Delta state Governor Ifeanyi Okowa does touch funds belonging to Local Government rather he assists the third tier monthly for them to offset salaries and pensions payments and only recently gave two point five billion Naira grant to pay pension arrears to retired primary school teachers.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Delta state Governor, Olisa Ifeajika who stated this during a press briefing while reacting to the statement accredited to President Buhari that some Governors are ‘stealing’ Money meant for Local Government also noted that the third tier of government in the state run full autonomy like the judiciary and legislature.
The 36 State Governors of Nigeria have recently come under pressure following the accusation levelled against them by the Federal Government on the alleged stealing of Local Government Funds and perpetuating poverty at the grassroots.
Delta State now coming out to deny the accusation following on from the denial and gauntlet thrown to the Federal Government by Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his Benue State Counterpart, Samuel Ortom, leaves much to be desired as to who President Muhammadu Buhari was referring to in his speech during the past week.
The President was quoted to have said Governors have made Local Government administration in the Country redundant through the Local Government Joint Account otherwise known as JAC despite his best efforts to free them even issuing an executive order to ensure financial autonomy which were rebuffed by the States.
Delta has also come under pressure being a Niger Delta State following the disclosure by the Rivers State Government has embarked on a project inauguration and Commissioning spree due to the receipt of refunds of arrears of the 13% Derivation funds since 1999 by the Federal Government.
This has placed States like Delta under a double edged pressure both over the Local Government funds and Derivation Fund arrears refunds from the Federal Government especially with the State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, now the Presidential running mate to the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.