Questions are being raise political actors in Delta State over the modalities used by the Delta State Government in the selection of 5,400 beneficiaries of the State Governor’s trust funds for the widows across the three senatorial districts.
While tongues have begun to wag over the selection process, it was gathered that each of the widow’s gets a monthly stipend of N5,000 with free medical treatment whenever any of them takes ill.
A politician, who did not want his name in the print, said: “it is purely political, the widows were selected with high level of interest, and it does not represents the interest of everybody in the state”. Meanwhile, as part of his electioneering campaigns, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had promised to set up a trust fund for the widows in the state irrespective of their political affiliations.
Since the programme started, there has been serial controversies over what was described as ignoble selection across the three senatorial districts in the state.
But the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, at a media conference on Monday in Asaba, told journalists that the selection was strictly within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members, adding that there was no nepotism in the selective policy. He said “widows deserve the assistance of the state government, and the hardworking Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa set up a trust fund for the widows, every month, each of them will get N5,000 including free medical treatment whenever any of them take ill”.
He noted that the Okowa-led administration was build on fundamental trust and achor on wealth creation, the SSG disclosed that peace and security initiative of the administration had tackled the menace of armed robbery, kidnappings, and the Fulani herdsmen, adding that over 70 roads had in the last two years been completed while the Governor had had town meetings in 21 Local Government Areas among the 25 councils.
He said: “…on biometric verification, we have done considerably well, the 65,000 civil servants which used to be bloated, has been reduced to 47, 000; we have built 62 hospitals, 107 health centres, and 10 private hospitals accredited for the contributing health scheme”.
Insisting that the clock-in, clock-out system recently introduced to the civil services system, would help to fish out more ghost workers, especially absenteeism.
Agas however lauded the Governor for regular payment of workers’ salary, saying that development of the state had been source of great concern to the present administration.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah has said that the Okowa-led administration had made exemplary legacy records of policy reforms and landmark achievements in agricultural transformation, fiscal prudence, road rehabilitation and construction, adding that projects and policies of the government had been transmitted down to the populace as it is the fundamental right of the people to be properly informed of the activities of their government.
The Commissioner therefore called on all Deltans, as partners in joint responsibility of informing the people properly and sincerely, to carry out the responsibility with a great sense of decorum and patriotism.