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    Breaking: Governor Okowa is a liar, I never left N700billion debt – former Delta governor Uduaghan, reveals

    Former Delta state governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has denied leaving behind a debt profile of N700billion for his successor
    - Though Uduaghan did not mention the amount he left, he said the figure quoted by Governor Okowa was wrong
    - He attributed it to blackmail, saying blackmailing was becoming a trade in Delta state
    After keeping silence for almost two years, former Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said that the widely reported N700 billion debt profile he was said to have left for his successor, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, was a false alarm.
    Although Uduaghan did not specify the actual amount he left behind in the government coffers, he revealed that: “Somehow the N700 billion has been coming down because at a time, the ministry of finance said it was N355 billion and at another time they gave another figure of a little above N200 billion. It is still coming down”, arguing that Okowa is yet to state the actual amount.
    Governor Okowa is a liar, I never left N700billion debt – former Delta governor Uduaghan, reveals
    Former Delta governor Emmanuel Uduaghan
    Speaking in Pidgin English, Uduaghan said: “E never reach where I leave am. E go soon reach where I leave am but e never reach. If you people bother to read my handover notes, una go know where I leave am."
    The immediate past governor, who was Chairman of the 2017 Delta NUJ Media Week and public lecture, told participants and journalists that: “Even when the state government has tried to correct it, people still refer to that initial figure of N700 billion till today.”
    Uduaghan noted that negative news stories are overwhelming decent news stories on the social media because the social media is accessible to everyone and gives them the opportunity to air their views positively or negatively.
    He said: “First, it provides a forum for everybody to air anything in their mind. The good, the bad and the ugly. But the result of that is that the ugly seems to be overtaking the good and the bad.
    “So we have a lot more ugly post in the social media than posts that are acceptable. It has the advantage of being fast but that speed also sometimes can be disappointing because once a wrong information goes into the social media, it is very difficult to retrieve it.
    “Even when you are able to retrieve or correct it, sometimes not more than 10 percent of the people who read the first wrong message will agree with the second message. 90 percent of the people will still be going forward with the wrong message.”
    According to Uduaghan: “I am sure all of you know that by the time I left, Governor Okowa went to the House of Assembly to make a presentation and of course the next headline was that “Governor Uduaghan has left N700 billion debt in Delta state”, and that story is still trending till date.
    “I requested for the governor’s speech to see if he said that but there was nowhere in that speech where the governor mentioned it. But somehow, either his media aides or some people just made it up. I had an option to counter the information out rightly but I decided to be quiet about it.
    “There were so many ramifications, the governor was just coming in, that was his first outing, then I counter his first outing, it has its own challenges but I decided to be quiet about it.
    Governor Okowa is a liar, I never left N700billion debt – former Delta governor Uduaghan, reveals
    Governor Ifeanyi Okowa
    The former governor who was particularly bitter over the issue of blackmailers in the state, said:
    “Blackmailing has now become a big profession, especially in Delta state. People are now eating with it, building houses with it and buying cars with it. And everybody is becoming a victim of blackmail. It is very unfortunate.
    “Let me appeal to the state government that sometimes, the activities of blackmailers can lead to very serious security problems and challenges. I am saying this with all responsibility and if the state government decides to seat and allow blackmailers to have a field day, then the result might not be good for the state.
    “I am a man of peace. I managed this state for eight years and I ensured that there was peace in Delta state and I will not be party to anything that will bring insecurity to Delta state.
    “And if I perceive that my action might bring insecurity to the state, I will also advise the government. I have met the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and advised him. I am saying this because I have not seen the result of that advice.
    But in an apparent response to erstwhile Governor Uduaghan’s claims and in defense of the state government, the Commissioner of Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration has zero tolerance for blackmail and would never encourage the menace.
    “We don’t encourage blackmail as a government because if you encourage them, they will turn around to blackmail you tomorrow.
    “The menace in the social media is being felt by everybody in the state because non-professionals are allowed to take over the media space”, Ukah said.
    The governor, who came directly to the occasion at 01:30 pm on his arrival from an official engagement in Abuja, noted that it was important for government to cooperate with the media to move the country forward, pledging: “We will continue to do the best we can to support the press” but affirmed that “There are good journalists and there are those who want to misinform Nigerians.”

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