and unfruitful leadership anomaly in our state. The Egbema people deserve more, and that is what they must get!, he added.