A group, Isoko Brains Initiative, has frowned at the alleged gross marginalisation and deliberate shortchange of the oil-producing ethnic nationality in the Delta State 2018 budget recently signed into law by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The group also alleged under-performance by the three lawmakers representing the area in the state House of Assembly, Mr. Tim Owhefere (Isoko North), Mr. Johnson Erijo (Isoko South 1) and Mrs. Orezi Esievo (Isoko South 11), passing a vote of no confidence on them along with Okowa.
In a joint statement by its President, Mr. Urude Bartholomew; Secretary General, Celestine Ureigho, and Christian Appah, after a meeting in Asaba yesterday, the group said the entire budget and the allocation to the ethnic nationality, the governor and the Isoko legislators in Asaba, have failed the people.
It disclosed that out of a capital budget of N161,614,568,997 in the budget, what Isoko got as a whole was a meagre N4, 571, 000,000 which is below one per cent.
It stated: “The Isoko nation hereby reject the budget in its entirety because it does not reflect our interest in any way. It is a pity Isoko stooges in the Okowa-led administration could not do anything when the broad daylight robbery was taking place.”
According to them, there is a deliberate and inhuman shortchanging of the Isoko in the budget.
The group lamented: “It is a pitiable situation for Isoko nation that despite her contributions to the nation’s economy and overwhelming support for governor Okowa in the 2015 election, they only turned around to stab us at the back.”
They emphasized that in the capital budget of N161,614,568,997, a paltry N350 million was allocated for the construction of Ozoro Market, while community roads at Iyede got N180 million, Oteri Iyede road – N80 million, and Otor Owhe internal roads – N250 Million.
They listed the others to include Aradhe-Ellu Old road (N60 Million), Oleh/Emede road (N280 million), Emede Township road (N500 million), Oleh Township road (N50 million), interlocking of Old Uzere Road, Emede (N50 million), construction of Umeh road (N300 million), Okpare Aviara road (N150 million), Erowha road (N47 million) and Ikpide-Irri internal roads (N350 million) which is below 2.8% of the total budget.
The group while lamenting what it called the continued marginalisation of the Isoko by the Okowa administration since inception, enjoined them to use their voters cards to do the needful and vote only those who will have the interest of the ethnic nationality at heart.