Healthily Mortgaging Delta 2015: Okowa, Elumelu Two Aspirants to Fear
by Dr Chuma Mordi
Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is a trained MD turned politician, who has been Ika LGA Chairman, Commissioner for Health and Secretary to Delta State Government (SSG). He is currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health on his first tenure. Hon Ndudi Elumelu was an insurance broker who is completing a second tenure in the Federal House of Representatives where he is currently Chairman, House Committee on Health. In his previous tenure, he was Chairman, House Committee on Energy.
Both men are serious spenders in the race for Delta Governor’s seat but will you wonder how they managed to raise funds – by donations? No. Here is their racket below as best as can be revealed by evidence as pertaining to the wide abuse of their public office for personal gain, and well, their ambition to hit a higher jackpot with security vote and immunity to boot, as an elected Governor.
A short preamble for those who do not know. Federal parastatals and agencies are controlled by powerful legislators while Ministers wisely stick to their ministries. Constitutional oversight functions of the Legislature are a sword of Damocles hanging over perfidious heads of parastatals and they prefer to just eat and let’s eat with the bosses especially the Committee Chairmen. Don’t worry about how the nearly 500 federal lawmakers share, there are over 500 federal agencies and parastatals.
One of such parastatals in the health sector is the National Health Insurance Service. This agency legally deduct contributions at source from millions of employees in public and private sectors and is then expected to be an insurer to the employee against medical costs of ailments – Now right there you can see the Doctor and the Insurance Salesman – Okowa and Elumelu – ideal oversight leaders if intentions were altruistic in Nigeria. Rather a systematic bleeding of an agency that will struggle for years to account for premiums deducted, not to mention being capable of providing needed cover for its subscribers as looting is the name of the game.
The first step is the placement of the NHIS funds into favoured banks. Elumelu big brother, Tony Elumelu, is the owner of United Bank for Africa (UBA). Okowa’s chum and townsman from Agbor is Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank. Ridiculous interests on N30 Billion in the last 3 years are split down the middle. Efforts by Dr. Okonjo Iweala to move the funds to Finance Ministry were rebuffed with express threats to appear before the legislature on spurious probes.
The next step is blackmail and gather. Contracts awarded by the parastatals under oversight in Health are bundled, slashed and diced between the Chairmen. Another example is the Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA). Aside from 2014 budget allocations, a princely sum of N12 Billion was paid from Sure-P to fund Child and Maternal Care, Ndudi Elumelu hijacked N8bn of the contract funds by arm-twisting the Executive Director (ED). He threatened the ED that he was close to the President and could remove the ED who is from Niger State from office if he didn’t play ball. He rolled and wagged his tail.
This same Elumelu guy was in jail in 2011 for complicity in stealing N5.2 Billion from the Rural Electrification Agency while he was Chairman House Committee on Energy. Elumelu can indeed boast in paid advertorials in newspapers that he never got a contract from Governor Uduaghan in Delta State. He obviously doesn’t need the hassle.
Senator Okowa is seriously hands in glove with Political Contractor and Influence Peddler, Chief Jide Omokore by engaging him to finance the hijacking of the PDP structure from the Governor in a bid to skew the elections in his favour. In a deal the duo signed agreements brokered by Chief Uche Secondus PDP Deputy Chairman. The deal is for N40 billion spread over the future 4 year tenure of Okowa first term, if he is Governor of Delta State. Uche Secondus have already influenced Okowa appointees as head of PDP panels in the Ward Congress and the House of Assembly primaries. He is already promised a full house of Okowa acolytes as Gubernatorial Primaries panelists.
The false humility displayed by Senator Okowa is a veneer to shield a vicious and cold heart. Mindless pillory of funds meant for better health care delivery and a pecuniary penchant for promotion of infant and maternal mortality, exposes this wicked monstrosity behind the bespectacled Dr Death. He promoted NHIS Bill to be able to corner the funds to place in fixed deposits at favourite banks. Be aware that part of the Ebola relief funds are been deployed towards his inordinate and desperate ambition to rule Delta and anchor under the immunity umbrella.
These two aspirants best fit the recent description of Nigerian politicians by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic as corrupt and insane. Ndudi Elumelu penchant for hallucinatory lies, perfidy and unconscionable subjection of our commonwealth to the mad desire for a PDP ticket, mirrors Okowa’s treacherous and calloused heart. May God deliver Delta.
The great thing about this their golgothic aspirations is that they will be unable to loot Nigeria health funds. Deltans will make it a duty that they never smell the Government House, Asaba to replace the site of looting.
- Dr Mordi is a political analyst. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the view of Xclusive Magazine.
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