In a news conference held in Asaba, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, the immediate past Commissioner for Information in Delta State, spoke out against the smear campaigns targeted at the former Governor of the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa. Aniagwu revealed that these campaigns were being sponsored by individuals who were vying for control over the state’s resources but failed to attain power.
Aniagwu highlighted that the onslaught against Okowa began during the buildup to the 2023 Governorship election in Delta State. The individuals castigating Okowa were those who lost in the gubernatorial contest and were resorting to every possible means to tarnish his reputation. Aniagwu emphasized that their motives stemmed from Okowa’s effective utilization of state resources to develop all sectors of the state.
The former Commissioner explained the genesis of the smear campaign, attributing it to individuals engaged in power struggles for control over Delta’s resources. During the 2023 elections, various candidates emerged within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and those with their own preferred candidates sought to promote them, exercising their democratic rights. Aniagwu emphasized the importance of managing the state’s resources and maintaining accountability, which Okowa prioritized to ensure the people of Delta State received value from the state’s abundant resources.
Aniagwu pointed out that after the PDP members chose Sheriff Oborevwori as their candidate for the governorship, the individuals involved in the power struggle resorted to legal action and media campaigns to launch a campaign of calumny against both Okowa and Oborevwori. However, the overwhelming support from Deltans for Oborevwori in the election demonstrated that the smear campaign had little impact.
Despite their failed attempts, Aniagwu noted that these individuals first aligned themselves with the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the elections. They even attempted to manipulate results and intimidate electoral officers. However, their efforts were in vain as the election results clearly favored the PDP. Aniagwu criticized their continued bitterness over their loss instead of waiting for the next election in 2027. He further highlighted the discrepancy between their claims and the reality of the situation.
Aniagwu also provided insights into the Okowa administration’s achievements, stating that over N2.6 trillion was expended on capital projects across the 25 local government areas during Okowa’s eight years in office. Of this amount, N1.4 trillion was allocated to recurrent expenditure, covering salaries, overhead expenses, and day-to-day governance. The remaining N989 billion was directed towards various capital projects, including the Ughelli-Asaba dualization project.
The former Commissioner stressed that the administration prioritized fair treatment for oil-bearing communities. The administration restructured the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) to ensure greater responsiveness and introduced good corporate governance. Aniagwu addressed allegations that the administration had shortchanged the oil-bearing communities, asserting that significant infrastructure projects had been undertaken in these areas, benefiting the local population.
Aniagwu also refuted claims that Governor Okowa owned Jacedarl Hotel or a bank, dismissing them as baseless. He praised Okowa’s integrity throughout his tenure and highlighted the numerous accomplishments he achieved for the state during his time in office.
Aniagwu concluded by expressing confidence in the seamless transition with the emergence of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori. He assured that Oborevwori would build upon Okowa’s successes and continue to advance the development of Delta State.[logo-slider]