The Rivers State leadership of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday challenged Governor Siminalayi Fubara to explain the N144.2 billion federal allotment that the state had received over the previous five months, arguing that there was no tangible evidence of the monies’ use.
However, in support of the governor, Joseph Johnson, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, charged that the APC was engaging in political posturing.
During a visit with Martin Amaewhule, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chief Tony Okocha, the Chairman of the state APC Caretaker Committee, questioned Fubara’s handling of the state’s resources.
Okocha said, “As a party in opposition in the state, we have received data of the sum received by the Rivers State Government from the Federal Allocation from June 22, 2023, to November 2023.
“The Rt Hon. Speaker, it is our finding that a whopping sum of N144,291,667,791.1 has been received from the federal allocation under the governor. This amount is outside the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, which is put conservatively at N10bn every month.
“We regret that this humongous amount has not translated to action in any way in terms of development in the state. What we see are heavily funded street processions and media-sponsored rallies in support of unnecessary political imbroglios.
“Fifth columnist and crisis entrepreneurs feed fat from our commonwealth. As a party, we shall not hesitate to punish any member of our party who is in the cohort in this gross financial malfeasance of our dear Rivers State.”
The APC leader urged the Assembly Speaker to keep a close watch on the governor, saying, “And if you do nothing, you are equally complicit.”
In response, Assembly Speaker Amaewhule declared that the legislature would keep passing legislation that helps people while amending those that do the opposite.
He stated, “Rest assured that the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly will not do anything outside the law. Whatever we do today is for the interest of the state so that when we are out, others coming after us will feel the impact of the service and legislation we offered to the Rivers people.”
However, Johnson, the Commissioner of Information and Communications, quickly reacted, insisting that the Fubara administration had acted responsibly.
He said, “When we come to the accountability forum, the Rivers people will see what we have done and, of course, they know that we are on course.
“Even though it is too early to assess this government, I’m sure we have since hit the ground running.
“He (Okocha) forgot that we have given about N150bn legacy project for the Ring Road, which surpasses the N144bn he is talking about. We have paid 77 per cent of it.
“We are doing 20, 000 hectares of land for housing units.
“So you don’t just raise issues or mention figures without a proper understanding as to how government works. That’s why I said it’s his own imagination.
“We have promoted civil servants who had not been promoted for over eight years. All those funds, if you calculated from June to November, it speaks volumes about what has entered. Our wage bill is N2.6bn just from the promotion of teachers alone.
“So, he needs to go back to the drawing board and ask what and what has not been done and what has been done.”