My govt is not for apprenticeship – Gov. Okowa
From Ochei O. Ochei, Asaba
Against the backdrop of how Delta State government was run by past governors over the years, prompted the massive support for Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to emerged as the governor of the state, believing that he will be the Messiah Delta need.
This popular notion Governor Okowa rode on during the electioneering period preaching the gospel ‘prosperity for all Delta’ and the pledge to change the economy of the state, eradication of corruption, among others, with capable hands.
In his inauguration speech, he promised Deltans that his government would work with only people with integrity to enable him deliver his mandate to the people.
According to him “ my fellow brothers and sisters of the great Delta, I salute you all for your efforts during the election, you have chosen me as your Governor and I assure you that it is not going to be business as usual. The people to appoint to help me to drive my SMART agenda must be people of integrity and creativity.”
As it were, the 12 commissioners recently appointed and the eight commissioners’ nominees sent to the House of Assembly for screening raised dust not only among the politicians but also among citizens who knew the antecedent of the appointed commissioners as corrupt people who have failed in one position or the other.
Lamenting the scenario, a well known critic of the past administration, Barr. Robinson Ariyo, said the quality of persons appointed into position of authority leaves much to be desire across board.
“Governor Okowa has turn appointment into government office to a child’s play. Delta have excelled in all ramifications, and if he want to make qualitative appointment, we have them in all sphere of life not bringing all those people who have corrupt and failed us in the past”
“These group of commissioners will fail Deltans because they have noting to offer. If Delta State is Dr. Okowa’s private company, are these the quality of persons he will engage to run it successfully for him?
There are allegations that some of the commissioners were sacked in the past. A young man told our correspondent on a condition of anonymity that he personally handed the sack letter to one of the newly appointed commissioners over a fraud in then ministry Social Development, Youth Sport & Culture in 1995.
“So tell me how such a person will run a ministry without committing fraud. If she could do it then as a civil servant, now commissioner what shoul we expect?” he ask.
The nominees are scheduled to be screened on September 8.
In a reaction, an Asaba-base activist, Comrade Jude Onochie, noted that if the state collapses under this administration, Okowa has to be blame for appointing wrong persons.
“We wonder how a high profile person like Governor Okowa who knows the antecedents of these people but went ahead in appointing them into his cabinet. It is tantamount to ruining his administration base on their past records in office.
“It is wrong to use the same old and corrupt people who have been in the government since 1999. There are politicians and technocrats who have no corrupt background to help him in moving the state to the next level. This is the government of old people in a new keg,” he said.
“Almost 95% of those so far appointed are corrupt people who led this state in one way and other. What it means is that we celebrate criminals, go and read our 1999 Constitution the code of conduct of a public office holders but they are violating it.
“Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), deals with Code of Conduct for Public Officers. Section 1 states that ‘A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.” While Section 6 states that “(1) A public officer shall not ask for or accept property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.
“Delta State and Nigeria in general must be healed of the disease called corruption. It is an albatross that will drown the nation, if not eradicated. As another slogan goes, let us kill corruption before it kills Nigeria. We must learn to deny these corrupt persons holding public officer as a deterrent to others instead of entrusting them with public offices as a way of celebration.
However, it appears that Governor Okowa is acting base on his statement made during the swearing in of the Secretary to the state government (SSG) in Unity Hall Government House, Asaba, where he said only tested hands would be recruited to serve in his administration, and not green horns who would learn on the job.
At that occassion, the governor said: “My administration is not for apprenticeship. Only those with experience will be appoints into positions. And let me say this: everybody cannot be appointed into position, no one can be commissioner and the same time be a contractor. Some will be appointed into office while some will be given contracts in order to accommodate everybody”
As it is now, all fingeres are crossed to see how the screening would proceed on September 8. And it remained to be seen how the Okowa administration would fare in terms of delivering his SMART Agenda in the state over the next for years.