Estimated reading time: 19 minute(s)
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has told his colleagues in the Niger Delta who were angry with him for disclosing the 13 per cent arrears paid to them by President Muhammadu Buhari that he has no apologies to them.
Wike, who spoke on Saturday night while conferring state awards on persons he described as lovers of the state, said he would continue to be thankful to Buhari for the money.
He insisted that without the money, he would not have been able to deliver the quality of projects he had executed in the state.
Wike wondered why his act of gratitude to the President had brought jealousy to him, saying that Buhari did what his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to do since 1999.
He said: “Human beings instead of them to say I appreciate you, they become envious. Because I say Buhari thank you, I am having problems today. That is the country we are in. I am not a fan of Buhari.
“When a man has done well say he has done well in this area. If he has not done well you say so. I have no apologies to anybody. If Buhari did not release the money from 1999 which my party did not even release, I wouldn’t have been doing what I am doing. I say it and I don’t give a damn to anybody. I don’t care.
“I got the money, I am not a fan of Buhari. He has not done well in many areas, but this one he has done well. My party members may not be happy. But they should not be angry, because this one, he did well.
“He gave me money and I used the money to do something for people in Rivers State. This money was there. Nobody paid us. I hear somebody saying that his three kilometre road would do my 15 flyovers. No problem. Do the three kilometres first. Tell Nigerians you are doing three kilometres.”
Wike heaped encomiums on local and foreign contractors for delivering quality projects to make him succeed in Rivers.
The governor, who said the awards were bestowed on lovers of Rivers, spent sometimes to dwell on the qualities of some of the recipients including the G-5 governors.
He said: “I want to say to all of you Ortom, Seyi, Ugwuanyi, Ikpeazu, Fintiri (you are not with us, you are with your uncle). In terms of principle, these young men are the people you can trust any day any time.
“Bala Mohammed is a G-1, on his own, one man riot squad. But you can trust him. He can tell you, I won’t do this. Fintiri is our friend. It doesn’t matter the differences. He wants his brother to win election. But we still keep our relationship.
“I fought Dave Umahi to the last. He never slept. But I don’t know how God is trying to help him. I was the one who fought Oshiomhole. Sorry that I fought you. Until you get information you have never had before, Oshio Baba sorry. But I did it for the interest of my party.”
No fewer than 17 persons were conferred with the highest state honour of Grand Service Star of Rivers State (GSSRS).
They are the G5 governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
Others are governors Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa.
Former governors Jonah Jang of Plateau, Donald Duke of Cross River, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Ibrahim Idris of Kogi, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Theodore Orji of Abia, Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo and a Chieftain of the PDP, Olabode George from Lagos State, also got the highest award.
The second highest State Honour was given to 110 persons such as the include the wife of Wike, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike; the wife of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Tamunominini Makinde who hails from Rivers; the wife of former Governor Donald Duke of Cross River, Onari Donald-Duke who is also from Rivers; the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi.
At least 33 persons received the governor’s Medal of Service (GMS) such as Coach Stanley Eguma of Rivers United; and other coaches like Fatai Oscho, Ndubisi Nduk, Joseph Buma, and Okey Inwenya among others.
Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has explained that he expended the state’s share of the 13 percent oil derivation, subsidy and SURE-P refunds on capital projects and payment of accumulated salary arrears.
Governor Akeredolu who confirmed collecting the money from the Federation Account between 2021 and 2022 disassociated himself from those alleged to have been stealing funds meant for the local governments from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
The governor who spoke in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said the refunds received from the Federal Government were judiciously expended on some key capital projects across the three senatorial districts of the state.
He said roads have been rehabilitated and constructed across the state.
Akeredolu noted that if the amount expended on the infrastructural projects and payment of salary arrears were juxtaposed with the refunds, it would be clear that the monies were not mismanaged.
According to the statement:“Recently, the governor commenced the rehabilitation of over 35 kilometers’ network of roads in Akure, the state capital. The roads being rehabilitated are the existing ones built by past governments several years ago and which are already in bad shapes with potholes and failed sections. The 9.5km Emure- Iporo road and rehabilitation of 15.2 Akure Phase “D” road networks have all begun.
“The 10km Okitipupa-Igbokoda virgin road which will be commissioned by the Lagos State Governor, Mr.Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is another evidence of Governor Akeredolu’s commitment to infrastructural development. These intensive capital projects are financed from these refunds and Internally Generated Revenue.
“The monthly FAAC receipts are devoted to the payment of salaries and pensions as agreed by Labour leaders at the monthly meetings presided over by the Head of Service and Chairman of Joint Negotiating Council (JNC).
“Despite Governor Akeredolu’s vow to always pay salaries and pensions as and when due, the financial crisis across the country occasioned by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic resulted in non-payment of salaries in full for some months. As at January 2022, government was owing four months salary arrears as against seven months inherited.
“Governor Akeredolu, having promised the civil servants in the state to prioritise payment of salaries, has continued to clear these backlogs of arrears. On three occasions this year, government has paid double salaries in a month, thereby reducing the number of arrears. All salaries will be cleared before the year ends.
“The administration of Governor Akeredolu stands on the tripod of Transparency, Accountability and Integrity. We will continue to hoist the flag of transparency in governance while pursuing excellence in the journey to transform the state for the better.
“As a matter of policy, monies meant for local governments are shared at their monthly Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC). Mr Governor doesn’t touch local governments’ funds. The local government chairmen can attest to the fact that they have total freedom in the management of their funds.”
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
FOOTNOTE: Do you want to share a story with us? Do you want to advertise with us? Do you need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp +2348183319097 or email: email@example.com