By Jon Egie

 

 

Bishop Diamond Emuobor

Bishop Diamond Emuobor

When the righteous bear the rule the people rejoice but when sin has ravaged the land before the righteous came to be in authority the people are reproached.

This, according to Bishop Diamond Emuobor, Chairman of CAN in Ughelli, aptly describes the reality of the economic scenario in present day Delta State.

In an interview, the cleric absolved Gov Okowa from being the cause of the sufferings witnessed by Deltans saying the economic situation of the State was already bad before Okowa took over as governor.

“Okowa did not take the leadership of this State on a plate of righteousness; he did not come to leadership on El Dorado. The economy of the State was bad when he came in and coupled with the skirmish between the FG and militants which led to blowing of pipelines. The wealth of Delta State is derived from the sales of oil, the oil revenue allocated to the State was about N13 billion but fell to N3 billion and confronted with a wage bill of N7 billion.

“I think that it was not as if there was money in the State and Okowa deliberately withheld such from circulation. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches and once anything is wrong in the remuneration of workers it is the head that bears the blame.

“If you go to the market, it is not Okowa that caused the increase in cost of commodities. The ill wind that blew across the economy of Nigeria also affected Delta State when Okowa took over. Multinational oil companies that operated in Delta State and which used to be a major source of internally generated revenue left the State due to activities of militants, and therefore, we should consider ourselves as being co-factors to the economic woes we are facing rather than lay the blame solely on Okowa” the cleric said.

He however refused to believe the assertion by Gov Okowa that the Delta State government was not responsible for the payment of local government workers in the State who are owed for up to 13 months salaries arrears saying, “Okowa cannot say that, and I don’t believe he said so. It may be an insinuation from the people. How will local government workers be owed and the governor say he is not responsible, he cannot say so, that is politicking.”

Bishop Emuobor observed that 95 percent of Nigerians, Deltans inclusive, do not pay tax in contrast to what obtains in foreign countries where personal income tax drives the economy.

He advised Gov Okowa to look inward, in the face of the down turn economy, so that Deltans should pay some kind of tax to generate money to provide social services to the citizenry but cautioned that government should not belabor the people for what government is supposed to do.

He described as absurd the plan by the DTSG to tax citizens who own bore holes in their compounds whereas government has failed in its responsibility to provide potable water for the people.

Comparing the performance of past administrations to that of Sen Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the cleric said the parameter of measurement is based on the benevolence of God at the time of the administration in contrast, stating that the Okowa administration was unfortunate to be at a time of national economic recession.