Ahead of the 2019 general elections and accumulated anger from the 2015 governorship election, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa last Tuesday showed his chameleon nature when he brought officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to Asaba, the state capital to grill and arrest former officials of the immediate past administration of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan and perceived political opponents.
The EFCC officials, our reporter reliably learned arrived the state capital, Asaba, Tuesday and were lodged in a hotel by the Principal Secretary (PS) to Governor Okowa, who has taken over as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem, said to be working under the instructions of the governor.
The commission officials who spent two days in Asaba were stationed at the office of the figurehead Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr. Ovie Agas, were former Permanent Secretaries who served under the Uduaghan’s-led administration and staffers of the Ministry of Science and Technology among others were vigorously grilled.
A visit by our reporter to the SSG’s office on Wednesday and Thursday, the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Tony Obuh, some former Permanent Secretaries and officials of the immediate past government, staffers of the Ministry Science and Technology and others were seen around the SSG’s office waiting to be grilled.
It was reliably learned that shortly after the two days grilling, the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Obuh and two other persons were arrested by the EFCC operatives and whisked away to Abuja for further questioning.
Impeccable staffers at the office of the SSG and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice who pleaded anonymity confided in our reporter that Permanent Secretaries in all ministries were ordered to submit all relevant government documents to the EFCC operatives at the grilling centre at the SSG’s office.
“The SSG’S office was converted to temporary office of EFCC for the two days. Though all the documents were first taken to our office, the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice by all the Permanent Secretaries where some vital documents that could erroneously implicate the governor were removed and the remaining sent to the centre. The team was actually brought in by the governor since Tuesday and were lodged in a hotel. Currently, the targets are those who were used against the governor during the 2015 elections especially those who contested with him during the PDP governorship primaries.
“In the next few weeks, another set of the operatives of the commission will be visiting the state again to invite and carry more investigations on more persons seen as obstacle to the governor before, during and after the elections. In our ministry here, the governor has already directed our commissioner and we are collating documents and other papers to be forwarded to anti-corruption agencies to arrest and prosecute some officials of the immediate past administration. Government officials have been warned not to speak to any Journalist on the issue.” a staff at the Justice ministry stated.
It was gathered that, Governor Okowa who is particularly not happy with his predecessor for sponsoring the likes of the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba and former 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Obuh and others against him during the PDP primaries has vowed to use anti-corruption agents to hurt those who stood against him.
One of the officials of the commission who refused to mention his name confided in our reporter that they are in the state on the invitation of the state governor to investigate some persons especially officials of the past administration as well as lawmakers.
“For the past two days we have been in town scrutinizing relevant government documents both for contracts award and others in the conference room of the office of the Secretary to the State Government. Some officials of the former administration were invited and documents were tendered which we scrutinized. We shall be back again but for the now we are going with the former Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba, Mr. Obuh and two other persons to our office in Abuja.” the EFCC official stated.
It was gathered that next in line to be invited for grilling, is the former Speaker and 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Victor Ochei who is now member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as relevant documents concerning the award of the controversial multi-billion naira Delta state Independent Power Plant (IPP) contract have been submitted to the commission by the state governor.
When contacted, the state commissioner for information, Mr. Patrick Ukah said he was not aware and promised to get in touch with the SSG and get back but never did while the SSG Mr. Ovie Agas, hanged on his phone immediately our reporter mentioned the issue.
Contacted, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman for EFCC confirmed the story.
I have read this report about three times but I still do not understand why the writer of this piece has chosen to fault a credible probe being conducted by the EFCC on public officers of the past Delta State administration? Is this journalist of view that the conduct of investigation by the EFCC is improper? This report is inarticulate and least expected of a focused journalist.
I guess there is some skewed intention behind this story, otherwise, the reporter should have focused on investigating the allegations against the men rather than baselessly attempting to defend them on an issue he has no knowledge about. If the truth be told, no credible media should allow its reporter to write such a story that clearly suggests that the main objective is to protect some persons from being investigated on allegations of corruption.
One question for the publisher or management of this very informative online media is whether they reviewed this report before publishing it? The contents of this story do not in anyway conform with our collective quest to fight on corruption.
Immediately, I saw the title of this story “Okowa: The Leopard That Will Never Change His Skin”, I knew that contents of the article would not make much sense because I really do not know how and where leopards change their skin. Even if the author of this story had meant ‘change spots’. I still doubt if leopards change their spots. So why link a man to a leopard that will neither changes skin(sic) nor spots. The reporter of this story missed it where he attempted to protect Tony Obuh and company from being investigated by the Nation’s crime fighting agency.
I was at almost at the point of withdrawing my support my support for the Delta state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa regardless of the obvious reality that his administration is performing well because of the government’s reluctance in examining the financial dealings and books of the immediate past government of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on the supposition that they is a bond friendship between the two men. Nevertheless, this intervention of the EFCC whether initiated by Okowa or the petition by an anti corruption crusader is highly commendable. The common good of Deltans should be placed first place before personal relationships especially for good governance.
That the Ex Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration is largely tagged a rogue leadership which operated with so much impunity and gross lack of accountability on public funds is an indisputable fact. I just hope this reporter is correct in the news reporting that the EFCC has finally remembered that Deltans deserve their attention on the Buhari’s anticorruption fight.
In as much as I do not believe the writer’s postulation that Dr. Okowa initiated this bold step. However, it is commendable that some Delta citizens in the so called ‘anti Corruption and Integrity, group are helping Dr. Okowa to understand that it will be very difficult for him to move Delta forward if his predecessor, Emmanuel Uduaghan is not made to refund the State’s stolen wealth.
It is common knowledge that the past Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan ran the financial affairs of Delta state like a personal empire and the many allegations of theft of the State resources are all over the internet as flooded by journalists. So, why should any credible Nigerian journalist pretend as if it is an abnormality to probe some people that worked closely with Uduaghan. Is that not what President Buhari is doing and people are refunding what is not theirs? The Government of Uduaghan is overdue for a comprehensive probe and I blame both the ICPC and EFCC for the long delay. Please this writer should rethink his ignoble actions of dismissing the good efforts of the EFCC
I am yet to see where the Delta State government has conducted itself inappropriately. Already, I have read in another media that it is not even Dr. Okowa that invited the EFCC but a Delta State based anti corruption NGO led by one Mr. Kpokpogiri. Please reporters should be mindful of the stories they churn out. It is disgusting read an article that is against the fight on Corruption. Governor Okowa should stay focused as this report is just a distraction
This story exposes a journalist’s attempt to convince readers through the use of lies and very weak logic. Why should any journalist find interest in doing a story that tends to diminish a good corruption fight? Does this writer understand that he has just done great disservice to the corruption battle of the Nigeria government? We should allow the EFCC work for the interest of Deltans.
What is the writer suggesting with the caption of this story? Is it consistency or inconsistency about Okowa? If really the author’s assumption that Governor Okowa invited the EFCC to the State to assist conduct a probe is true, does that make him a man of questionable integrity or well intended administrator? I guess this writer would have been comfortable with the covering up of allegations on fraud, yet he claims to work for an impartial media outfit.
This narration that describes Governor Dr. Okowa of Delta state as having both the traits of Chameleon and Leopard is a very poor attempt in the use of idiomatic expressions. Aside the fact that these two animals have contrasting characters, the story contains a bunch of irrelevance and uncoordinated issues. My understanding is that the author has sympathy for Okowa’s seeming political opponents and the motivation for such cannot be far fetched.
If this reporter had properly narrated the investigations being carried out by the EFCC in an objective approach, perhaps, such would have given readers the opportunity to reach a conclusion on whether the actions of the EFCC are inappropriate or not. Unfortunately, the writer did a bad work in trying to make readers believe that conducting preliminary investigation on a subject of alleged financial wrongdoing is also an offence or erroneous measure. Too bad for investigative journalism.
I love this article and some terms used by the writer like ‘vigorously drilled’ and ‘grilled’ to describe the actions of the EFCC officials on those under investigation, It really does suggest that it will not be business as usual. My only disagreement with the opinion of the writer is the insinuation that this probe issue may be politically motivated. On this, I say a big NO. Deltans are jubilating over this EFCC visit already.
Kudos to Mr. Magu, the acting Chair of the EFCC. This action of the EFCC may help debunk the speculation that a top ranking officer of the EFCC is behind the age long delay in Ex Governor Uduaghan’s probe. This really shows that no single individual gas the capacity to bury the truth within the EFCC.
According to the reporter “It was gathered that next in line to be invited for grilling, is the former Speaker and 2015 PDP governorship aspirant, Mr. Victor Ochei who is now member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as relevant documents concerning the award of the controversial multi-billion naira Delta state Independent Power Plant (IPP) contract have been submitted to the commission by the state governor”. I pray the EFCC does not relent on this because this is where to commence the Delta probe from. Victor Ochie has ran to the APC thinking that such will exonerate him from investigation. We are waiting and watching as the said billions of naira Ochie’s company, Davnotch collected from the Uduaghan administration was never expended on what it was meant for. Yet, the same Victor Ochie is there boasting that he is above scrutiny.
Liberty of speech or press freedom is good for every democratic setting and I believe that it is under such an umbrella that granted the reporter of this piece the assumed privilege to over stretch the limits of democratic ideals by portraying the initiated probe of aides of the former governor of Delta State, Dr. Uduaghan to look like an abhorrence whereas it is a very right step to cleanse a rotten financial system inherited by Okowa.
This probe will no doubt will bring real growth to Delta state especially now that it has been thrust into a situation where it is struggling with payment of salaries. The alleged billions of naira in Uduaghan’s coffers may find its way back into the Delta treasury if the EFCC does what is expected of it. The person that wrote this article does not understand the magnitude of financial accusations against Dr. Uduaghan that has not been given appropriate attention.
For me, I do not agree with this report that there is any ill motive on this probe issue. In fact, it good that the reporter stated that documents on the Uduaghan’s administration are being collected for investigation and prosecution and not persecution. This is actually a very transparent process and nobody should hold any grudge against anyone on this.
The story is an attempt to fight the ongoing EFCC’s probe in Delta involving Tony Obuh, victor ochie etc. in reality, these men allegedly got involved in messing up delta state resourses. Fine job by the EFCC.
It is very good that the activities of Governor Uduaghan’s administration are being investigated, Indeed, the silence of the EFCC and ICPC over the bounty accusations on him was becoming deafening and very worrisome. It is incorrect for anyone to say that Dr. Okowa is on a victimization mission because the many documents in the public domain are sufficient for immediate arrest of the erstwhile governor and all those that were involved in all the allegedly misdeeds of that administration.
Whether Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent governor of Delta State invited the EFCC or not should not have been a worry for this analyst as either way, it is a credible measure. Also, the assumption that the EFCC was invited to probe “innocent” political rivals not only exposes the intellectual hollowness of this reporter on investigative journalism but suggests that he is limitedly informed on the extent of damage the Uduaghan’s administration inflicted on the treasury of Delta State.
I am very disappointed, the writer did not mention the name of Dr. Ashiedu, the infamous Micro Credit Special Adviser to Ex. Gov Uduaghan on the list of those he speculated would be probed in the next visit of the EFCC. For emphasis, this is a then top government official that allegedly converted over One billion naira given to the State by the CBN for micro credit scheme to advance the political interest of Tony Obuh in the Governorship primaries. The records are there and it should not escape the knowledge of the EFCC please. This woman should be immediately investigated and probed before she concludes her plan to join the APC in belief that such would save her from being prosecuted.
Issorite! The Ashiedu misdeed is no secret in Delta state. Her claims of building a shoe factory with money she misappropriated and embezzled is easy to verify as the said non functional factory she claimed consumed 900 million naira in her village cannot be realistically valued for more than fifty million naira including the land she got for almost free from her people. Dr. Ashiedu should be ‘drilled and grilled’ alongside other suspects. Guess she thought that her unexplainable relationship with Ex Gov, Uduaghan would have forced the members of the Delta House of Assembly to endorse a project which would make CBN soft loan for micro credit become a loan for fraudulent macro funding. Too bad! Whilst awaiting the CBN to investigate how the resources provided were utilized, a measure which s over due for monitoring, I am deeply disturbed to learn that Ashiedu is already funding the negative propaganda against Governor Okowa because her plea to refund 200 million naira was rejected and now she wants to spend it for the APC opposition. The EFCC and Nigerians must be clear eyed on this allegation and should point their searchlights on Dr, Ashiedu new dubious interests.
This lengthy story conveys no objective analysis and it seems to advance the falsehood that anywhere some persons are being probed it most be on the premise of political intimidation. I am shocked this story escaped the quality scrutiny of the publishers of this well visited and highly reputable online media. The visit of the EFCC to Delta State should be highly commended as it clearly shows that the Crime fighting agency is still efficient.
That the Delta State government purportedly lodged the EFCC officials in a hotel and provided accommodation for them on an assignment that would help the State is a most appropriate thing to do. I guess that if the reverse was the case, the popular story that Governor Okowa has been shielding his party fellow, Dr. Uduaghan from prosecution would have been confirmed and made headline news item. Infact, the skewed remark of the reporter that the Principal Secretary (PS) to Governor Okowa, Mr. Hilary Ibegbulem facilitated the office used is highly misplaced as this is an official task that was appropriately conducted or would it have been proper for the EFCC officials to work under a tree? The accommodation extended to them is not out of place, after all less important visitors to the State are given accommodation. The EFCC officers should be extended more comfort in their next visit to enable them work very well and produce results that will help the State Government recover the billions of looted naira that will help Delta State continue the good work of this focused administration of Okowa.
Good, articulate and objective response but it is certainly very a difficult question for the initiator of this article. I guess it should have been reduced to a simple inquiry of YES Or NO regarding if he was economically induced to do such a very weak journalistic analysis!