By Dr. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza
The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party notes with dismay a press statement credited to the Delta State All Progressives Congress alleging that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa sacked 568 Delta Line workers. In the Statement, signed by one Moses Kamanya the Publicity Secretary of the party, the APC in a desperate attempt to muddle facts as they concern the Delta Line partial privatisation tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to whip up sentiments and score cheap political points.
Ordinarily we would not attempt to dignify that wishy washy press release with a response, but for the benefit of unsuspecting members of the public who may unwittingly be hoodwinked by APC’s cheap and vile propaganda. Any keen follower of the political developments in Delta State would have observed that the Press Statement contained nothing new; it was simply a rehash of the same old story of how the Government is supposedly selling off the assets of the State without providing any concrete evidence to support this puerile assertion.
It is imperative for us to refresh the memory of all Deltans, who are not unfamiliar with the dismal performance of Delta Line Company, that it became necessary to embark on the partial privatisation of the company to put it on the path of efficiency, profitability and sustainability. The company had for long fallen short of its mandate and had become a cesspool of corruption and a huge drain pipe on the resources of the State. It has been said that to keep doing the same thing and expect different results is akin to insanity. Unlike some APC States that completely shut down their transport company for similar reason of waste and inefficiency without payment of staff severance entitlements, the Delta State Government under Governor Okowa opted to chart a new path that will infuse life into Delta Line and yield dividends to the good people of Delta State whose tax money had been funding the company.
In the cherished values of transparency, accountability and prudent management of resources for which the Okowa administration is known for, the State Government advertised for Expression of Interest in the company in two national newspapers as required by law. After due consideration the State Executive Council preferred the bid submitted by God is Good Motors, a renowned transport company with proven track record of expertise, efficiency and sound management. Consequently, the State Government accepted its bid of N161m and divested 60% of its equity holding in the company.
By continuing to make a song and dance of the =N=2B bid submitted by another bidder, the APC has, unwittingly, undone its claim that Governor Okowa is selling off the assets of the State for personal gain. Were that to be the case, the Okowa administration would have jumped at the N2b offer and cash in on the seeming misfortune of Delta Line. But the overriding interest of the Governor Okowa administration has been to stop the rot in Delta line and inject new life into the company for the benefit of all Deltans.
First of all, the bidder in question did not submit its bid within the two-week period stipulated in the advertisement. Nevertheless, the Government bent over backwards to consider their bid. Unfortunately, they could not provide proof of their funding capacity, a fundamental requirement for a successful bid. In addition, this supposedly highest bidder had no track record in the transport business and, therefore, no operational structures on ground.
It is equally important to remind the dubious elements in APC that the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), the Union responsible for the welfare of Delta Line workers were, typical of Governor Okowa’s all-inclusive governance style, carried along in all the dealings and negotiations of the State Government with God is Good Motors.
While we will, as a responsible political party, who cares for interest of our people always, impress it on the new management of Delta Line Motors, and keep a critical watch on the recruitment procedure to ensure that Deltans are given the right of first refusal in the engagement process of effective and efficient staff with verifiable competence and capacity to run its operations, we are indeed shocked and greatly disturbed at the ethnic bigotry of the APC, which suggests that only Deltans must be employed as staff of Deltan Line. It is indeed a sad reflection of the petty mind-set and crude agenda of a party which is aspiring to govern a cosmopolitan State like Delta State.
We are aware that the APC in Delta State has become very jittery over the sterling performance of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in every sector, particularly in roads construction, education and job creation. The new release of Delta Line buses and the rebranding of the company by God is Good Motors attests to the resounding success of the policy reform of the Okowa administration in the transport sector. This is giving the Delta APC sleepless nights as they have nothing to campaign with except to resort to cheap blackmail and rabble rousing.
The Delta APC would have preferred that Delta Line continue in the tradition of waste, rot, inefficiency, corruption and unserviceable debts. But our people deserve better. That is why the APC was overwhelmingly rejected by Deltans in 2015 because our people prefer prosperity to poverty. Come 2019, Deltans will once again show the All Promises Cancelled Party that their choice remains progress and prosperity as represented by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
With God is Good managing its operations, Delta Line will grow with time and in the next few years, Deltans shall be getting good returns from the company, not only as one of our most recognizable brands as a State, but indeed as a viable company that we will all be proud of.
God Bless Delta State.
Long Live PDP
Dr Michael Osuoza is the State Publicity Secretary
PDP, Delta State