Home Opinion PDP’s 24 years in Delta: Not even 1 standard flyover bridge!

PDP’s 24 years in Delta: Not even 1 standard flyover bridge!

School pupils sitting on bare floor in classroom in Delta State

By Goodluck Edafe

BY May 29, 2023, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will be counting 24 years of governorship in Delta State. Chief James Ibori, who was the second civilian governor of the state, handed over state power to Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2007. And like a child’s play, Uduaghan took over power, took the state through some turbulent moments in history, and after spending another 8 years, handed power to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 to complete a 24 year circle of an inept PDP circles of administrations. As it is, as some concerned political analysts have submitted that the troika of the three PDP governments have jointly taken away 24 good years out of the life span of every average Deltan without any known positive impact in their lives. In a contemporary Nigerian state, a 24-year-old daughter would have become a mother of about five children and with the first born almost completing secondary school. But what did we get from the PDP in 24 years of governance in Delta State? Not even one standard flyover bridge!

Some recent pictures from Rivers State in public arena represent some of the newly built roads and 12 flyover bridges by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike. They are actually part of his achievements in less than eight years. The flyover bridges and roads reconstruction are built by the German construction giant, Julius Berger Nig. Limited, a company known for quality, durability and beauty. However, the contrary appears to be the case! For example, in Delta, we have had three PDP governors since 1999 yet in 24 years, there is no single flyover bridge in the state that meets the Wike’s imprimatur of quality and beauty. Anyone in doubt can visit the Effurun roundabout, near Warri and see a Delta model of flyover or Asaba the state capital which has been described as a glorified village in many quarters.

Governments all over the world are established to serve the needs of their people – think out the areas of need and then fill the gap. Prior to Governor Wike’s assumption of office, Rt. Hon Chibuike Ameachi, immediate past Minister of Transportation was governor of Rivers State in 2007. Ameachi took over the rein of power and made primary education and healthcare infrastructural development his own areas of priority. His ability to envision a development roamap witnessed a massive investment in the rebuilding and furnishing of all primary schools and healthcare centres in every community in Rivers State. At the moment, Rivers State to a reasonable extent, can be said to have addressed critical issues of primary school education and healthcare infrastructures. Ameachi within the same period, employed thirteen thousand (13,000) school teachers and about six thousand (6,000) medical doctors and nurses to service both sectors.

On its own part, Delta State by its nature and topography is blessed with rich agricultural landscape and it is a garri and starch producing state. Farming is the main, and indeed, the only factory in the state. Yet tragically, in the last 24years that the PDP has ruled the State, the PDP led government has no investment in farming that could lift up the agricultural potentials of the state! The government hasn’t been able to even elevate the production of garri into a major source of revenue neither has it been able to make the commodity affordable to most Deltans . Sadly, the garri production technique that has been in use since the 1960s still remains in use in a 2022 PDP led government of Delta State! Yet Delta State boast of highly educated men and women. That is the Sad irony! Painfully, the PDP-led Delta State Government appears to have no idea of the fact that in many ways, starch exports can be a major source of foreign exchange earnings. What a government! As it is, Delta is not reputed for any food production even with a vast area of fertile land abound across the length and breadth of the State. As at today, if Benue State does not convey produced yam to cities in Delta, the people of Delta would sadly have no yam to eat! Similarly, if Kano or Jigawa does not process its beans and transport same to towns in Delta State, there would be no beans in the oil-rich state. If Plateau does not give her tomatoes and onions, many Deltans would have to contend with meals without their good flavours! Is it not a thing of shame or irony that Benue State now supplies processed garri to Delta State and other Niger Delta states? Why do we as Deltans delude ourselves with the title of an oil producing state yet we control the oil neither do the people truly enjoy the revenue from oil!
Yes, by 29 May 2023, the PDP would have governed Delta for 24 years yet there is no tangible and indeed commendable physical infrastructure in the education and health sectors. For example, the Idjerhe Grammar in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, was established as a boarding school with adequate hostel facilities for boys and girls, a well-stocked library, a science laboratory and a massive poultry farm. Today, the hostel facilities have become open toilets and many of the classrooms blocks are without roof, while the two useable classroom blocks have no benches and writing boards for learning. Ordinarily, any serious minded government would have revitalized an institution like this for the development of the human manpower! The same Idjerhe has about 40 autonomous communities and a conservatively estimated human population of about one million people yet in 24 years of a PDP led government in Delta State, the jurisdiction known as Idjerhe has no single dependable healthcare centre in any of the communities to respond to the health challenges of the people, thus exposing them to untimely and avoidable death on a periodic basis. This narrative is the same in virtually many parts of the state, yet there is a PDP government that has received allocations from the federal government running into billions of naira. In the same vein, the government has also been collecting on behalf of the people billions of naira om account of the 13% derivation sharing formula. This is aside earnings from internally generated revenue!

Luckily, the very essence of democracy is that it is a system that requires normal people everywhere in the world to vote out bad, inefficient, and inept leaders or government and political party that is not serving the needs of the vast majority of the people. Twenty four (24) years is enough period of experiment with an evidently incompetent PDP government in Delta state. The PDP, as it is, has sufficiently shown it has no solution to the issues and challenges of development in Delta. Unfortunately, many PDP gladiators and acclaimed leaders appears to have lost sight of the fact that Delta has simply lost 24 years ! It has been a tragic story of stunted growth in the last 24 years! The political actors in these past 24 years seem to thrive mainly in mediocrity and quackery. And they mouth it with great pride that, “You don’t give power to intelligent people less you become irrelevant”. Chief Matthew Edevbie, MD/CEO, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution company, PHEDC once appropriately captured the pathetic situation when he described them as “Team 11th of eleven” in a public function in Port Harcourt. Matthew Edevbie was obviously referring to these set of politicians who cannot compete strictly on integrity and honour without the help of political thugs!

Sadly, for 24 years, Delta State chapter of the PDP appears to have had a field day as it reigned in all known logic, norms and standards, for years worse!Delta was fast assuming the uneviable status of a State with a sad history of intellectual deficiency! In 24 years, contracts sum were allegedly bloated and billions of naira frittered away into private pockets as published public accounts and judgements later revealed! Yet, the people are dying and have no factory to work. Even though some of our sons abd daughters have been thoroughly educated and have travelled to places like Dubai, Doha, Paris and other beautiful cities and countries, their conduct when entrusted with public offices appear to be less than salutary! They seem to be driven by pecuniary aims in thought and action and they appear to lack the much needed commitment to achieve laudable community goals for the good of the State.They need money but not the effort that creates money. They leap for joy and award to themselves vain titles when they construct roads that easily fade away in few months after the commissioning exercise!
Why has this been so?
According to a school of thought, Delta state PDP from its very foundation, was not known for merit, and consequently, for the past 24 years, it has not changed in orientation and ethical conduct. For illustrative purpose, in 2003, I went to visit a PDP lawmaker in the Delta State House of Assembly with a proposal for a bill for an act to prohibit government sponsorship of pilgrimage to the Holy land in Delta. I took time explaining to him the spiritual invalidity of the annual voyage, its constitutional violations, social injustice, economic wastage and corruption elements. And after a moment of silence, the lawmaker told me on the spot, “E nor go work”. No further word could suede him and so I left. Few days later, he narrated his experience to somebody that: “I just carry waka come from Port Harcourt that he should come and sponsor a bill to prohibit government sponsorship of pilgrimage when he is planning to go for pilgrimage. That kind thing go work?” He had asked rhetorically. In actual reality, the lawmaker actually went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem but the journey till today has not produced in him any form of righteousness. It is a case of moral failure. It’s the trademark of Delta PDP – mediocrity and mind emptiness. In a similar show of shame, another PDP lawmaker from Ethiope West came to Jesse a few years ago with a two meter size caravan tagged, “PDP water spot”. The project, which seemed to have failed from the very beginning and was touted a constituency project was designed to distribute N5 sachet water to market women on every four market days. The project, which speaks about the quality of persons the PDP pushes into government in Delta actually made a mockery of the PDP, whose insignia was boldly shown on the body of the caravan. Till it eventually died, the project never distributed sachets water a second time more than the three bags it distributed on the very day it was launched. And until Chief (Senator) Ovie Omo-Agege recovered his stolen mandate, the PDP Senator who was at the Senate, was not known for any effective legislative representation. For the period he stayed at the Senate, before he was eventually removed, the senator remained one of those without any known bill to his credit! Without a single motion or bill passed in his honour! The PDP has actually raised people who have become lions only at home.

As it is, we no longer need politicians who jumped from streets corners into becoming Commissioners and Assembly members, Politicians who take us for an enemy for telling them the truth about their political irresponsibility and mismanagement of our common wealth, Politicians who become overnight millionaires by stealing from our common wealth, Politicians who celebrate to high heaven invaluable chieftaincy titles that are daily thrown at whoever has few naira and kobo to display.

For 24 years, a PDP led government was not known to have provided a citizen’s driven transformation. There are no social amenities, no electricity, no low cost housing estates, no pipe-borne water, no transportation services and no commendable improvement in the health and education sectors. In spite of all this, some unstable minds have said that both PDP and APC are the same. To the extent that the APC has some PDP defectors, I can agree but until the PDP goes down, our State will not experience true development and it will not occur to Delta politicians that there is democracy in the country. As Prof Wole Soyinka puts it “If the APC is not the answer to our problems, there is no reason going back to the instigators of the problems” he actually calls the PDP a “gathering of deceit”. Can anyone deny the fact that the PDP has plundered our state in the last 24 years? “There is a time for everything” they say. It’s time to vote out the PDP and its government out of power and allow Delta State to breathe fresh air.

•Edafe, writes from Port Harcourt.

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