By IFEANYI OLANNYE
Asaba- Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday says he has not endorsed any aspirant for the governorship or any other position for the 2023 general election.
The governor who disclosed this during the quarterly media interactions in Asaba, said though, politicians were using his name to campaign but the fact remains that he had not endorsed anyone.
According to him, a level playing ground will be provided for all aspirants to contest without hitches.
He said that with the three delegates per ward and other statutory delegates, it would be difficult for anyone including himself to hijack the process.
On his presidential ambition, Okowa, said that he has not been led to run.
“As a politician, “I am calculative, besides, as a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the windows for nomination has closed.”
He noted that the state government was committed to completing all current and ongoing projects.
Okowa said that efforts were on to secure funds to address all the projects to hedge against inflation and continuous review of contracts due to rising costs.
He disclosed that the government recently applied for a bridging fund of N150 billion through the state House of Assembly to address issues of funding projects.
Okowa said that all projects to be executed and paid for with the funds were clearly itemised, adding that it would address issues of inflation and contract review due to rising cost of materials in the country.
According to him, the bridging fund is not a loan, it is a part of the N170 billion owed the state government by the Federal Government due from over deductions for the 13 per cent oil revenue derivations.
He said that the Federal Government had agreed to pay the funds in tranches on quarterly remittal starting from this April for a period of five years.
“Like other eight states that benefited from the funds, we decided to take a bridging finance to hedge against inflation.
“It is only a smart economic sense to get the finance and finish ongoing projects, it is called bridging finance because the money already is owed to us by the Federal Government.
“I do not have apologies to people who do not understand and talk ignorantly because we are not taking a fresh loan, we are transparent about it as proceed will be used for settlement of listed ongoing projects and part of pension arrears.
“If we do not attend to the projects now, there will be an upward review due to escalation of prices, this is what I really want to avoid,” he said.
Okowa, reacting to a statement credited to Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, on his administration spending of over N2 billion on political thugs, he cautioned politicians to always speak the truth.
He said that the total amount paid to all his aide was nowhere near one billion Naira adding that politicians must not hide under politics to tell the people what is not true.
The governor said that such high ranking politician and others should rather collaborate with government to seek the good of people of the state.
“Is Asaba and Okpanam no longer part of Delta North with the massive development done in the area that they alleged there is nothing to show?
“People should truly speak the truth and not to obviously lie because of politics,” Okowa said.
He said that his administration would not be distracted, adding that it is committed to delivering developmental projects till the last day in office.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, noted that journalists in the state had been very supportive in propagating the policies and programmes of the state government.
Aniagwu urged them to sustain the partnership.
Also, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, expressed appreciation to Okowa for his media friendly disposition.
He said that journalists in the state were very happy that the state government had done well in the secretariat of the union in the state. (NAN)