ASABA/Warri: The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the sale of 60 per cent equity of Delta Transport Services Limited (DELTA LINE) to GIG Transport Development Company Limited (popularly known and operating in the name of God-Is-Good Motors) for “a paltry sum” of N161 million.It implored the state government to immediately rethink the deal.
A statement by Mr. Leonard Obibi, Acting State Publicity Secretary of the APC, said: “We strongly oppose this sale because it lacks transparency, and seems to have been organized, arranged and executed as an ‘exclusive deal’ against the best interest of Deltans. It is worrisome that, under this deal, the name ‘Delta Line’ can be changed after just five years, and it opens a wide corridor for God-Is-Good Motors to re-name the company when some ‘covert’ arrangement may again make it possible for them to buy off the remaining 40%. In the end, it is the people of Delta State that will be the losers.
“Delta Line is the only state-owned land transport company; it is not just a brand for the state but a famous heritage of the people. It is not just a company that provides service, but a ‘social contract’ between the government and the people of Delta State that has been in existence for decades since the days of the defunct parent company, Midwest/Bendel Line. Therefore, the intrinsic value of this company is far superior to the monetary digits that may have been concocted on paper. We, therefore, insist that Delta Line cannot be sold off pretentiously for peanuts.
“We are particularly vexed that this magnificent company which has been making a huge impact on the lives of the downtrodden people for many decades, and one that has great commercial prospects was abandoned and left to be run down under the various PDP administrations in the state. It is on record that billions of Naira was invested in this company under the Uduaghan administration, and whatever went wrong is further evidence of how Delta state has been poorly managed by subsequent PDP governments.
“If the indebtedness was the main reason for this sale, then we could as well ask Governor Okowa to tender a resignation immediately because he has also not run Delta State efficiently; as the State has a huge debt overburden under his watch.
“If there was nothing to hide, why did the state government prevent the workers and unions from partaking in the discussions, especially after it was agreed that they will be represented in the deliberations of the Partial Privatization Committee? How could an important transaction like this that impacts over 700 workers and their families, as well as the entire people of the state be conducted in disguised secrecy?”
“What makes it even more puzzling is the fact that the assets of Delta Line may have been intentionally undervalued. Is it not amazing that any person would come to the conclusion that 60% of the value of a company like Delta Line with many landed properties and countless mobile assets (even if we omit the immense intrinsic value of the brand), is only N161 million.
“It is a fact that the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) put forward constructive proposals since 2016 for revitalizing the company. Besides, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on the strength of the AUPCTRE proposals, also submitted a potentially viable investment and management arrangement for the business. The NLC offer for 60% stake as proposed by AUPCTRE, was to facilitate a N2billion investment with support from banks, in order to help return this service to profitability over a three-year period and save the jobs of the workers, but this was rebuffed without any serious consideration.”
The party added: “None of the PDP governors, including Okowa, has ever opened up on the true financial records of previous investments to Deltans; if only to know how much the state lost or earned, or what is accruing annually from the massive investments that the State made since 1999 in various other companies. We call on Okowa to tell Deltans the true situation with its investments before proceeding to sell off this viable business.
“We have also been informed that Okowa is planning to sell many more of the State’s assets using this same method, and we make bold to say we reject any sale that is not transparent and all encompassing.We will advise the Board and Management of GIG Transport Company Limited that appears eager to acquire this attractive asset of Delta State to dissociate their company from this questionable deal until it has met the expected standards of transparency and due process. The entire process of the sale remains flawed as it has not involved all the critical stakeholders; otherwise, they may be entering into agreements and acquiring assets that may potentially put their company in legal jeopardy.
“APC supports that the Delta Line heritage be saved. We support an open and transparent process that will breathe new life and capacity into this service. We support a thorough and holistic review, including proper revaluation of the assets of the company, in a way that does not short-change the people of Delta State but ensures efficient and cost effective delivery of the services. “