Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, last weekend, precisely, September 16, literally shut down Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to celebrate the award bestowed on him by University of Ibadan Alumni Association with state funds running into hundreds of millions of naira lavished on fanfare.
Meanwhile, mixed reactions have continued to trail the “outrageous” spending by the Governor on the award ceremony in which all Delta State Government paraphernalia of office were deployed.
BigPen Online was told by multiple sources who attended the “frivolous trip”, that Okowa’s large outlays, in the ceremony was part of his 2019 reelection political horse trading and campaign for a second term.
However, the promotional adverts about the “governor’s achievement” cited as reason for the honored now appear like a scam.
At the ceremony, Governor Okowa however, gave a very powerful lecture to herald the fanfare, entitled: “Good Governance for Wealth Creation and Sustainable Development: Experience and Lessons”, which unfortunately betrayed his personal disposition about governance.
One of Okowa’s senior aide on youth and community development who pleaded anonymity for fear of being victimize, said that the ceremony would continued to be a subject of discourse in Ibadan ostensibly because of its extravagant and extraordinary nature.
The source revealed that all guest invited by the Governor were lodged in posh hotels for two days fully booked for with state funds.
Our source said that if Okowa can hype a “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award” so loudly as this, what would happen if he bag a media or non-partisan organization “award of recognition”.
“It is not unusual for a Governor to travel with retinue of aides but what happened last week Saturday was like “burning our money in frivolities” because this award has no bearing whatsoever on Delta State.
“As Alumnus of UI, he has made his mark and is being recognized base on that but as a Governor it has no bearing here. He was not recognized because he has made mark in Delta but because he made UI proud by attaining the feat as Governor. That’s all!
A PDP chieftain and aide to Okowa who spoke to one of our correspondent in a telephone conversation said: “It appear roll call was to be taken for those who were sorted to attend the ceremony so if you are not around they take you as someone who is against the Governor.
“So base on that, all local government Chairmen, all Commissioners, all House of Assembly members, Aides of the Governor, selected traditional rulers, PDP Leaders, elders, Youths leaders just name it were all in Ibadan at the expense of Deltans. The mobilization was massive, it was in solidarity but that ceremony bled the state treasury and I’m shocked how they spent the money as if we were already on election year, “the aide said.
A principal member of the State House of Assembly who was not too comfortable with the whole arrangement, confided in one of our correspondent, that event was a mere show of “financial muscle” by the governor who has always complained about dwindling monthly allocation.
“No doubt, Delta state spent a fortune in that “Ibadan luxury event”. Do you know that the Agbor cultural trope that entertained guests at the event was imported all the way from Delta State to Ibadan, some waitress were also imported from Lagos and outside our shores, it was like a carnival. It was the Governor who bankrolled the entire award ceremony, the lectures, the gala night, the luncheon, everything was a bash.
“If you see the award brochure alone you will know they spend tens of millions of naira on the ceremony. Come and see how they wasted our money in this “award package”.
“The award fanfare shook Oyo State, residents of that state were amazed by the huge spending Okowa lavished on guests. Persons went home with ‘estacode’ in this trip. Some got N250, 000, N200, 000, N150, 000 and N100, 000 each depending on your category.
“I can tell you categorically that tens of millions of naira was lavished on that trip and I stand to be corrected, but close to a billion naira was expended in the award fanfare, a Council Chairman from Delta central who attended the event and didn’t want his name reflected in this report for fear of victimization said.