…Says His Successor Will Be Unveiled On May 23.
By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq
Governor of Delta State and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, has said that joining 2023 presidential race was never part of his political calculations in the present dispensation.
Okowa made the disclosure in response to a question at the Quarterly Press Briefing on Thursday, wherein a Journalist sought to know why he did not join the presidential race like his brother governors in Bauchi, Sokoto and Rivers States.
“I like being fully prepared before embarking on any project and I can tell you that joining 2023 presidential race is not part of my political calculations at the moment.
“And on the issue of vice presidential ticket, I don’t want to talk about it, because we are still working out lots of possibilities and strategies at the party level.
“On who will be my successor, and whether or not the Ibori political family is still intact, I urge Deltans to be a little bit patience because my successor shall be unveiled on May 23, which is barely 22 days from today
“All I can say for now is that my successor must be somebody who is people friendly, approachable, somebody that will unite all and sundry in the state, humble enough to listen to Deltans, able to accelerate the ongoing building of a Stronger Delta beyond May 29, 2023.
“Yes, Delta PDP family is intact and Ibori political family is also intact. We play politics any time politics is meant to be played, and that does not mean we have a divided house, No. After electioneering politics, we shall remain one indivisible family,” Okowa said.
He further disclosed that the bridging finance facility request of N150 billion approved by the State House of Assembly, was not a loan because the money will be taken from the N270.6 billion of Delta State funds owed it by the federal government.
“We shall use the money to complete key star projects and to also drastically reduce pensions debts. My administration inherited huge pensions debts and we shall continue to pay.
“Government will release N20 billion to Local Government Pensions Bureau to pay pensioners. Part of the money will also be used to deflate state pensions as well as execute major projects which includes ongoing construction projects at the three newly established and fully accredited Universities.
“We attached a list of projects to the request that we sent to DTHA for approval. It is a honest and transparent process. The N150 billion bridging finance will be tied to the N270.6 Billion owed Delta State Government by the Federal Government.
“It is not a loan as wrongly projected on social and conventional media by the major opposition party in the state. They are trying to play politics with the facility, and that will not stop government from doing what is right and beneficial to the state and citizens.
“FG promise to pay the N270.6 Billion in trenches for a period of five years. The money will continue to depreciate if not utilized right now. What we have done is for the best interest of the state and Deltans.
“To answer your question on whether or not I endorsed certain aspirants in the state, my response to that is NO. As a leader of PDP in Delta State, I cannot be seen to be biased. There shall be free, fair and transparent primaries across board.
“And I am happy to tell you that all the aspirants are doing well and I wish them luck across board” Okowa said.
Meanwhile, the governor urged journalists in the state to join hands with his administration in preaching peace and sensitising the people against indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainage channels across the state.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu noted that journalists in the state have been very supportive in propagating the policies and programmes of the state government, even as he urged them to sustain the tempo of partnership.
In his speech, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu expressed appreciation to governor Okowa for his media friendly disposition, adding that journalists in the state were very happy that the state government had done well in the secretariat of the union in the state.