By Jon Egie

 

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Hon Patrick Ukah

Hon Patrick Ukah

The Delta State Commissioner of Information, Hon Patrick Ukah has charged practising journalists in Ughelli to engage in investigative journalism in order to objectively inform the public about the progress and benefits of the SMART agenda of the Okowa administration.

 

The Commissioner gave the charge during a courtesy visit to members of the Ughelli Correspondents’ chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ughelli; Monday, Feb. 22 .

 

He frowned at the tendency of some reporters crave for sensational report which according to him does not encourage development.

 

He encouraged the NUJ in Ughelli to be committed to grassroots reportage of stories that have relevance to the people of the immediate community especially on how the SMART agenda of the state government has impacted on them and to provide opportunity for the public to critique the government constructively.

 

The Commissioner sought the cooperation of the NUJ to support the Okowa administration by seeking clarification of issues before going to press, assuring that he would be available to media query on issues that concern the SMART agenda of the state government and how the Okowa administration is charting a course fo development and prosperity for all Deltans.

 

“The SMART agenda is going to succeed but there is need for Deltans to be carried along on the level of its progress” he said.

 

While promising to assist the NUJ in Ughelli in any form possible, he advised reporters in the chapel to organise themselves into an entrepreneurship group that would make it easier for them to key into government development programmes.

 

Responding to a question on the issue of imposition of tax on poor Deltans against the Okowa campaign promise of prosperity for all Deltans when elected as governor, The Commissioner said the Okowa administration has walked his talks and keep doing so through infrastructure development in roads construction and rehabilitation across the state as well as engaging the youths in skills acquisition programmes aimed at diversifying the state’s economy from firm reliance on oil.

 

According to him, the state internally generated revenue (IGR) is far less than 50 percent of the of salary wage bill and there was need to increase the IGR , hence, the introduction of the tax regime to all taxable Deltans.

 

He used the opportunity to inform that the Delta state government does not owe its workers any salary, even primary school teachers who he said, have been paid up tp date, but that the local government council, as third tier of government, have their allocations directly from the Federal Government and as such, the state government is not liable to the salary of local government council workers.

 

Responding, the Ughelli Correspondents’ chapel chairman, Comrade Polycarp Orosevwotu said the Hon Commissioner’s visit was a plus to the public image of Governor Okowa in Ughelli.

 

He said the chapel has 19 practising journalists as members as at the time of visit, with representation from various media houses and geographical spread across Delta Central except Sapele LGA and encroaching to Isoko land, Bomadi and Patani LGAs.

 

He pledged the chapel’s commitment to partnering with the Okowa administration for he development of the state.