From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, declared yesterday, that he inherited over N37.9 billion debts from the Rotimi Amaechi administration.
Wike also reiterated that his administration would continue to deliver projects that would improve the living condition of the Rivers people.
He said these, yesterday, in a live radio interview in Port Harcourt, on the heels of the former governor’s criticism of Wike’s administration, at an occasion where he celebrated his (Amaechi) 52nd birthday celebration in the state capital.
Wike said Amaechi merely returned to the state to launder his image, in view of the collapsed All Progressives Congress (APC) structure.
The governor said APC is dead in Rivers, and alleged that plot to use security agencies to rig in 2019 will not work, “as the people would resist any form of electoral robbery.”
Governor Wike alleged that during Amaechi’s tenure of the former governor extorted money from commissioners and local government areas, through his wife.
“We inherited N14.7 billion as salaries and pensions from the Amaechi administration, which we cleared; N23.2 billion bank loan was also inherited and cleared by us.
“Another agriculture loan obtained by that administration was cleared by my administration. When I was chief of staff to Amaechi, all council chairmen and commissioners were paying N3 million and N2 million, respectively, to Amaechi’s wife monthly,” he alleged.
Wike said he would never make empty promises to the people because his administration is built on transparency, accountability and commitment to the welfare of the people.
The governor described as unfortunate, Amaechi’s statements on projects and programmes across the state, stressing that he would not deceive Rivers people.
“It is unfortunate that someone who was celebrating his 52nd birthday would tell Rivers people what is not correct.
“The immediate past administration abandoned projects by previous administrations. But, we chose to complete projects that they abandoned. We completed all the projects that will positively impact on the lives of our people.”
On the abandoned projects inherited by his administration, Wike said contrary to Amaechi’s claims, his administration paid the contractors N6 billion to complete the Epirikom-Rumuolumeni Road, which was awarded in 2012, at the cost of N10.3 billion.
Wike also disclosed that the road was less than 25 percent completed at the time his administration took over. Speaking further, the governor said Nkpogu Bridges were awarded by the immediate past administration, but were not constructed because of a dispute between the contractor and that administration.
He said his administration inherited the contractors, negotiated and paid the contractors for the bridges, which had been delivered and commissioned.
Wike pointed out that the administration paid for and completed the abandoned Ozuoba-Ogbogoro-Rumuolumini Road and is already working on the abandoned Garrison-Trans Amadi -Elelenwo which will be completed in December.
Wike also said his administration was working on the Elelenwo-Akpajo road and Ochigba road in Ahoada East Local Government Area, abandoned by the previous administration due to political consideration.
Governor Wike said his administration had initiated new projects that have impacted the lives of the people, positively.
He listed 42 road projects in Diobu, Borikiri, Ogbunabali, Isiokpo, Elele-Alimini, Omoku, Igwuruta-Chokocho, Chokocho-Rumukrusi, Ulakwo II-Afara-Nihi, Eneka-Rukpokwu, Rukpokwu-Aluu among other road impacting positively on members of the public.
The governor added that his administration has revived the state’s secondary health care sector by rehabilitating 13 general hospitals, while over 300 primary schools were being renovated and equipped under the state Universal Basic Education programme.
“His (Amaechi) anger is that I have been given the name, Mr. Projects. I came to serve the people. You are comparing your eight years with my two years.
“’My academic background cannot be compared with that of Amaechi. I have never had a poor grade.
“I went to University of Port Harcourt, where I studied Political Science. I went to Rivers State University, where I studied law.
“I went to Law School and I came out successfully,” said Wike.
The governor also said his administration has improved security through the funding of the operations of security agencies and regular payment of their monthly allowances.
Wike further disclosed that his administration inherited six months unpaid monthly allowances to security agencies, which has been cleared.
He added that the administration has addressed environmental sanitation challenges, as part of its urban renewal programme.