There is perceived brawl between two Commissioners in Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration. They are that of Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie and his counterpart in the Ministry of Economic Planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, over who should be the authentic commissioner to control, dispense and reports financial transactions to the governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Okowa.
The SUPREME learnt that Emu has hijacked the functions of Edevbie and has continued to extend his footprints in the Finance Ministry and Edevbie is not pleased, leading to his threat to bow out if the situation continues. While Edevbie was the Finance Commissioner during the era of James Ibori, Emu was sacked as Commerce and Industry Commissioner during the regime of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Our investigation revealed that the Economic Planning Commissioner virtually oversees all agencies of government that were under the Ministry of Finance and disburses money to them while his counterpart in Finance is seen to be doing the paper work only making him and his ministry dormant, hence the alleged threat to resign. Body languages of the two Commissioners have attracted media attention.
Impeccable sources said staff of the Ministry of Finance are no longer involved in the paper work resulting into indolence, while it was alleged that the flex of muscles between the two Commissioners has destabilized the ministry as government has shifted ground to his stooge ministry, Economic Planning which now carries out financial transaction on behalf of the government.
It was gathered that Mr. Edevbie, who is amongst Ibori’s appointees in Okowa’s government, had threatened to resign following his frustrations with the development but the former governor is rumoured to have urged him to stay put.
Investigations by The SUPREME further reveal that the once powerful and influential office of the Commissioner of Finance has been stripped of its powers. Our findings also reveal that, Olorogun Edevbie, has been side-lined from the approval process for payments. The SUPREME further investigations reveal that Governor Okowa’s kinsmen, Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Emu and Accountant-General, Mr. Cyril Agbele are now in charge of approvals and payments.
A government source however, debunked the speculations of power play resulting in an alleged resignation of Edevbie. The source said, “Edevbie has not resigned. In fact, we all robbed minds together recently. He is with the governor”.
Though, former governor James Ibori, is still influential in Delta State politics, in spite of his incarceration in a London prison, but unfolding scenarios indicate that Governor Okowa is proving touch and not to be seen as a push-over.
A top political associate to Ibori claim that the former governor had sent a displeasing signal to Okowa, for allegedly breaking a gentleman agreement entered in 2007 when Okowa was entreated to allow Uduaghan to come in as governor before him.
Meanwhile, Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) Speaker, Rt. Hon. Monday Ovwigho Igbuya is swimming in trouble waters over alleged delay in passing Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) budget. A popular online portal had reported that Igbuya demanded N1billion from DESOPADEC) Managing Director (MD) Olorogun Williams Makinde as gratification before passing the 2016 DESOPADEC budget.
But in quick reaction to the publication, DESOPADEC boss said, “When my attention was drawn to it because they referred it to my staff, I called my press aides, the two of my press aides both for social media and the other. I asked them whether they granted any interview to anybody on budget. They said no and I have also discussed with my colleagues on the issue. All of them were at a loss as to the source of the information.”
Makinde has in his reaction created vacuum to believe that the Speaker really demanded for N1billion, as he neither deny nor confirm it. In order to prove his innocence, Makinde has fired one of his vibrant media aides, Prince Joseph Orhomonokpaye who is alleged to have leaked the bribe demand to the online portal.
However, there are speculations that Igbuya influenced the sacking of Orhomonokpaye for allegedly leaking the bribe demand to the online portal.
The SUPREME investigations also revealed that there had been a bad blood between the Igbuya and Orhomonokpaye over past reports published in Orhomonokpaye’s Delta Guide Newspaper when the Speaker was the Majority Leader of the House.
But reacting to the imbroglio surrounding the passage of the DESOPADEC budget, Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Henry Ovie Ebireri in a statement credited to the Chairman of the Delta State House of Assembly Committee on DESOPADEC, Hon. Dennis Omovie, denied that the State House of Assembly was not yet in possession the budget.
According to him, “The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya does not have as part of his duties the signing of budget to law. It is strictly the responsibility of the governor to sign budget into law. It is also a statement of fact that the speaker is not privy to the formulation of budgetary allocation to various agencies of government until the state governor forwards same to the House. It is most laughable for anybody or institution to ascribe to the speaker the responsibility of signing DESOPADEC budget into law”.
“Hon Omovie, the member representing Warri South Constituency 11 in the Delta State House of Assembly, therefore, advised journalists not to overheat the polity.
“There is a level of responsibility from members of the public especially the fourth estate of the realm. The fact that there is paucity of fund should not make certain people to throw caution to the wind. The process of budgeting should be known to the press. These processes are well laid out in the laws governing the day to day running of the state. Members of the press and the public are therefore advised to always verify and authenticate their sources of information before going to the press.”
“Deltans can be rest assured that there is no cause for alarm and that when the DESOPADEC budget comes to the House of Assembly, it will not be a secret affair”.