Two Pedestrian Flyovers To Be Constructed In Asaba

The Delta State Government has announced plans to construct two pedestrian flyovers across the Asaba end of the Benn-Asaba-Onitsha Express Road.

The State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, disclosed this at the ongoing Ministerial Press Briefing to address the press on the activities and achievements of his ministry at the Ministry of Information Conference Hall in Asaba.

Dr Emu, who was responding to questions raised on alleged abandonment of the Bonsaac- Asaba Aluminum axis of the capital territory, stated that the state government had plans for every part of the territory, saying the flyover would be sited at the Summit and Koka end of the express road, saying that when completed, they would check the risk of pedestrians crossing the express road.

While affirming that more would come in due course, Dr. Emu also disclosed that the government was currently scouting for land across the express road to establish school and markets for residents of the area.

Throwing more light on the budgetary allocation to Isoko nation, the Commissioner debunked the allegation that only one percent provision was made, explaining that when the specific and general allocations were put together, the provision amounted to over four percent.

Speaking on the ongoing construction of flood drains in Asaba, the Economic Planning Commissioner said that the project would last for one year, would cause some discomfort to residents and motorists, but it would be worth it at the end.

Dr. Emu described road construction across the state by the state government as outstanding, saying that the quantum of projects going on had made the entire state a quality construction site.

On the budgetary performance of the state in the out gone year, the Commissioner, reeling out statistics as back up, stated that the state budgetary performance had gone up significantly scoring about 70 percent.

He affirmed that the Contributory Health Scheme was now more robust, indicating that it covered all packages of health policies ranging from primary to secondary and tertiary.

The Commissioner for Economic Planning stated that Delta State Government has adopted International Best practices in Budget preparation processes to enhance the passing and achievement of the State Budget.

Re: Concerns of Isoko Pressure Group on 2018 Budget

My attention has been drawn to the concerns raised by ISOKO PRESSURE AND GOOD GOVERNANCE GROUP on the 2018 budget.

While it is encouraging for citizens’ involvement and engagement in the budgeting process it is also advisable for us to have a better understanding of a budgeting process.

The erroneous 1% claim which is actually 2.8% is only in capital expenditure that is so spelt out for specific interventions. There are omnibus subheads in ministries of works, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Job Creation, Basic and Higher Education, Water Resources, Commerce, Micro Credit. More importantly, there are key provisions of N1.5bn and N1.3bn for social security and community development which are also for capital expenditure (whose computation by the group was distorted) in the same budget for all the 25 LGAs.

Isoko nation is one of the few local governments that have the benefit of drawing from two key budgets of Delta State and DESOPADEC. DESOPADEC has a budgetary provision of N28bn as capital expenditure for which the Isoko nation is a legitimate beneficiary.The authors most probably were unaware or uninformed, whether erroneously or deliberately, on all of these provisions. In light of this, the conclusion of this group cannot bear the burden of explanation of negligence.

In budgeting, it is impossible to identify all the issues and areas of intervention in one year and that accounts for the use of omnibus. We now have a responsibility to do an enlightenment programme for genuine citizens to educate them on budgets and budgeting process.

I would like to commend the representatives of the Isoko nation for their understanding of governance and how it works and also enjoin them to embark on advocacy in this area irrespective of such politically motivated write-ups.

We must separate serious issues of the economy from politics for obvious reasons.

Signed:
Dr. Kingsley Emu
HC Budget and Planning

Why Delta Placed 2nd In NCCN Rating Among Other States -Emu

Concrete facts have emerged on the achievements of the Delta State Government that made it possible for the state to be placed on the 2nd position behind Lagos State among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), in partnership with Ford Foundation and Tony Elumelu Foundation, recently released the Sub-National Index Overall State Ranking for 2017  which saw Delta closely occupying the 2nd slot on the table behind Lagos State.

Addressing a press conference in Asaba on Tuesday at the Ministry of Information conference hall, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, disclosed that four critical parameters were used by the independent body to arrive at its final decision.

He revealed that Delta State placed tops on Human Capital Overall Ranking (Education, Health, Migration and Gender Equality), 5th on Infrastructure Overall Ranking (Roads, Electricity, Airport, Telecom, Waste and Water), 23rd on Economy Overall Ranking (Access to Finance, State Finances, Business Sophistication and Tax),  and 7th on Institution Overall Ranking (Security, Transparency, Justice, Corruption and Permits).

The Economic Planning Commissioner, who was accompanied by his Information counterpart, Mr. Patrick Ukah, stated that a total contract sum of N170,412,772,742.90 has so far been awarded by the state government on the construction of 149 roads of 764.39 kilometres and 225.59 kilometres of drains.

Dr. Emu stated that N37,637,333,366.09 is for 49 roads of 252.12 kilometres and 55.31 kilometres of drains in Delta Central, N51,458,906,454.84 for 65 roads of 325.43 kilometres and 126.02 kilometres of drains in Delta North, and N81,316,532,921.97 for 35 roads totaling 186.84 kilometres and 44.26 kilometres of drains in Delta South.

He specifically said that a total of 67.58 kilometres of roads and 34.43 kilometres of drains are currently ongoing in the riverine areas of the state with a view to linking the dwellers there with people living upland for both economic and social integration.

Some of them are the Trans Warri- Ode-Itsekiri Access Roads Phase 1: Section 1 Ubeji to Ode-Itsekiri Roundabout with Spurs to Ijala Ugbodede, Orugbo and Ajigba – Inorin – Usele Communities and Section 11(iii) Ode-Itsekiri Internal Roads, construction of Oporoza Palace Road in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area and the construction of Burutu Township Roads in Burutu Local Government Area.

Others are rehabilitation/widening of Access Road to Beneku community, Ndokwa East, main axial road in Okerenkoko, Warri South West, construction of internal roads in Ikpide-Irri community, Isoko South, construction of rigid concrete pavement at Obitobon-Elolo-Ajaokurogbo-Orubu Road, Ogidigben, Warri South West, construction of Okenrekoko township roads (Phase 11), Warri South West and the rehabilitation and asphalt overlay of the Obutobo1-Obutobo11-Sokebolou-Yokri road,  Burutu Local Government Area.

Dr. Emu revealed that the state has a total of 1,121 public primary schools and 463 public secondary schools with a total population of 443,813 and 326,004 respectively, adding that the state also has 4882 students and 1,094 trainees in its 6 Technical Colleges and 4 Vocational Centres respectively.

He further said that so much work, in terms of physical structures such as new classrooms, renovation of existing ones and provision of furniture, are ongoing at a high scale as well as content issues.

The Economic Planning Commissioner noted with joy that what is outstanding is that all these are being done in a recession and at a time our resources as a state are at the lowest ebb arising from the Niger Delta crisis as evident in our rating on Economy within the time under review.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, in his contribution, attributed all the lofty achievements of the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led administration in the state to the prudent management of available resources by the Governor.

Mr. Ukah said that the ranking did not come to him as a surprise as Governor Okowa is determined more than ever before to take the state to greater heights in order to earn more recognitions from other reputable independent organisations across the country and beyond.

Political Appointees Don’t Outnumber Civil Servants In Delta State – Edevbie

DELTA State Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie has debunked claims that political appointees are more than civil servants in the state.

In a press briefing for the break-down of the 2018 budget proposal which was recently sent to the Delta State House of Assembly by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Olorogun Edevbie said the Delta State Government has 2, 203 political appointees with the sum of N382 million as salary while the state has 45, 000 civil servants that gulps N4.5 billion monthly as salary.

“I find it funny when some persons say that political appointees are more than civil servants in the state, we are running an open-door policy, the state has 2, 203 political appointees and 45, 000 civil servants, the number of public servants are not included,” the Commissioner said.

The Commissioner who briefed the press with his Information, and Economic Planning counterparts, Mr Patrick Ukah and Dr Kingsley Emu respectively, urged Deltans to always verify their information.

On the debt profile of the Delta State Government, Olorogun Edevbie said, “about N100 billion are owed contractors, though, no one is happy about the situation, His Excellency, Dr Okowa has approved that contractors, especially, those whose money are not much should be paid.”

He also answered questions concerning contractors whose jobs were terminated because of their incompetence, stating, “we are aware that it is not enough to determine a contract and re-award same to a more competent contractor; such contractor deserves to be prosecuted and blacklisted but, you know in Nigeria, people will always intervene when such happens; we must give the Governor Okowa’s administration credit for insisting that the right thing be done, if you are not competent as a contractor, the contract will be given to a more competent one and you know it takes a lot for certain decisions to be taken, this is my own personal opinion.”

On the issue of the Asaba/Okpanam road, Olorogun Edevbie disclosed that the contract passed through due process and it was not done to favour certain individuals, disclosing that the contractor handling the project has been mobilised to go back to site.

“I am very sure that the contractor in charge of the Asaba/Okpanam road project is not acting as a front for government, the job was awarded because, the company has executed similar projects in other parts of the country; just few days ago, we mobilised him to go back to site and I am very confident that in the next few days, work will recommence on the project,” he said.

Job Creation Office, One Of The Greatest Achievements Of Governor Okowa – Emu

DELTA State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Kingsley Emu has said that the establishment of the Job Creation Office is one of the greatest achievements of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.

Addressing Journalists in a 2018 budget break-down in Asaba, Dr Emu observed that the greatest threat to Nigeria is teeming number of youths including, graduates who are jobless, noting that with the Job Creation Office, Governor Okowa’s administration had ensured that most Deltans are not only engaged but, have become employers of labour.

The Commissioner briefed the press with his Information, and Finance counterparts, Mr Patrick Ukah and Olorogun David Edevbie respectively.

According to the Commissioner, “through the Job Creation Office, a lot of persons have become employers of labour and we cannot quantify the benefits of having a healthy and working population.”

“We are here to sufficiently inform you about the 2018 budget which has been presented to the Delta State House of Assembly; the budget as crafted, provides for how to manage the activities of government throughout the year,” he said, adding, “the sum of N147, 487, 809, 897 which is 49.48 per cent of the budget will be spent on recurrent while capital expenditure will take the sum of N150, 590, 669, 000 billion which is 50.52 per cent of the budget.”

He disclosed that under recurrent expenditure, personnel cost will be N64, 352, 187, 136, overhead costs – N46, 837, 529, 552; consolidated revenue fund – N36, 298, 093, 210 stating that as it concerns capital expenditure, economic will gulp N37, 952, 119, 208; social – N28, 694, 720, 207, environmental – N35, 251, 858, 990; general administration – N17, 691, 970, 595; DESOPADEC – N28 Billion; contingency fund – N3 Billion.

On the sources of revenue to finance the proposed budget, Dr Emu said the sum of N1, 194, 460, 212 will be raised from the internally generated revenue; statutory allocation N18, 056, 627, 329; value added tax – N251, 745, 067 and other capital receipts – N37, 893, 899, 556

Olorogun Edevbie at the briefing, threw light on the Paris Club refund received by the Delta State government saying, “we received N33.5 Billion being the total amount refunded, N7 Billion of that sum belong to the local government councils which we gave to them, N13 Billion was spent on capital projects while N12.3 Billion was spend on salaries and pensions.”

Govt. Committed To Constructing Schools Where They Are Needed – Ebie

Under Okowa, Prudence Guides Government’s Every Action – Emu

At his inauguration into office on May 29, 2015, the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, pledged new ways of doing things. And he has been so prudent in the management of state resources that a catch phrase – Egho Aria (there’s no fund) is the talk in town. Egho Aria is what he tells people who besiege him for favours or jobs that he knows may not be on immense help to the state.

MONDAY UWAGWU/CLETUS NGWODO/ITEVEH EKPOKPOBE got the Commissioner for Economic Planning and one of the arrowheads of the government, Dr. Kingsley Emu, to explain the catch phrase, its ironic euphemistic tilt and the reasons for the government’s successes, in spite of the persisting crippling effects of the subsisting economic recession. Excerpts:

Can you recall in specific terms the situation of things when this government first came into office? When we came in, it was obvious that state and the country at large were in the pit of recession, even though not officially announced. And, typical of any organization that does get into a quandary. When you are getting into office at the time of recession it calls for prudence and proper management of resources. There were challenges.

What were those initial challenges?

The issue of debt overhang has been clearly expressed by the governor when he addressed the house (Delta State House of Assembly, DTHA) and that remains the truth. In the governor’s position was a lot of commitments and commitments encompass contracts awarded, existing ones, commitments made by the Tenders Board, projects that require mobilization, etc.

The governor’s position was pretty clear. Now what have we done over the period? What we did was to set up Prof. Monye’s Committee to re-validate most of these loans and exposures. What did we aim to achieve? In the face of dwindling resources, you must begin to prioritize your priorities.

We looked at all the jobs, all contracts awarded and we asked ourselves, ‘Are there some that we could step down for now even though we have started? Is it not better to reduce our exposure, even though we have made some advance payments because we are unable to continue, in the interim, as a state? ‘Are there some that have met full payment without delivery? These were the critical questions we asked ourselves. We have had cause, over the period, to look at them. We have Osubi, we have Warri Industrial Business Park, for example. We had to stop construction and job in those areas; Osubi case, in particular.

When we talk about the gravity of exposure, we look at what the government has done so far to either increase or curtail exposure. I can tell you that if we had allowed everything to continue the way it was, we would have been swimming in a whole lot of tension. Also, recall that the governor, on assumption of office, had to put out a circular to suspend all jobs and contract awarded in April, 2015.

The whole idea behind that circular was to enable us review the situation. With the privileged position of being in the transition committee, we saw the books up to date, and could, therefore, speak authoritatively as to the financial strength of the state. This was a government that hitherto earned as much as between N13b and N14 billion on monthly basis, drastically reducing and now alternating between N6b and N7 b or, even far less; it must be a matter of economic shock. We were heading for crisis; that was the direct situation.

Our prudence has led to the catch phrase ‘Egho-aria’.‘Egho-aria’ is a euphemism for prudence. It simply means that we do not have money for those kinds of things (frivolities) because we need to prioritize our goals. We met a budget of N408 billion and some fractions which we had to cut down by 38 per cent, i.e. about N252b. You know what it means to reconstruct a building. We had to reconstruct that budget and that was a huge challenge. We had to reconstruct it for effectiveness.

That doggedness has taken us to where we are today. I can tell you categorically that Egho-aria’- there is money for things that we really need but not for frivolities.

How are you coping with Irrevocable Standard Payment Order, ISPO?

We are lucky with leadership. Governor Okowa has displayed an uncommon leadership quality. He has been able to compel followership to toe that part. What we have done, as a team, is to go down to look at our books and what is possible and apportioning them, spreading them out under immediate, short term, medium term and long term. The immediate started with salaries and actual earnings, suspending cooperatives. I am sure you experienced that. That action was to ensure that part of that money is used to sustain the system and make sure that everybody gets something to sustain life, even in the face of the economic crunch.

The commitments we have on other lines cannot be touched. The first reason it cannot be touched is because it’s an Irrevocable Standard Payment Order (ISPO) that cannot be touched; it is deductible at source. We got net of whatever we required; that was the first step. The second step was that the executive had to ‘suffer’ in a sense.

Why? It is simply because; most of their overheads had to be suspended or reduced drastically,while we mobilised funds to pay salaries.

In the face of the immediate and short- term considerations, we also needed to deliver on the promises the governor made to Deltans. The job creation issue crept in immediately. In the first year, we had in excess of 1,235 jobs created both within the YAGEPreneurs and STEPreneurs as entrepreneurs. We also have had well over 3,000 interventions under the Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) Private Sector Partnership (PPSP), programme for private sector; the 3,000 translated to an excess of 6,000 jobs because when we begin to send inputs and cash to them, we begin to include more hands.

The state government also intervened very strongly in the micro -credit where over 6,500 beneficiaries have emerged. We also had to touch on schools, and all other ministries. You will agree with me that, on a medium term, we have done in excess of 581kilometers of road within the state, which is enormous. These roads cut across the length and breadth of the state. For the first time in the history of Delta State, we are consistently building roads in the creeks.

We have been doing so in Burutu, Gbaramatu, Okerenkoko, etc, and you know what it means to build roads there; it is like sinking raw cash into the water, in an attempt to build roads in the marshy terrain. That is exactly what we have done. We have spent in excess of N11.1 billion on education; we have constructed in excess of 44 blocks of classrooms and renovated an excess of 38 classrooms (blocks). We have done a lot of furniture and furnishing classrooms and rehabilitated technical colleges in Sapele, Agbor and Ofagbe, which are now in top shape.

The Ministry of Agriculture has intervened in three critical areas. Our programmes are properly spaced out and diversified. We are also working on the agro-industrial park; 220 hectares of land acquired in Ogwashi-Uku, just by the dam. The need to shift focus from oil has become a necessity. In as much as oil accounts for well over 70-80 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), and the oil sector does not create jobs in excess of 15 or 20 per cent. What does is agriculture, and perhaps, commerce.

So, why don’t we engage our people in productive agriculture, especially at commercial level? These are very significant developments because the whole idea is all about Prosperity for all Deltans. The prosperity is not for those driving three Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to drive more, but for every house that is willing, to move out of any form of economic dungeon, to prosperity. We have, on this account, created every avenue in terms of training and information, among others.

We also touched on health. Suffice it, that our predecessors did very well in health, but they were largely active at the secondary level. They were not, in my modest personal view, as impressive at the primary or tertiary healthcare levels. Our health insurance scheme is all-inclusive. As I speak to you now, well over, 20, 000 people have been enrolled in the programme.

You want to talk on the militancy that has affected the receipts of the state from the Federation Account (FA)?

Like I was saying, you will agree with me that we have been worst hit in terms of crude oil-related agitation in the Niger Delta. We still suffer (the effects of) that today. But we have stripped ourselves of luxuries. (As a state) we have also had some palliative measures from the Federal Government (FG) in terms of interventions. We have had Paris Club refunds and the sale of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) proceeds; we have had budget support from the FG, which has become a compulsory intervention that met us half way.

What is more important here is the mix of strategies that we have adopted to get out of the financial mess. We have employed micro- management payment.

But it would appear that on the heels of every intervention from the Federal Government, there is always a controversy as to how much the state truly receives?

It is mental laziness. The Ministry of Finance actually discloses what we are given but mischief makers want to twist the information. Many people feel that you have to abuse the man on the seat. What does it cost anybody to visit the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website or the Ministry of Finance to know how much has been released? Today, the Ministry of Finance is very open; such information is on their website. What we appear to have now is an army of journalists we have to spoon feed.

The issue of information dissemination is not only by government. Investigative journalism is everything. At times, we hear we have received what we have not. Once I get such scoops I go online and verify. Here, I will say again and beg all journalists to go into investigative and in-depth journalism. We publish our scorecard and we are open on our dealings.

On Egho-aria cynicism?

It is misnomer and a misinterpretation of the actual meaning of the word ‘Egho-Aria’. What you should be asking is under which circumstance we say there is no money. You don’t expect that money that should be used to pay salaries be given to you on frivolous grounds or give you contracts when you know that the government can’t fund it. The government is not unmindful of all the things it ought to have done. We don’t have the money to do all it takes; so, we cannot put everything in the budget when we know we can’t finance it and begin to build up abandoned projects again.

Egho-aria, like I said earlier, is a euphemism for prudence because we don’t have that kind of money for frivolities. But if you are talking about constructing Nnebisi Road, ‘Egho-huaa (there is money for that)’; if you are talking about Afisere Road, ‘Egho-huaa.’ For the first time in the history of Delta State, the government is reaching out to the rural riverine communities with real development projects on a scale unprecedented, and if you are talking about constructing roads in Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu and other riverine areas, ‘Egho-huaa’.

But we don’t have money to go on a cruise; we don’t have money to adorn ourselves on the pages of newspapers or for jamboree because we need that money to meet the needs of the people. So, I want to use this avenue to correct the impression, even though it is not an impression I should correct but I think it is gaining notoriety and acceptability on a platform of misconception and sarcasm; it is a euphemism. That’s all.

 

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/07/okowa-prudence-guides-governments-every-action-emu/

Okowa; Raising Vibrant Young Entrepreneurs To Eradicate Poverty In Delta State – Emu.

The Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning in Delta State, Dr Kingsley Emu has commended His Excellency the Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for his good governance initiatives which has been consistently and progressively transforming the state in virtually all sectors.

He made the commendation in Asaba when he received the newly appointed Executive Assistant on Communication to the State Governor, Barrister Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe in his office, in continuation of the Executive Aide’s familiarization visits to top government functionaries, heads of Departments and Agencies in Delta State.

He said the Okowa administration has performed creditably well within two years in the areas of massive infrastructural development, peace building, revolution in health and education sector, sports, open door policy in governance, prudent management of financial and material resources.

‘We have also done well in youth empowerment, human capital development, investment drive, micro credit loans to market men and women, cooperative societies, youth start up packs for young entrepreneurs under the various vocational training and skills acquisition programmes of the SMART AGENDA and Prosperity for All Deltans mantra.’

The Ministry of Economic Planning boss further asserted that Gov Okowa is not interested in running a “Father Christmas” government and made it clear to members of cabinet, ab-initio, that he wants to reduce poverty significantly through short and long term socioeconomic plans within the lifespan of his administration, adding that the SMART AGENDA is the oxygenated blood pumping life into all sectors of the state economy to guarantee prosperity for all Deltans.

“This administration within two years was able to decongest the state labour market by creating over 24,000 jobs directly and indirectly through the Job Creation Office, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programmes (YAGEP and STEP), as Deltans are engaged on a regular basis in both skilled and unskilled jobs at construction sites across the three senatorial districts.

“Under the aegis of its Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP) segment of the broad mandate of the Job Creation Office, the administration has given active support to investors, mainly farmers, to re-kit their holdings.

“At the last count, 815 farmers have benefited from the PPSP initiative. Besides, the Okowa administration has equally undertaken the following; distribution of tractors at great subsidy to 18 cooperative groups; distribution of outboard engines and fishing gears to 18 cooperative groups, distribution of fingerlings, feeds and cash support to 100 fishery farmers, the distribution of improved cassava cuttings, fertilizer and cash to 475 farmers.

“Distribution of 200 day old chicks, feeds and cash each to 10 poultry broiler farmers, distribution of 200 layers, feeds and cash each to 50 poultry layers farmers, distribution of 10 growers, feeds and cash to 50 piggery farmers and the provision of seedlings, cash and agro-chemicals for 40 tomato farmers. This administration has done so much in terms of boosting agro businesses and our youths have been deeply involved in these various STEP and YAGEP programmes, the acute economic recession notwithstanding.”

Emu further asserted that the comprehensive list of Okowa’s achievements is now in prints captured in virtually all sectors of the state economy; agriculture, education, job creation, infrastructural development, transportation and aviation, health, security, peace building and the rest; a clear indication of the genuine commitment and determination of His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to leave a sparkling legacy behind after his projected eight (8) years in office which terminates on May 29, 2023.

“I was delighted when the news of your appointment (Oghenesivbe Fred Latimore) came up because of your good track records in media politics and personalized creative writing skills in political communication. We once lost you to the opposition and now that you are back stronger and better, it is important that you increase your tenacity in strategic political communication to further project the agenda, policies and actions of government.

“I have no doubt in my mind that you will use your wealth of experience to proactively articulate the SMART AGENDA, His Excellency’s socioeconomic policies and achievements to the mass audience via well researched articles, news materials, radio and television interviews, talk-shows across the country so that Deltans at home and in the Diaspora can better and further appreciate the good governance initiatives of the Okowa administration.

“It is also part of your core duties to tackle misinformation and cheap propaganda against the governor and this administration, using available information super highway networks to the best of your abilities.

” The issue of proper information management is key and very important because the major opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, is regularly publishing materials aimed at misinforming Deltans on the one hand and to sway gullible minds as we fast approach 2019 election year. So, be strong and be ready to do the needful.

“I enjoin you to read widely about the administration’s vision and this you can do by working very closely with members of the State Executive Council (Commissioners) and heads of Agencies and Departments.

“I am impressed with the level of work you have put out so far, particularly your well articulated radio and television interviews about the achievements and policies of government. It is expected that you keep the temple and dig deeper into the fountain of political knowledge to do the unusual; to further justify your pen name; THE PEN EAGLE. I have no doubt in my mind that His Excellency the Governor will greatly assist you so as to increase your performance from time to time.”

Responding, Oghenesivbe thanked the Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Kingsley Emu for his love and words of encouragement, adding that the Okowa administration is making commendable progress because of the high calibre of technocrats and super breed of professionals carefully selected to drive the SMART AGENDA to fruition.

“Sir, your pedigree in the banking and financial sector in Nigeria is a unique testimony which has greatly reflected in your performance as one of the best brains in our state and the world over. I look up to men of pedigree like you as I diligently and proactively focus on my assigned responsibilities.

“I have no doubts in my mind that the watertight unity within the OKOWA SMART FAMILY will produce greater results in terms of quality dividends of democracy for Deltans within the next two years of this administration’s first leg with a second leg that will last till May 29, 2023.

“Once again, I respectfully thank His Excellency the governor of Delta State for finding me worthy to be appointed into his administration’s SMART team, even though I just returned from a brief stay in the failed opposition on pre-election publicity contract.

“The opposition in 2015 deployed strategic political propaganda to sway the fragile conscience of millions of Nigerians and that singular act landed our country into needless acute economic recession and poor leadership crisis. I am pretty sure that Nigerians will reverse the trend in 2019 by voting our great party, the PDP into power at the federal level. I pledge to truly serve the State, His Excellency and our great party, the PDP, without blemish.”