The Students and Former Student Leaders Forum in Delta State has vowed to use all lawful means, including calling out Delta residents to occupy, towards resisting the move by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to secure another ₦120 billion loan barely four months to the end of his tenure.
The Forum said, unlike in the past where they took a passive posture when Okowa went on loan shopping, they will not stand aloof and watch the departing governor plunge the state into further debt in what they termed as “his ill-fated Vice-Presidential bid.”
The Guardian recalls that a whistleblower, Fejiro Oliver, had on Thursday alerted Delta residents of a move by Okowa, the running mate of the PDP’s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, to obtain a fresh ₦120bn loan from Premium Trust Bank.
The facility, according to the report, would see Premium Trust Bank provide ₦100 billion while Fidelity Bank would provide the balance of ₦20 billion, which if approved will balloon the state’s debt profile to over ₦480bn, a move that has generated reaction amongst critical stakeholders across Delta.
Reacting to the development in a press release issued and signed by the group’s Publicity Secretary, Godfrey Regha, and made available to The Guardian, the Forum called on Governor Okowa to recede the decision to procure fresh loans in the interest of Deltans and generations unborn who will bear the burden of repaying the loan.
The Forum also urged the members of the Delta State House of Assembly to wake up from their slumber and prove Deltans wrong that they are not a ‘Rubber Stamp’ Assembly by rejecting the fresh loan request by the governor.
“We know that Governor Okowa faced with an impending rejection and defeat at the poll wants to plug the state into further debt to prosecute his ill-fate Vice Presidential ambition which to all intent and purpose is dead on arrival.
“We are calling on all well-meaning Deltans in the circle of Governor Okowa to appeal to his conscience to recede his ill-advised decision to take a whooping N120b loan in the twilight of his administration.
“If Okowa fails to heed our appeal, we will mobilise Delta Students and youths in the mother of all protest to occupy the Delta Government House at Asaba, we will not sit aloof and watch Governor Okowa for his selfish political ambition mortgage our collective commonwealth to feather the political next of Atiku.
“We are not unmindful that the leadership of the Delta State House of Assembly led by our brother, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori who also seeks to govern the state will as usual say the ‘Ayes’ have it, we, however, want to put him on notice that if they don’t act in the best interest of Deltans, they will be stoned when they visit their constituency.
“Delta state is bleeding and is in an intensive care unit due to the huge debt burden hanging on our nick, no thanks to Governor Okowa, but we will not allow Okowa and his gang to take another loan to our detriment, we will resist it with every lawful means necessary including blacklisting any banks that go ahead to grant him more loans,” the statement added.