Published On: Fri, Jun 16th, 2023

Multiple Taxation And Oborevwori’s Paradigm Shift In Delta State


By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

LAGOS JUNE 16TH (URHOBOTODAY)-George Bill, a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, United States of America (USA), in one his books published  2003, ‘Authentic Leaders; Rediscovering the Secrets to Create Lasting Values, among other remarks noted that ‘an authentic leader demonstrates a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. They establish long term, meaningful relationships and have the self discipline to get results. They know who they are’.

 The above portion of the book recently came flooding after going through a news report where the Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, said his administration would collaborate with local government councils to pay the backlog of pensions owed retired primary school teachers and local government retirees, and went ahead to advise local government chairmen against multiple taxations to reduce the burden of fuel subsidy removal on the people.

Essentially, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori going by reports may not have spent one month in office as the state governor. He has built neither bridge nor constructed a kilometer of road in the state. Yet, with his declaration above, the governor demonstrated that he is a public office holder capped with authentic leadership vision and laced with virtue of sympathy and empathy, which are necessary attributes needed for quality delivery in public leadership.

Most impressive is the awareness that Oborevwori who spoke when the State Chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria ALGON, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba, also observed that; “Unlike some states, our local government councils have full control of their finances. We shall not interfere with your finances and we will offer assistance where necessary. In this regard, we shall be collaborating with the Local Government Pension Bureau, to see how the lingering pension issues will be resolved. We may not have been where we want to be but I am proud of the progress we have made”.

The strategic implication of the above declaration and mindset, in my view, is that with the election of Chief Sheriff as governor of the state, deltans have conquered their fears and can now walk boldly forward on the path that lies before them as their Governor recognizes the true meaning of three tiers of government in a Federal state and is not ready to violent or put the rule of law in danger.

Again, by his declaration that the state government under his watch shall not interfere with local government Council finances but will offer assistance where necessary, it remains a hopeful sign of a leader abreast and respects the time honored dictum that ‘’the greater the power of the Executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for other branches to perform their constitutional roles in the state. And as the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed roles and it’s able to control access to information that would expose its action to the world, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened-unless stopped, lawlessness grows and we become a government of men and not law’’.

Even as this piece celebrates the governors leadership vision, it must also be emphasized that if bringing real and sustainable development to the state is the goal of the present administration in the state, another area the governor must  watch and give urgent attention that it deserves is the prompt enforcement of the law that criminalizes illegal and forceful collection of levies also known as ‘deve’ from public and private developers in the state that was passed under him, as the Speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly, and signed into law on Friday August 25, 2018, by the immediate past governor, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

Titled “Delta State Public and Private Properties Protection Bill 2018”, the law as Cheriff would recall was made to put to an end the incessant harassment of developers particularly by youths who often times chase away investors who are ready to do business in the state with illegal levies, and prohibits illegal and forceful entry into development sites.


Enforcement of this law is important for the state to witness true and speedy development.


However, while I sympathizes with these youths on whose shoulders lies the crushing weight of unemployment in the state which pushed many into the illicit behaviour, coupled with the recent serious hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, I must on the other hand, confess that instant gratification and other negative influences emanating from the social media have conspired to render some of these youths lazy and morally bankrupt.

These unruly behaviors by some youths do not in any appreciable means exonerate the state government particularly the previous administrations of the blame for the frustration and agonizing moments the youths are passing through.

The lack of political will to tackle the challenge from its roots, or seeing the urgent necessity to cease politics and turn outwards to look for constructive and creative channels to fight the enemy called unemployment in the state contributed to the ever increasing number of both the unemployed and the underemployed which daily fuels ‘deve’ apostles and advocates.

To explain this point, if the government has done anything substantial in this direction, deltans will not have to look very far to see the impact. And my concern is not what the present administration in the state intends to do or is capable of doing. Rather, my concern is about what they are presently doing, and if it’s in the best interest of the youth.

Thankfully, with the electioneering period over, this piece holds the opinion that the government must do something to help the youth come out of this challenge. It Is in the interest of the government and the nation at large to create jobs for the youth as a formidable way of curbing crime and reducing threatening insecurity in the country. It should be done not merely for political considerations but from the point of views of national development and sustenance of our democracy.

Creating a productive collaboration between the state government and private organizations in the race for job creation in the state will be an added advantage on the part of the governor.

As a palliative,   it will be rewarding if Chief Sheriff Oborevwori  sustains former Governor Okowa’s social investments progrmme/empowerment schemes . This projects include but not limited to ;the  flagship Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and similar programmes undertaken by the Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Commerce and Industry, Women Affairs as well as the Delta State Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency and Widows alert initiative.

The youth on their part must recognize that ‘the future is full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainties. That the industrial society is giving way to one based on knowledge’. They must, therefore, learn to be part of the knowledge-based world.


Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He Could Be Reached Via; Or 08032725374.


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