Some senior managers of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) have expressed dismay over the decision by the commission’s managing director to squander N58 million on a party.
One of the managers told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that the commission’s MD, Williams Makinde, spent the lavish sum to host an end-of-year party for workers and to offer gifts to reporters. The lavish party took place on December 15, 2015.
“This is a time when the commission has been finding it difficult over the last 13 months to pay workers their salaries,” said the source, adding, “Why then was a party and gifts for journalists a big priority for the MD?”
SaharaReporters learned that the cash for the get-together party was pulled out of the commission’s account at Zenith Bank.
Another source claimed that Mr. Makinde spent N8 million to buy bags of rice, oil, and hampers for reporters.
A journalist told SaharaReporters that the commission MD’s special assistant on media, Prince Orhomonokpaye, told a group of reporters in Sapele, Delta State, that the commission had spent N8 million to buy them gifts. He added that, once the media assistant realized he was talking to reporters, he made a swift U-turn, claiming that the gift items had been purchased on credit.
A manager at the commission condemned the MD’s priorities, adding that the commission’s financial condition had worsened since Mr. Makinde assumed office. He said the MD was acting recklessly and running the commission like a private estate business.
The source stated, “Do you that the MD donated a bus to African Independent Television, a private television station in Oghara, even though the state-owned television station lacks vehicles and other tools to carry out their work effectively across the state.”
“The cost for the venue of the end-of-year party was inflated. I know that, normally, the venue [Brown Hill Event Center] is rented out for one million naira. But the MD inflated it to N5 million. On a very good day, the end-of-the-year party should not have cost more than N5 million,” the source said. He accused the MD of conniving with other board members to spend the huge sum of N45 million on the party in addition to wasting N8 million purportedly to buy Christmas gifts for reporters.
SaharaReporters learned that Amaju Pinnick, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), owns the Brown Hill Event Center.
Meanwhile, Mr. Makinde denied lavishing the sum of N50 million on a party and an additional N8 million on gifts for journalists.