The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that his name cannot be in President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of governors allegedly looting local government allocation.
Recall that the Nigerian leader on Thursday, December 2, accused state governors of causing the underdevelopment in their communities at the council areas.
According to Buhari, the governors were tampering with the monthly allocations to the local councils.
Naija News reports that the President asserted this at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course No. 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Governor Okowa, however, in a statement made available to newsmen in Asaba through his aide, said the President’s statement was unfortunate as he considers it a ‘blanket statement’.
His Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, said: “I want to say that Mr President, as one who has all the information about issues in the country, knows the governors who fall into that category of the so-called ‘thieves’ he was referring to.
“We all know that our governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, does not belong there. He was one of the first governors, if not the first, to embrace local government autonomy when it was agreed on, just like he did with the judiciary and the legislature.
“He went as far as getting legislation to grant autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary. He allowed them to run autonomously. And, for a man, who allowed these organs of government to have autonomy, he cannot have anything to do with funds belonging to the local governments.
“I repeat that the government of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, every month, augments the finances of local governments in the state with more than N300 million to make sure they can pay their salaries and stay afloat.
“He does that religiously monthly; so, for a man who does that, how can he be among those who steal local government money?
“Our governor is not part of it. You are also aware that the government of Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa recently released N5 billion for pension arrears; N2.5 billion was a grant to the local government to pay pensions.
“It is a grant to the local government; they will not pay. The governor did that because the local governments have to fund their activities, pay their teachers and healthcare workers.”