My Vision For Honest Leadership And Responsible Government | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agenda, Opinion

My Vision For Honest Leadership And Responsible Government

Posted: Jun 30, 2015 at 3:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State, in this first part of a three- part maiden address to members of the State House of Assembly, gives his thoughts on leadership and governance.


My mission today is principally to shed more light on our vision for Delta State predicated upon honest leadership and a responsible government. We have come into office at a very difficult and turbulent period in the history of our country. The spectre of broken promises and the profligate lifestyle of some of those entrusted with leadership have combined to erode public trust and confidence in government, and our people are beginning to lose hope.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa,

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa,

Our first responsibility as a Government is to rekindle that hope, and give our people the power to dream again. Our people are longing for good leadership; they want to see true role models. Indeed, they want more than a simple change of guard followed by cosmetic reforms. This is the first crucial test we face as a government.

The starting point for us as elected leaders is to lead by example. It is a fact of life that people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. The followers will always do what they see the leader do, not what he says. So in our demands, attitudes and lifestyle choices, we must display the sacrifice, simplicity and discipline expected of every citizen in our current economic predicament.


Now let me touch a bit on the state of our economy. Upon my assumption of office, I was formally briefed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the State on Tuesday June 2nd on the state of our finances. The highlight of that briefing is that the revenue receipts from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has dipped significantly, dropping to just N8.03 billion in April, (as received in May 2015), from a high of overN20billion in previous years.

Currently the State is grappling with a Revenue Bond and indebtedness to commercial banks totaling N98.62 billion (Principal sum), while outstanding contractual obligations is N538, 601,962,421.50. In 2011, the State Government took a N50 billion facility from the bond market, with a repayment period of seven years in 84 installments at N1.098 billion each month. This facility will terminate in September 2018 with 40 more installments (totalingN43.92 billion) to pay with effect from June 2015.

In November 2014, Delta State also acted as guarantor to some select contractors supported by the issuance of an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) of N2.23 billion monthly, for which the contractors received the total sum of N40 billion. The State now having paid four installments, has 20 more monthly installments totaling N44.60 billion (including interest payments) extending through year 2017 to pay. We also have a N19 billion and another N715 million overdraft facility outstanding with Zenith Bank Plc. Some other smaller loan and overdraft facilities totaling about N2 billion with other banks have to be paid.

As it stands today, a total monthly deduction of N4.60 billion will be made from our FAAC receipts with effect from this June through to March 2017, and thereafter N1.098 billion monthly until September 2018. This leaves us with a balance of N3.4billion assuming the FAAC allocation stays at N8.03 billion. Currently, the receipts from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is about N2.0 billion monthly, after deducting cost of collection.


The implication of the above scenario is that the fund available to run the State is N5.40 billion monthly in the next two years, except there is a significant rise in oil receipts and therefore FAAC earnings, as well as our IGR.

Unfortunately, the available fund of N5.4b is insufficient to offset our monthly wage bill, let alone fund overhead costs or for government to embark on capital projects. The State workforce as at May 28, 2015 stood at over 60,000 persons with a monthly personnel cost of N7,437,940,015.38 inclusive of the N678m State Government’s support to Local Government Councils for the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries.

The 2015 budget of N409 billion as passed is no longer realistic in the wake of current realities, which clearly show that our expected revenue is now far below what was projected. This budget, therefore, has to be reviewed. It is obvious from available statistics that the State will run a monthly deficit of about N2 billion, and would need to borrow to pay salaries of its workers, and finance the running cost of government. This is the dilemma that we face as we strive to deliver on our campaign promise of prosperity for all Deltans.


I have gone into this much detail regarding the state of our finances to put the Legislature on the same page with the Executive, so that we can think together, plan together, and tighten our belts going forward. The severity of this crisis and our response to it will shape the future of our beloved Delta State. I am told that when written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. I see more opportunities in our current economic predicament than the threats it poses. Times of prosperity can easily breed complacency, dull our sensitivity and foster an indulgent lifestyle steeped in corruption. But because necessity is said to be the mother of invention, periods of adversity often task our creative abilities, engender discipline, and imbue us with the capacity to pull together as a family.

We must muster the resolve and political will to boldly – and decisively – confront the challenges that we face, right the ship of our State and lay a solid foundation of prosperity both now and for future generation of Deltans. It won’t be easy. It is not supposed to be easy. But there is no gain without pain, no prize without a price. A good place to start is for us to reject the old ways of doing business. First, beginning with me and this honourable House, we must be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to reduce the cost of governance. Secondly, the endless turf battles and approach to legislative action would need to give way to civility and respect for each arm of government. Thirdly, the House must make laws that protect and promote the interest of the State and our people. Fourthly, we must act with the sense of urgency that our current situation demands, and navigate the ship of state aright.