The war of words between Delta State 2019 All Progressives Congress, APC governorship aspirant, Prof. Pat Utomi and the immediate past governor of the state Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, continued yesterday.
Dr. Utomi, in response to Dr. Uduaghan’s charge on him (Utomi) to start his aspiration from the councillorship level, urged the former governor to give account of the N20 billion expended on the Independent Power Project, IPP.
Uduaghan, immediately responded yesterday by affirming that Utomi does not have what it takes to be governor of Delta State given what he claimed were Utomi’s legacies at Volkswagen Nigeria and as coordinator of the South-South Summit held in Asaba, Delta State.Utomi was himself put under more pressure after Chief Paulinus Akpeki, a former commissioner in the state who served as an adviser to Uduaghan, said his former boss brought meaningful impact to the development of the state.
Udugahan had during a stakeholders’ meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Asaba last week, urged Utomi to contest the councillorship seat in his ward and stop spreading falsehood against past leaders of the state in his quest to contest the 2019 governorship election.
Reacting yesterday, Utomi said that he will prefer that “Uduaghan gives account for the Independent Power Plant, IPP project abandoned in Oghara which has gulped over N20 billion.”
Utomi also explained that he was welcome to any debate from Uduaghan 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’s administration, adding that “Such waste is still being experienced today in the state under the current administration.”
Utomi said, “Governor Okowa was right to raise an alarm about the over N600 billion debt that he claimed to have inherited. He has however, proceeded to increase this debt burden by over N60b of his own. This is only further mortgaging Delta state and the future of our children.
“I am pleased to hear the former Delta State Governor, Uduaghan respond to my comments on the poor state of finances in Delta State. To my mind, it is the direction of engagement that I hope will raise the quality of public discussions and move our democracy towards better serving the people. I therefore, feel obligated to respond to the issues raised and to set the records straight for the benefit of the general public.
But in his reaction, Uduaghan said: “It is very interesting that Prof Utomi quickly rushed to respond to me, again with tales that were full of falsehood. I will surely respond with further details and more information on Prof Pat Utomi, who was the last Managing Director of the once vibrant Volkswagen Company of Nigeria and Chairman of the South-South summit held in Asaba to let our people know that Prof Utomi does not have what it takes to govern Delta.
“He is the one contesting to be Governor of Delta State and not me. Let people properly evaluate him.”
Speaking also, Chief Akpeki, a former commissioner in the state who also served as chief of staff to Governor Uduaghan said, “To the best of my knowledge, he (Utomi) was an honourary adviser to Uduaghan during his time. Ask him the project he said that they should do in his village, what happened to it? What role did he play on that project.
“It is very sad that people who have skeletons in their cupboards should begin to make noise. In terms of performance, he shouldn’t be the one talking. You would remember that at a very young age, he was the M.D. of Volkswagen of Nigeria. In whose hands did Volkswagen collapse? If someone was a good manager, a Federal Government company collapsed in your hands, are you still a good manager?
“As far as I know, the three governors we have had in Delta State, James Ibori, Uduaghan and Okowa have performed exceedingly well within the available resources at their disposal.”