Aggrieved members of the Delta State Sixth Assembly have accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of fooling the House by obtaining a bank loan of N10 billion from Zenith Bank without formal approval.
The lawmakers disclosed to SaharaReporters that they heard reliable reports that Governor Okowa had allegedly obtained the loan on assumption of office before formally sending a letter seeking an approval from the house to obtain the loan, an act they described as illegal, unconstitutional and corrupt.
Okowa transmitted a letter to the speaker of the House last Tuesday, seeking approval to borrow N10billion from Zenith Bank. The House approved of this request.
“This should not be regarded as fighting the Governor but anything worth doing is worth doing well. I am a first term lawmaker, I have never been in government before but I know how government operates. How will the Governor obtain a loan and start spending it before sending a letter to the house to seek approval? This is deceptive, illegal, unconstitutional and corrupt.
“These were some of the things past administrations did that put us into the mess we are in today. It was after the approval had been made that some of us discovered that the loan had been obtained before the approval by the House,” one of the aggrieved lawmakers stated.
Another lawmaker and principal officer from one of the opposition parties who spoke under the condition of anonymity condemned the action of obtaining a loan before seeking approval and accused Governor Okowa of hiding under the indebtedness of Delta State to loot it in order to settle some of the debts owed for his campaign.
“I am never a fan or supporter of Uduaghan any day and I will never be but while prosperity will be judging former Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must not trade with the State because with the way and manner he has started, if not properly checked the State might be sold off. According to the Okowa’s letter, Zenith Bank PLC has offered to restructure the existing loan facility while the obtaining of the 10 billion Naira loan was consented to in principle, subject to the approval of the House. Yes we are saying, Uduaghan was bad but I must tell you today that if care is not taken, Okowa will be worse and I know this Sixth Assembly won’t close their eyes to any nonsense,” the Assembly member said.
Another member and former principal officer in the House lamented the current state of the State finances and warned Okowa against any attempt to amass wealth for himself while in office.
“In Okowa’s letter read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Mr. Monday Igbuya stated that his administration met a huge bank and capital market debt burden of about 96.62 billion with a scheduled monthly repayment of 4.6 billion Naira. But for some of us, the question is that why is Okowa hiding the truth about the true debt profile of the state? Okowa, should not forget easily that he was part and parcel of the Uduaghan government and by implication, he contributed to the debts he is blowing out of proportion.
“We can remember very well that Okowa was Secretary to the State government, SSG in the first term of Uduaghan as such he is part of the debt. Nobody is justifying or holding brief for former Governor Uduaghan but the truth be said. Okowa also forgot that his very close associate and former speaker and former acting Governor of the State, Mr. Sam Obi obtained a loan of N20 billion and nobody is saying anything about that,” the lawmaker said.
As mixed reactions trailed the startling revelations on the indebtedness of Delta State under the leadership of Former Governor, Mr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the leadership of the State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) decisively lambasted Okowa.
The APC Leadership accused Governor Okowa of being disingenuous in his recent reported statement over the State of the financial mess he allegedly inherited from his predecessor, Mr. Uduaghan and member of his Party, the PDP.
In a statement by the PDP, signed by its Media Adviser, Barr. Martins Mukoro, the Party described Okowa’s attempt to shed crocodile tears over the huge debt profile of the State totalling over 600 billion Naira his predecessor left behind as embarrassing and insulting to the sensibility of Deltans.
According to the Party, Okowa is crying wolf to divert attention in order to lay the foundation for more borrowing which would plunge the State deeper into a financial disaster.
“The APC recalled having earlier forewarned Deltans that Okowa represented no change but more of the same of PDP’s 16 years of misrule.”
Governor Okowa served as Commissioner multiple times under Governor Ibori and also served as Secretary to the Uduaghan administration that accumulated the massive debts.
“He has no moral excuse to attempt to distance himself as if he was an onlooker or bystander while the state was being wrecked. Okowa was not an onlooker but a key participant and a major co-conspirator and he is in no position to rescue Delta from the mess created by him and the past PDP Administrations,” the statement read.
The Party therefore urged all Deltans to brace up for the change that has been delayed and get ready to seize the opportunity of the expected re-run that may soon be ordered by the ongoing elections tribunal.