Exposing the Truth Behind Oborevwori’s Government Lies

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    Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori

    By Ovasa Ogaga,

    There is no doubt that the Delta State Government led by Elder Sheriff Oborevwori boasts of an assemblage of intellectuals and highly educated individuals, including his communication team led by the Commissioner for Information, Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza. However, their recent reaction to my previous article clearly shows a lack of basic communication and strategic communication management skills. They hastily churned out three different, verbose, and deflective articles in a failed attempt to discredit my assertions.

    Ordinarily, I would have let them continue in their self-imposed delusions, which have become the hallmark of this administration. However, to address their intellectual laziness and collective dissociative amnesia, and to remind them that many Deltans are discerning and will not swallow any garbage thrown at them, no matter how colourfully wrapped. Thus, I will dignify them with a reply.

    What Oborevwori’s media bullies fail to realise is that truth is constant. No matter how fast lies travel, they will eventually be caught by the truth. Today, the truth stares them in the face. Rather than addressing the issues raised in my article to invalidate my assertions, that Governor Oborevwori is acting as if he is a placeholder for Dr. Okowa, they chose to deflect the issues by dragging their only known political opponent, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege into the discussion.
    One wonders why they dodged the questions raised in the article and instead dragged Omo-Agege into a simple statement of facts. The issue is that only two ministries, where former Governor Okowa and current Governor Oborevwori have vested interests are being funded by the current state government.

    Despite Delta PDP’s victory at the Supreme Court, where the party defeated Omo-Agege, his shadow still seems to haunt this government. Each time a Deltan raises an issue, it’s always linked to Omo-Agege. Is the governor’s media team suggesting that Deltans have no right to independent opinions or are incapable of forming and holding opinions? How low do Governor Oborevwori and his aides think of Deltans? It’s sad.

    To clear any doubt, I, Ovasa Ogaga, was never an aide to the former Deputy President of the Senate, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, nor am I indebted to him to warrant being described as his loyalist. The issues raised in my article were not personal, but are in the interest of Deltans. Equally, I have no personal issues with Governor Oborevwori. Therefore, the media team should address me directly and answer the questions posed instead of hiding behind Omo-Agege to score cheap political points.

    It appears the Commissioner for Information and his team have not realised that the campaign period where propaganda and lies, could go unchallenged is over. Deltans are now more than ever ready to question every action of the PDP-led government and how they have appropriated and spent our commonwealth in over one year. The sooner they understand this, the better.

    The Delta Ministry for Information, like an onion that smells nice on the outside but is rotten inside, should explain why this government prefers to spend millions of Naira monthly and quarterly on national televisions and newspapers while allowing our state television houses Edjeba in Warri and Asaba to rot away due to poor funding. If things are truly working well as they want Deltans to believe, why are DBS Asaba and DRTV Warri off the air for most of the year?

    These stations, which used to be the pride of Deltans, have been reduced to Facebook TV under their watch. For DBS Edjeba-Warri, the state government has not funded it since the Okowa era. Both the radio and television arms of DBS Warri are dead. The state government needs to acquire modern, energy-efficient television and radio transmitters powered by solar power systems. For the few days, the station would be on, it would go off and on for over ten times when small radio stations in Uvwie, Warri and Ughelli were running uninterrupted. Is that not shameful?

    As the saying goes, charity begins at home. For any serious government, instruments or agency of the “mouthpiece” or information of the state government such as DBS Warri, DBS Asaba, The Pointer Newspaper and Delta State Orientation Bureau should be at their optima.

    I challenge the Delta State Commissioner for Information to an open debate to present figures on how much has been released to him from his ministry’s capital budget in the past six months and what the money was used for.
    The Okowa-led government made attempts to kill and relocate DBS/DRTV Warri to Asaba through the then Commissioner for Information, but this was opposed by some Urhobos and Delta South stakeholders. This led to the station being starved of much-needed capital funding for years, resulting in the breakdown of the television and radio transmitters. As we speak, DRTV Warri cannot boast of four functional cameras. Today, the station resorts to renting low-grade cameras for coverage, leading to poor visual quality. The studio microphones are in a bad state. You hear distasteful noise from the studio due to poor and bad studio mics. Two weeks ago, I was listening to the “State of the Nation” weekly radio program, callers upon callers were demanding that Governor Oborevwori pay special attention to DBS Warri after the program went off air three times for a less than two hours call-in program.

    The fact that DBS/DRTV Warri still occasionally hits the airwaves is thanks to the creative ingenuity of the management and staff who collectively work to keep the station alive. The plan was to frustrate the station until it dies naturally, and the current Commissioner of Information is following that path by starving it of funds, fueling speculation that it is part of the ‘Anioma Agenda’ to cripple the station. How else do you explain to outsiders that radio and television stations of an oil-rich state such as Delta will be out of airwaves for two-to-three months?
    A proactive and forward-looking government would prioritize fixing our state-owned radio and television stations rather than diverting funds to service other stations that pay taxes to other state governments. It does not take rocket science to provide the station with modern, energy-efficient transmitters powered by solar systems, like other privately owned stations in Delta. Both stations should be on air 24/7.

    It is a shame that under Oborevwori’s watch, DBS/DRTV Warri, which is probably the first state-owned television he watched as a youth, is decaying under his nose. For over a year as a governor, he has not deemed it necessary to visit the Edjeba Warri station which is now in comatose. The state tabloid, The Pointer, is also suffering the same fate. Deltans across communities in the past wake to see The Pointer in newsstands. Today, nobody hears of the once-popular paper. The rot in the Ministry of Information is unimaginable.
    Other states’ television stations like Lagos Television and OGtv are on GOTV. Why can’t the Delta State government harmonise the programs of DBS Asaba and DRTV Warri and link them to GOTV if they can’t afford DSTV? This would ensure that a greater number of Deltans are well-informed about government policies and programs. No, they prefer bigger budgets with 30% kickbacks and cronies masquerading as media consultants siphoning state resources to service national media houses, while their targeted audiences are Deltans in remote riverine communities.

    From all indications, Oborevwori’s administration has a phobia of the local media. How else can one explain that in a year and two months since he assumed office, he has not organized any media briefings for journalists in the state? A government that claims to have done well should be bold enough to face the media and tell its success stories. His counterparts in Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River engage the media monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Why is this not the case in Delta? What is Governor Oborevwori afraid of?

    If Governor Oborevwori cannot sustain the quarterly media briefings that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa maintained for eight years, he could borrow a leaf from former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who held monthly Pidgin English live media chat on DBS Asaba and DRTV Warri, which were robust and engagingly impactful. Sadly, if he were to do this today, Deltans would not be able to tune in because both state-owned stations are in the Intensive Care Unit.
    I am not surprised that those managing the governor’s media are unaware that no modern political leader can succeed by running and hiding from the media. Rather than engaging the media, the Commissioner for Information announced the cancellation of the institutionalised governor’s quarterly media briefing during his first meeting with the leadership of the State Council of NUJ. This enables them to churn out and dish out propaganda and cooked-up information as press releases without being questioned.

    Today, their lies have caught up with them. If the state media organisations under the Ministry of Information are not working, how can we believe statements from the ministry claiming that all sectors of the government are working? Or the “Ukodo” Has Not Reached the Ministry of Information? Every lie has an expiration date.

    Ovasa Ogaga, a journalist and public analyst, writes from Ughelli.