Controversial politician and former Deputy National Chairman of defunct Ali Modu Sheriff-led factional PDP, Chief Cairo Ojougboh has raised a weighty allegations against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, alleging that the governor since inception has been running the budget without a budget passed by the state House of Assembly.
But reacting swiftly, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu said Ojougboh was an unrepentant lair and was out to blackmail the governor.
According to Aniagwu, the governor signed the passed the budget into law on Tuesday March 14, 2017 at a brief but impressive ceremony at the Exco chambers of the Government house, Asaba and had strictly implemented the budget in accordance with the estimates earmarked by the lawmakers.
In a worded open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, obtained by BigPen Online, Ojougboh fingered the state House of Assembly in the alleged scandal, alleging that the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Sherrif Oborevwori merely signed only the last page of the budget and returned same to the Government; the Government then fills in the blank arbitrarily and apportions appropriation at will.
He also alleged that the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the Delta State House of Assembly and the entire members have not sighted the budget break down and estimates as the conventional practice, adding that the actions of the Speaker with the active connivance of the Government amounts to issuance of a blank 2017 budget and appropriation for Delta State.
Ojougboh who recently defected to the APC, however called on President Buhari to immediately direct the EFCC, DSS, ICPC and Code of Conduct to conduct investigation into the allegations saying that Delta State is dying under Okowa’s administration.
The Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Aniagwu however, dismissing the allegations, said the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Erhitiake Ibori, who presented the report of the budget before it was passed and break down the figures as follows:
“But for the records let’s make it clear that the Delta State House of Assembly, in February 2017 passed the 2017 appropriation bill of N294, 457, 40, 477 billion”.
“The break down shows recurrent to be N158, 030,660,828 billion while capital is N136, 443,379,649 billion”.
“The passed budget showed an increase of over N23 billion from the initial amount of N270, 910,982,233 presented by the Governor to the assembly in November 2016”.
Below is the full open letter by Cairo Ojougboh to President Muhammadu Buhari
An open letter to Buhari on how Okowa is running Delta State without a budget
4th October, 2017
Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR)
President Federal Republic of Nigeria,
AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA MOHAMMADU BUHARI (GCFR) ON THE ISSUANCE OF A BLANK BUDGET BY THE DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY TO THE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE.
The above subject matter refers;
Mr. President, it is with heavy heart distress and grief that I write you this letter, Mr. President; I am an Indigene of Agbor, Ika South L.G.A of Delta State, former member of the House of Representatives, former Presidential Liaison Officer to the Senate and SSA to the President, former National Vice Chairman South South of the PDP and immediate past National Deputy Chairman of the PDP. This is to bring to your notice the hydra headed corruption and malignant impunity that is currently dancing and celebrating in the Delta State House of Assembly.
Mr. President, ten (10) members of the Delta State House of Assembly informed me (in strict confidence; that their names and families be protected) of the high level of fraud that is currently ongoing in their legislative House where they ply their trade as Law makers. According to them they were emboldened when they learnt that I had left the PDP on 16th September 2017 and they felt the urgent need to now confide in me that I have left the PDP.
The very important issue at hand is that the members confessed to me that up till 3rd day of October they have not seen, sighted or read a copy of the Delta State 2017 budget.
The Hon. Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Sherrif Oborevwori signed only the last page of the budget and returned same to the Government; the Government then fills in the blank arbitrarily and apportions appropriation at will.
The Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the Delta State House of Assembly and the entire members have not sighted the budget break down and estimates as the conventional practice, the actions of the Speaker with the active connivance of the Government amounts to issuance of a blank 2017 budget and appropriation for Delta State.
Mr. President, I dare any member of the Delta State House of Assembly to produce a copy of the approved budget estimate signed by the Chairman Appropriation Committee, the Clark and the Speaker, let any member display same on any website.
Mr. President, I had the opportunity to speak with Prof. Sam Oyovbaire on issues of impunity and corruption in Delta State. For your information Prof. Sam Oyovbaire presented Dr. Okowa to the Urhobo nation and Okowa was accepted by the Urhobos due to the person of Prof. Sam Oyovbaire.
I told Prof. Sam Oyovbaire that he has a name and integrity to protect, that he should disassociate himself from the mess going on in Delta State.
I therefore in all humility call on Mr. President who is credited by the International Committee not to own a single house and bank account outside Nigeria, who won the presidential general election against an incumbent President due to your anti – corruption credentials to kindly deploy your good offices to cause a thorough investigation into the fraud currently in Delta State through the Blank Budget and appropriations issued by the Delta State House of Assembly by the anti graft agencies.
Mr. President, I am 58 years old, a soldier of truth, if I cannot stand to defend my people on matters of this nature and injustice, then I will not be fair to my God and conscience. It is most excruciating and painful that our hard earned State resources are being stolen in broad day light.
Mr. President, I humbly on behalf of the good people of Delta State plead and solicit of you to passionately cause and direct the relevant Government Agencies to investigate the above allegation against the Delta State House of Assembly.
I want to assure you, as the 2019 general election draws near, that over two (2) million votes are at stake in Delta State, your reward for addressing the fraud in Delta State shall be total unequivocal support for you and your Government and your Great Party the APC.
Mr. President, Delta State is dying. Kingly direct the EFCC, DSS, ICPC and Code of Conduct to investigate.
Kindly accept the assurances of my highest esteem.
Dr Cairo Ojougboh
Below is full statement by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s Chief Press Secretary, debunking the allegations
We are very much aware that as the 2019 polls draw near, the likes of Cairo Ojougboh who obviously are intimidated by the modest achievement of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa even in the midst of national recession would resort to outright blackmail.
Governor Okowa has made it clear that he and his team shall remain focused and committed to the delivery of programmes of government as spelt out in the SMART agenda.
But for the records let’s make it clear that the Delta State House of Assembly, in February 2017 passed the 2017 appropriation bill of N294, 457, 40, 477 billion.
The break down shows recurrent to be N158, 030,660,828 billion while capital is N136, 443,379,649 billion.
The passed budget showed an increase of over N23 billion from the initial amount of N270, 910,982,233 presented by the Governor to the assembly in November 2016.
The Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Erhitiake Ibori, who presented the report of the budget before it was passed had this to say “the committee received and collated inputs, observations and recommendations from the various sub-committees and considered them one after the other, which were used in arriving at certain decisions as proposed estimates were reduced to certain areas to effect increase in other critical areas of specific needs”.
According to her, “the reasons for the increase in the budget size stems from envisaged increase in accruable income from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), owing to the global oil prices increase.
Hon. Erhitiake also attributed the increase to the Senate approval of USD 44.5 per barrel at N305 exchange rate which is at variance with the state USD 42.5 per barrel at N297 exchange rate in Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) document”.
The governor signed the passed budget into law on Tuesday March 14, 2017 at a brief but impressive ceremony at the Exco chambers of the Government house, ASABA.
Governor Okowa has strictly implemented the budget in accordance with the estimates earmarked by the lawmakers.
ANIAGWU CHARLES, CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO GOVERNOR OKOWA