Most FG Budgetary Allocations Promote Corruption -Wike
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has said that the Federal Government, inadvertently, promotes corruption whenever it allows paltry sums of money, in its yearly budget for a project, instead of the entire money required to complete such projects within the agreed time.
The governor made the observation while speaking at the inauguration of the GRA Junction Flyover project that was performed by Mike Agbedor Ozekhome, SAN, last Saturday, in Port Harcourt.
He said such practice encourages variation of the value of the projects, elongates the time specified to complete such projects and most often, leads to abandonment.
“You know, I don’t like the word variation. It is not in my dictionary. That is where you see corruption. That is why when you see federal government budget; how can you award a job of N60billion, then in the budget of the year, you put N2billion.
“What kind of contract is that? Why will there not be variation. That job will last in the next ten years and that is the problem we have in our contract execution.”
Wike explains that in such situations, the contract value becomes affected by inflation and there is a likelihood of adjustment of the items, which eventually breeds corruption.
He pointed out that such culture is not encouraged in Rivers State under his administration and there is no rationale for him to spend four years, for example doing a particular project.
“Now, if you’re putting N2billion each year, that means in 10 years’ time, it’s N20billion. So, you cannot finish the project in 20 years. And then, looking at the inflation trend, every year, the contractor will put variation. Why?
“Because the prices of things have gone up. So, they’ll put variation and at the end of the day, the job will not be N60 billion. It will go to N80 billion.
“But here, Julius Berger cannot tell us that because we have already given them 70percent upfront. So, they cannot come and tell me variation, no. By giving you 70percent, we expect you to work up to 80 or 90percent.”
Wike stated that days were gone when politicians give excuses to cover up their lack of leadership capacity.
He boasted that no administration can measure up to what he has done within six years in terms of project infrastructure in the state and the completion of five flyover bridges with four ongoing and one about to be awarded.
Speaking further, Wike asserted that the quality projects executed in the state are sufficient testament to electorate in the state to continue to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when the elections come.
He advised who ever will become his successor not to award projects if there is no money to complete them as agreed.
“Anybody that is taking over from us, know that we have campaigned for the person. The campaign is over. That is why everybody is jostling to be governor because they know what I have done. I have cleared the road, so everybody is saying I want to be governor.”
The governor vowed not to abandon the Trans-Kalabari Road despite attempts by some hoodlums who kidnapped workers handling the multi-billion Naira project.
Performing the project inauguration, legal luminary and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said Wike has through the execution of numerous infrastructural projects, demonstrated transparency and accountability in the management of the resources of Rivers State.
“He has shown that it is not enough for a governor to get his monthly allocation from the revenue account under Section 162 of the constitution but without showing evidence of what you are using that money for.”
Ozekhome noted that accountability, which has been the hallmark of the Wike’s administration, is the essence of governance and the essence of government.
He further commended the governor for showing that investing in human capacity is the best way to live in the heart of the people.
“He has shown that he possesses the capacity to develop the people, not just in terms of infrastructure, but in terms of their education and human capacity building.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Hon. Elloka Tasie-Amadi explained that construction of the GRA Junction Flyover is intended to solve traffic conflicts experienced at the intersection of Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway, Ezimgbu Road and Tombia Street.
“This flyover built by Messrs Julius Berger, has 2 Service lanes on either side of the bridge, each measuring 7.3m in width and 775m in length. You will find a roundabout, pedestrian underpass, midway turns, traffic and streetlights within the project.
“The bridge itself is 502m long with the suspended section being 292m. It has 4 lanes, in dual carriage configuration with two lanes of 7.3m width headed in either direction both separated by a median. As is our standard practice in the construction of road infrastructure, the carriage way is finished with 2 layers of Asphalt, a Binder course and a wearing course.”
Wike Urges Traditional Rulers To Engender Peace …As Awuse Heads Chiefs’ Council
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged traditional rulers to engender peace in their domain at all times.
He maintained that no government can progress without peace, stressing that it is the responsibility of traditional rulers to always galvanize and support the growth of their various kingdom through the sustenance of peace.
Wike stated this during the presentation of certificate of recognition and staff of office to six newly recognised traditional rulers in the state in the presence of the new Chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Majesty, Nne-Nwe-Eli Emohua XIII (OLO IV), Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse , at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike,who identified peace as necessary ingredient in the process of governance, warned the traditional rulers against using their position to harass companies operating in their domain.
He particularly admonished the Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Samuel Lebara Aadum Nnee, who was recognized as first class traditional ruler to use his new position to enthrone peace in Tai Kingdom for the overall interest of the people.
The five other recognised traditional rulers are all in the second class category. They include His Royal Highness, Eze Chukwuemeka Victor Elvis Nmeham Woji Okocha Orlumeni XII, Nye Nwe-Ali Rumuorlumeni; His Royal Highness, Eze (Dr) Wobodo Sunday Jonah, Nye Nwe-Ali Ibaa/Obelle; His Royal Highness, Ohna Christian Okchineke Elechi, Nye Nwe-Eli Odegu; His Royal Highness, Eze Damian Azike Ejiohuo, Nye Nwe-Ali Rundele XII, Nogbo II; and His Royal Highness, Eze Christian Amadi Evekwuru – Eze Chigu Rumuekpe.
I’m Leaving Nigeria Better Than I Met It In 2015, Buhari Boasts …Apologises For Negative Impacts On Nigerians
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he was confident that he would be leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than he met it in 2015.
Buhari made this known in his farewell nationwide broadcast yesterday
“I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Buhari said.
He also appreciated millions of Nigerians who prayed and supported him during his illness in the first term of his office.
The President said he is constantly praying for those who helped him succeed and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.
He said, “I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.
“I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.
“As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation.”
The President also apologised to Nigerians over the negative impact some of his economic policies inflicted on them.
He noted that some of his policies caused “temporary pain and suffering” to Nigerians.
According to him, “some of the decisions were difficult choices, the measures were taken for the overall good of the country”.
Buhari explained that, “In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results.
“Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologise to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the overall good of the country”.
Buhari will hand over power to Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, this morning.
Wike Honours El-Rufai, Fayemi, Fubara, Others
The outgoing governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has conferred the highest Rivers State honours, the Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS), on eight personalities in the country.
The recipients include governors of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Rivers’ governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara.
Others were the governors of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); former governors of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio; John Olukayode Fayemi (Ekiti), and Senator Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari (Zamfara).
Governor Wike, while delivering his valedictory speech at a State and honours award night in Port Harcourt on Saturday night, said the second, third, and fourth- categories of honourees cut across a broader spectrum of society.
The governor said the seven governors and former governors honoured by the State belong to the country’s highly intelligent, committed, and hardworking servant-leaders who have distinguished themselves in public service with phenomenal performance records.
“Most of all, they are prominent power brokers among the Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who signed, undertook, and worked day and night to deliver our collective aspirations for a southern president in the 2023 general elections at significant risks to their political lives.
“Their lives, reputation, exploits, and achievements are like open books, so we all know who and what they are, what they stand for, and which interests they represent and project. They have proven to be leaders made for the times rather than the ones the times and circumstances accidentally produced.
“We honour and celebrate these fellow compatriots’ inspirational achievements, exemplary leadership, profound service, love for the motherland, and contributions to national cohesion, democracy, equity, and justice”, Wike said.
The governor noted that the inception of his administration was rough and turbulent, because the then outgoing governor, Rotimi Amaechi, was very hostile and rancorous.
According to him, he also met an empty State treasury, huge public debts, a hostile political environment, and a hostile Federal Government that turned against his government, courtesy of the former governor.
“He initially struggled to prevent us from being sworn in by going to three different courts for restraining orders. When this failed, he challenged our electoral victory and had it nullified at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
“Our mandate was restored by the Supreme Court after nearly one year of legal battles. But, all three senatorial seats, a sizeable number of the House of Representatives, and over half of the State House of Assembly seats were nullified, leaving the State without representation at the National Assembly and a functional State House of Assembly. Our candidates for these offices were later subjected to a series of tempestuous re-runs before some managed to reclaim their mandates”, he recalled.
Wike accused Amaechi of laying social and economic landmines such as the shut down the State House of Assembly complex and courts with the sole intent to cripple his administration.
He alleged that having decimated the State’s governance institutions, Amaechi shifted his targets to the State’s treasury, including the statutory reserved funds, and emptied it with impunity.
According to him, “He (Amaechi) sold our valued assets, realized over $415,000,000.00 (four and fifteen million United States Dollars), and siphoned it entirely out of the State’s treasury in under two weeks. He embarked on some bogus projects he never intended to execute but to serve as conduit pipes to fritter State resources for himself, political cronies, and business partners.
“The less than one-kilometre monorail project, the multi-story Karibi-Whyte Hospital, the new Rivers State University, the Greater Port Harcourt City, and the M10 road projects are some of the elephant projects he purportedly initiated but failed at foundation levels after expending billions of public funds. He piled up debts by stopping to pay contractors and salaries to civil servants and other categories of workers, including pensioners and sportsmen and women.”
Despite initial challenges that beset his administration, the governor said he was able to overcome them to reposition the judiciary, delivered unprecedented 12 flyovers and constructed over 900 kilometres of Trunk-A roads and over 200 kilometres of internal roads across the State.
The governor boasted that Rivers State would remain a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State for the foreseeable future, saying however, that the interest of Rivers State transcends political party confines and affiliations.
He maintained that it is the right of the people of Rivers State to participate in decision-making at the highest level as well as follow the political path that guarantees a better deal for the State and people.
“Accordingly, we made the right choice when we opted for unity, equity, fairness, and justice in our consideration for a Southern Presidency during the 2023 general elections. I assure you that we are in the right direction. Rivers State is politically connected to the Centre and will be better for it more than ever this time. There is nothing to regret.”
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