Respected industrialist and elder statesman, Professor Pat Utomi has revealed extremely shocking details of how the Emmanuel Uduaghan administration frustrated a big development that would have benefited the poor in Delta state and Nigeria at large.
Speaking in an interview with Punch newspapers, Utomi revealed how Uduaghan’s administration had refused to accept a big donation of an ultra modern big school from a multi-national oil company as Corporate Social Responsibility to the state.
This refusal is despite the fact that development and literacy in the Niger Delta is among one of the lowest in Nigeria, even as many indigenes cry out for development.
Narrating the story to Punch in the context of the problems with governance in Nigeria, Utomi disclosed, “Anyway, a multinational oil company, one of the top three, wanted to build a school in Delta State as part of its CSR, basically to donate a school to the state – a big school. The only requirement was for the state government to accept that after the school had been built, it would accept it and own it.
“It’s like someone coming to tell you, ‘I am going to give you a fleet of cars, just tell me that you will maintain them.’ The company kept trying to get the state government to give it a letter, it couldn’t get it, and so it approached me. I said, ‘Haba! Donation! You didn’t ask them for anything, just for them to take it and maintain it?
“So I phoned the governor and he said they would take it. The company spent weeks, months, just trying to get the letter. So I called the deputy governor, who was also my friend. I said this company wants to give you this, he said okay. I travelled to Asaba and met with him. He sent for the Commissioner for Education. He said yeah, no problem. Till today, that letter has not come and the school has not been built.”
The Punch reporter seeking to know why the letter was never sent, thre a poser at Utomi. To which the elder statesman responded, “Are you asking me? That is what I have been trying to ask myself since. Whenever I tell people that I cannot understand that this is possible, they look at me and laugh.
“They say for governments in this country, unless something is coming to the people in government, it is not a serious item on their agenda. I said even to the point of rejecting a free gift? There is no condition; you don’t have to do anything, just present a letter that you will accept this gift. So it is as bad as that.”
The full interview can be found here.