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MORE Agenda, Oborevwori And Distractions By Charlatans And Humbugs

By Josiah Agoro

This writer’s attention was recently drawn to a hilarious GOV article. SHERIFF OBOREWORI’S MANY LAPSES: DELTA YOUTHS AND THE WOMEN GROUPS WILL NOT WORK FOR HIM IN 2027 and the many attempts by its author, a certain Engr. Eboh Oke Gift, at falsifying and misrepresenting the true situation of things in present-day Delta State.

Indeed, one particular observation which has become glaring with each passing day since May 29, 2023, is that most of the critics and detractors of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration are increasingly becoming bereft and deprived of genuine issues of governance, leadership and administration, with which to continue to criticize the Governor only after one year in the saddle. They now resort to ludicrous, outrightly banal and futuristic hallucinations to vent their self-inflicted desperation.

This writer, as an observer and one who has keenly followed the governance and administrative vicissitudes and certitudes of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s strategic delivery of the MORE Agenda, finds it quite amazing and can categorical state, that only incurable charlatans and recognized humbugs like Engr. Gift Eboh will embark on the tedious, overarching and quite unnecessary engagement of drawing parallels and comparisons between an administration that lasted for eight full years and one that has only just completed one year.

Be that as it may, it behoves an objective onlooker and if you like, witness to the unfolding tenure, to address some of the misleading and inaccurate issues and representations in Engr Eboh’s effort to smear the Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration.

First, it is important to state that, even without being told, that it is rather a bit too early in the life of the administration, for Governor Sheriff Oborevwori to begin to dwell on what the electoral predilections of Delta youths and women will become in 2027.

I am sure that beyond his statutory and obligatory mandate as the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the State to join hands with the rest of the leaders and the entire membership and faithful of the party in the collective effort to ensure resounding electoral victory for the party in the immediate Local Government Council elections slated for July 13, across the three Senatorial zones, Governor Oborevwori is quite focused and predominantly preoccupied with delivering the dividends of Democracy to Deltans as encapsulated in the MORE Agenda, which he has been doing steadily, strategically and with unwavering determination in the last one year.

One would have been tempted to roll out a comprehensive catalogue of projects and initiatives, which Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration is undertaking and delivering across the three Senatorial zones, from massive construction, rehabilitation and initiation of life-impacting Infrastructure across all sectors to human capital empowerment and support schemes and even critical interventions in Health, Youth Development, Security, Education, Social Welfare and Humanitarian initiatives, including the regular compassionate outreaches of the “You matter Foundation” of the First Lady, Deaconess Tobore Oborevwori.

But let us concentrate on and quickly debunk the false and misleading narrative put out by the said Engr. Eboh in his first three paragraphs that: “Despite the prevailing hardship bedevilling the country, Gov. Sheriff could not initiate any policy to ameliorate the sufferings of Deltans.”

Read him: “While Delta State is receiving nearly the highest federal allocations together with internally generated revenues, what our Governor does is to move from place to place in the State to attend social or religious functions, while giving Deltans empty promises.

He further went on to rant that: “Recalled that the Nigerian Governors Forum were the chief proponent of fuel subsidy removal. Now that the subsidy has been removed and Nigerians are suffering an untold hardship, what steps the Governors take to cushion the effects? They all kept quiet, allowing Nigerians to vent their anger only on the Federal Government”, adding that “Delta State seems to be the worst hit as the Governor has chosen to show no concern to the debilitating plights of the people”.

Even as knowledgeable Deltans laugh at Engr. Eboh’s obvious mischief and feigning of ignorance, but to set the records straight and clear all ambiguities, let us list the initiatives and pragmatic efforts Governor Sheriff Oborevwori embarked on to cushion and ameliorate the effects of the nationally inflicted hardship on Nigerians, especially Deltans, in the last one year to counter Engr. Eboh’s false claims.

1. Approval of palliative payment of N10,000 to each of the 50,196 civil servants in Delta State including the 10 tertiary institutions for three (3) months.

2. Regular Distribution of palliatives by the subsidy Committee chaired by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kingsley Emu, through the Coordinator, of Delta State Palliative Distribution Committee, which also has representatives from NLC and TUC among others at the State level, as well as faith-based organizations, NGOs, Traditional Institutions and Community President Generals at the LGAs level.

The latest round of palliatives distribution, which is the Third Phase of the programme, was flagged off by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori himself and here is an excerpt of what he said during the flag-off, which took place at the Delta Agricultural Procurement Agency, DAPA, in Ibusa, Oshimili North LGA of Delta State:

“We have done the first and second phases. But we decided to do this very one in a grand style because, if you don’t announce yourself, nobody will announce you. All the things we have been doing for the past year, we don’t even showcase them. Some people will not know that we are doing a lot. On the issue of palliatives, Delta State was the first in Nigeria to consider the civil servants.

“When the issue of fuel subsidy removal came, we looked at it, it was real hard time for our civil servants; we discussed and the first thing we did was to pay all the outstanding promotion arrears amounting to over N5.6 billion. We didn’t even know how the future was going to be then.

“That wasn’t enough; at the critical time of the fuel subsidy removal, we also sat down and even with a lot of workers of 50,193 strength. We also agreed that for the 50,193 workers, we will be giving them small stipends of N10,000 for three months. We did it and it cost the State over N1.5 billion.

“As for the issue of this palliative, we shared it last year; we are here today to say we are grateful to God for what He has been doing for us. Today, we are going to flag off the distribution of the rice and maize that we have received.

“We received 24,000 units of 25kg bags of rice from Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria RIFAN; we received 4,700 units of 25kg bags of Garri and 18,770 units of 50kg bags of maize from the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Security Adviser’s Office.

“This palliative was received last month, which is May 2024 and we are grateful to all the donor agencies for their support. You may also recall that between August and September 2023, we received 17,400 units of 50kg bags of rice and 40,000 units of 50kg bags of maize in a joint venture with the Federal Government.

“The items were distributed across the State in the first and second phases of this programme to take care of most especially, the most vulnerable in our State,” Governor Oborevwori declared.

3. Approval of rotational work schedule for all civil servants between grade Levels 1-14 for a maximum of three (3) days a week till further notice while levels 15 and above are to work out what is convenient in their respective MDAs while encouraging working remotely.

4. Payment of the 2022/2023 bursary to Delta State students.

5. Launching the MORE Grant Scheme as a comprehensive support system for the empowerment of petty traders, artisans and female entrepreneurs with 5,426 persons from poor and vulnerable households, comprising 1,600 petty traders, 1,826 artisans and 2000 female entrepreneurs across the State benefit from the first phase of the scheme, which will roll out in three phases

6. Approval for the release of funds to support and upscale direct beneficiaries of the Delta COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, D-CARES Programme, across various delivery platforms. In fact the Oborevwori administration has scaled up the direct beneficiaries of D-CARES from 36,353 to 110,841.

Speaking during the town hall meeting with the beneficiaries, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori said he was happy to hear of the heartwarming and success stories of the beneficiaries and the positive impact of the activities of the D-CARES programme on their lives.

Hear him: “Upon assumption of office as Governor, and in line with the MORE Agenda, we commenced the implementation of a blueprint that will provide more access to opportunities by Deltans, irrespective of their socio-economic status. Consequently, I approved the release of funds to support the activities of the D-CARES programme across the various delivery platforms. I am, therefore, very pleased to see this large number of happy Deltans, whose lives and businesses have been positively impacted.’

“Scaling up the number of direct beneficiaries from 36,353 to 110,841, an increase of approximately 205 per cent, in just about 10 months, is, indeed, a commendable achievement,” he enthused.

7. Recruitment of over 3,000 primary school teaching and non-teaching staff in the State, thereby creating employment.

8. Facilitated and guaranteed N40bn pensions payment to LGA and primary school pensioners to cater for those who have served the State meritoriously.

It is also on record that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has inherited, sustained and reconstituted the management of virtually all the agencies which are already operating in the State including the award-winning Job Creation and Wealth Creation Bureau where he recently appointed the dynamic, charismatic and pragmatic Comrade Ifeanyi Egwuyenga as the new Chief Job Creation Officer of the State.

One is therefore not only at a loss to fathom exactly where Engr. Eboh is writing his poorly researched article, but concludes that he, like so many jaundiced critics of the Governor Sheriff Oborevwori administration is either chronic detractors who, like leopards, will never shed their spots or is on an ego-massaging escapism to see their unsubstantiated comments in the public space.

By the way, it is preposterous for Engr. Eboh Oke Gift, a man more at home with bolts and nuts and spanners and screwdrivers, to even begin to pretend to be a later-day Nostradamus by predicting what will happen in 2027. Assuming he is truly on the ground like every decent polity analyst, instead of living in his sand castle, he would have been acquainted with the political truism that a day is like a century in politics, not to even begin to talk about the next three years. This is completely a no-brainer and totally out of point. 2027 is still a bridge ahead and when Governor Sheriff Oborevwori and the PDP get to that bridge, they will surely cross it….

Indeed, from what has transpired in the last year and from the zeal and determination with which the second year has commenced with the commissioning of legacy projects and comprehensive project inspections across the State, one can safely and unequivocally conclude that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori will not be distracted by charlatans and other humbugs from his avowed pledge to deliver Meaningful Development across the three Senatorial zones, Ensure Opportunities for All, implement Realistic and impactful reforms, and provide Enhanced Peace and Security which will create the right atmosphere for social and economic life to thrive and flourish in Delta State.

This is the MORE Agenda and Governor Sheriff Oborevwori is delivering on his mandate to Deltans. He will not be distracted by the shenanigans of sworn mischiefmakers.

● Josiah Agoro is a public affairs commentator and analyst, based in Sapele.

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