————By Shedrack Onitsha,———–
A developmental economist, Prof. Patrick Utomi, has said that a Councillor would have done much better for the people of Delta State than what the former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan did in 8 years as governor of the oil rich state.
Utomi in a statement while reacting to reports credited to the former governor where he urged him to begin his quest to govern Delta as a councillor noted that Uduaghan left a legacy of wasted opportunities and mismanagement of state resources.
Utomi added that one would have thought that Uduaghan will be very sober and saddened by his legacy of mismanagement and gross wastage that he left behind in office after spending 8 years as governor, rather than trying to spin his poor record on Deltans.
Responding on the issue of the Silicon Valley and foreign investors raised by Uduaghan, Utomi explained that the project were sabotage by the state government, adding that Uduaghan at different occasions apologized to him and others over the ineptitude of his government.
According to him, “he (Uduaghan) would deny them if he has any credibility, for he had on many occasions said to me and to several others, including Arc. Kester Ifeadi of the Organization for the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC) that some elements in the previous government in which he served as SSG sabotaged our “Technology Village” project which was initiated by the private-sector in Delta North to jump-start a Silicon Valley” type development in Delta State.
“We planned the same program for Illah, and if the government of Delta State has not sabotaged this laudable project, it would have today become a reputable ICT hub driven by a learning centre of post-graduate level, just like Stanford, creating thousands of jobs for Deltans. It is the kind of hub in Silicon Valley that makes the State of California the biggest economy in the United States of America; bigger than most countries in Europe and the world.
“Despite the sabotage, we still set up ‘Socket Works’, a pioneer e-Government service provider which created Nigeria’s new Passport, and partners with the Immigration Services till date.
On the issue of Agriculture Industrial Town, Utomi said; “I brought a team of foreign investors to Asaba and Dr Uduaghan welcomed them assuring speedy allocation of land. After two years of trips to Asaba that didn’t produce any result, we turned to Edo State and within months a C-of-O was ready.
“Several hundred millions of Naira investments have gone into this project already with additional billions pledged. As we speak, more than one hundred hectares of jungle has been cleared and is continuing. An Independent Power Plant (IPP) to power this ‘Produce City’ in Edo State has commenced activities and hundreds of millions of Naira in investments have also been committed. In 5 years there will be more than 20,000 quality jobs created in that location.
While dismissing Uduaghan’s claims that Prof. Utomi has great ideas but, lacks the frame of mind for execution, Utomi said, “Evidence of several successful foreign investments that I have attracted and which are on ground indicates just how bogus these claims are. It is also noteworthy to mention that I attracted a ‘Smart City’ project to Lagos State.”
He urged Uduaghan to give account for the IPP project he abandoned in Oghara that gulped over N20 billion under his administration with nothing to show seven years after.
“A Councillor would have even done much better for our people than Uduaghan did then as Governor. We welcome any debate on how to efficiently utilize scarce state resources for the maximum benefit of the people and prevent such colossal waste as was witnessed under Uduaghan – and is still the experience today under the current administration.
“There is extreme misuse of the opportunities available to Delta State. It will take a serious and truly capable government to vigorously tap its potentials and create jobs for our teeming youths. This is one of the many reasons why I believe Delta State needs new political leadership in 2019. Deltans are not meant to suffer from the jeopardy of a clueless administration, especially at this critical phase of its existence.
“I would have imagined that Uduaghan will be very sober and saddened by his legacy of mismanagement and gross wastage that he left behind in Delta State. Trying to spin his poor record in the hope that Deltans would have forgotten so soon is a failed attempt to rewrite history.
“Undoubtedly, he knows that only few Deltans speak well of him and it is his pain to struggle with that reality. As he grapples with history, what is more important to Deltans today is how we can rectify the wrong policies, decisions and actions of the past, so that we can create a government that would not only meet the needs of our people today but guarantee a better life for successive generations.
“This is the task that I have offered to commit myself to between now and 2023. We are already looking forward to 2019 with hope and renewed zeal for the beginning of a ‘New Delta’ teeming with opportunities and alive with possibilities,” he added.