Published On: Thu, Jan 24th, 2013

Delta State Council Chairman Threatens to Resign over Pressure To Share Allocations

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Goodluck Idele, the recently sworn-in caretaker committee chairman of Isoko South local government area of Delta State, has threatened to resign in the face of mounting demands by political figures in the area that he offer them huge slices of the council’s monthly revenue allocations.
“Mr. Goodluck Idele has been passing through a perilous time in the past two months because of pressure by some political leaders from the area who insist he should share the council’s allocation with them,” said a source who is close to the chairman. Oil-rich Delta State is notorious for unabated corrupt practices that have undermined economic development and jeopardized programs to alleviate the suffering of millions of residents.
One of our sources lamented that the local council chief was troubled by persistent demands by so-called stakeholders that developmental initiatives be stalled or stopped so that budgetary allocations may be distributed among prominent politicians.
“Barely two months after the council chairman was appointed, some of our Isoko South political leaders mounted undue pressure on him before Christmas to release their own share of the council’s allocation,” said the source. He added: “The council chairman has made it clear that, should the undue pressure continue, he will have no other option than to resign and return to his base in Lagos.”
Several sources portrayed the embattled council chairman as an outsider who is not known to be, in the words of one person, “a real politician.” The sources disclosed that certain political players close to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had nominated Mr. Idele for the chairmanship.Among those players, according to our sources, were Johnson Erijo, a member of the state assembly representing Isoko South 11, and Askia Ogieh, a former chairman of the council. SaharaReporters learnt that the players also arranged the appointment of Fineboy Dickson as Mr. Idele’s vice. “Initially, it was Askia that was scheming for the position of chairman, but the majority of the Isoko populace rose against him,” said one source. “As a means of compensation, he was asked to nominate someone and he brought forward Mr. Idele.”
A source close to Mr. Idele revealed that the area’s political leaders approached the caretaker chairman just before Christmas and asked for huge handouts. When the chairman stated that his priority was council staff welfare, one of the “prominent politicians” told him that it was a tradition to release the council’s allocation for sharing among political leaders. “They told him that anybody selected to run the council must follow the tradition of sharing money,” said a source.

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