Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, says it is unreasonable for any local government chairman not to construct roads in the rural areas, since the State government does not tamper with their funds from the federation account.
Governor Wike, who was Obio-Akpor Local Government chairman during tenure of former governor Dr. Peter Odili, described as absurd the demand by council chairmen for the State government intervention in roads that they can conveniently construct for their people.
He said these on Thursday at the Odiemudie Junction by Akoh Mini Central where he flagged off the construction of Odiemudie Road in Ahoada East Local Government Area.
The governor told Mr. Benjamin Eke, Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government that when he was chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government, he executed road projects without asking for assistance from the then governor, Dr. Peter Odili.
There was therefore no basis, Governor Wike said, for Mr. Eke to have stood before him to request the State Government to construct the road in Ward 10 in Ahoada East Local Government Area.
“I was council chairman. People in the State, I was constructing roads. I had never one day called the governor to come and do so and so thing. You have the temerity to stand before me to say, come and do the road in Ward 10.
“Thank God you said I don’t temper with all local government money. I know how much you all get. Last two months, no local government got less than between N300 Million and N400 million. What’s the salary bill, where does the money go ?”
Governor Wike directed the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs to go and get a comprehensive list of projects that Mr. Benjamin Eke, Chairman of Ahoada East Local government, claimed to have accomplished and submit the same to the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
“Because I believe there should be development everywhere does not mean you will take it for granted. So, this is the last time I will go to any local government and I will see a chairman coming out to say, ‘do so so things for us’. You must show me your report card.”
The Rivers State governor said his administration will continue to sustain the ongoing partnership with local contractors in the development of infrastructure in the State.
The governor stated that the local contractors awarded several road projects by his administration have not disappointed the expectation on them.
He maintained that they have rather shown capacity, delivered completed projects that meet agreed specifications and handover on schedule.
“I have the belief that the local contractors will continue to do their best. That is why we are encouraging them, and which is why they are performing.
“I’m happy that in our time, the few indigenous contractors we have now have shown capacity and commitment. If this goes on, then we will continue to partner with them because they are doing very well.”
Governor Wike explained the conviction of that partnership hinged on the inclusion of local content in the award of civil construction activities.
The governor Wike noted the claim made by the local contractor handling the Odiemudie Road to have engaged about one hundred youths on the project and said it is commendable.
He urged them to also offer subcontracts to the locals so that they can supply some ancillary materials that can be sourced within and around the community.
Governor Wike commended the Eze Logbo of Ekpeye Land, and the Eze Akoh for ensuring peace in the area, which has reflected in the cooperation the contractor has enjoyed.
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo said the Odiemudie Road was awarded two months ago and the contractor is expected to deliver the project on the 31st March, 2023.