Delta Government on Tuesday, June 7, said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had since assuming office seven years ago justified the confidence of people of the state in him.
At a news conference in Asaba, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said that the gôvernor had performed superlatively that no amount of propaganda and malicious media onslaught would dampen his spirit or blur the vision.
He stated that the gôvernor would continue to deliver on the mandate freely given to him by the people of the state.
Aniagwu who was flanked by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, particularly took a swipe on Felix Akugha’s ‘Inside The Niger Delta’ said the coordinated media onslaught against Governor Okowa through ‘Inside the Niger Delta’, a broadcast programme anchored by one Felix Akugha, was malicious and unprofessional.
Aniagwu urged Akugha to stop using his programme to settle scores, adding that Delta alone did not make up the Niger Delta.
“Yesterday in the evening, there was a continuation of a coordinated attack by somebody who happens to be my colleague and a senior one at that, when I was active in DAAR Communications.
“I am talking specifically about the person of Mr Felix Akugha. He has a programme called ‘Inside the Niger Delta’ which is aired across several performs.
“For some time now we have been quiet because we do not want to expose the reason why he has gone on the offensive for a very long time, but it is obvious that he actually favours particular candidates, and in any case, he is not even a member of the PDP; he is a member of the APC even though he parades himself as a journalist.
“You recall that in 2015, he was the first person to be nominated to be deputy governorship candidate to Olorogun Otega Emerhor, but due to the workings of their party that didn’t sail through. I am not aware that he has left APC to PDP.
“We needed to make this clarification so that we distinguish clearly a journalist who does his work professionally and somebody who just prides himself as an ace broadcaster but beneath that is a well laid out political intent.
“It is true that even though he is not a member of the PDP he had an interest in a particular candidate in the recently-held Governorship Primary of the PDP and they have been walking together,” he stated.
He said that Akugha was attacking the state government because of a failed proposal he submitted for consideration.
“Long before now, he had approached us and brought a proposal that we should be paying him N80 million annually to project the things we are doing in Delta State and he brought this proposal to us.
“There is nothing wrong with wanting to do that; we do not have any problem with that but in September, last year, when he brought the proposal, apart from the fact that the price was on the high side, a number of the things he wanted to do are already being handled.
“Besides, he listed several media houses he wanted to deploy and did not even list our own local media houses here in Delta state, including DBS, Asaba and DRTV, Warri.
“We advised that he can progress and take a second look at the cost he is bringing forward and at the same time find a way to incorporate our own media houses here in the state.
“But all he wants is to push his way through and we said that is not how we work and since that time he went on the offensive believing that he can blackmail us into doing his bidding.
“He called the programme Inside the Niger Delta but what he has ended up doing is inside the politics of Delta State.
“For every edition, he looks for his co-travellers he will take a whole lot of time to attack the things we are doing even when he does so very ignorantly.
“He went about castigating the intent of government, he even went ahead to say that we have abandoned the Ughelli-Asaba road and that the road is in the worst of shape.
“But those of you who travel that route know that so much effort is being put in to ensure that we are able to bring the completion of that road to fruition,” he said.
Aniagwu further said that Akugha also queried the decision of the state government’s advance payment to the contractor handling the International Conference Centre.
“I recall explaining to him that by the rules of procurement there are certain categories of jobs you will need to mobilise the contractor if indeed speed is of the essence particularly now that we are faced with fluctuations in prices of items.
“As an administration we are desirous to expedite work on the project hence we took that decision to advance the contractor having secured the approval of Exco for onward transmission to the State House of Assembly.
“But rather than agreeing on the need for this project he also went on a voyage of destruction and even in his edition of that programme yesterday.
“We are making this known to the public on why he is attacking us and no amount of blackmail and attack will make us pay him that amount he is demanding
“If he wants to do business that is legitimate we don’t have a problem with that but he cannot force our hands to pay him he now going about telling stories that are not real.
“All of you are in Delta and you do know that we have embarked on projects that touches the lives of our people and we have made it very clear that until May 28, 2023 we will continue to carry out programmes that will add value to the lives of Deltans.
He said the governor had preformed creditably well going by the marking scheme as enshrined in the SMART Agenda.
He stressed that it was uncharitable for a fellow Deltan wishing that another Deltan shouldn’t progress to adding value to national development, adding that Felix Akugha and his co-travellers were sadists.
“He must learn to be professional in his reportage but if he wants to properly make it clear that he belongs to the APC we will not even be angry with him because we will assume that he is playing politics.
“But to hide under the garb of being a journalist and try to drag the image of the profession to the mud on account of his very selfish ambition and agenda is to say the least very malicious and unprofessional,” Aniagwu added.