The leadership of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, on Tuesday, challenged Governor Siminalayi Fubara to account for the N144.2bn federal allocation received by the state in the last five months, claiming that there was nothing on the ground to show for the funds.
But defending the governor, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, accused the APC of playing politics.
The Chairman of the state APC Caretaker Committee, Chief Tony Okocha, during a visit to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, questioned Fubara’s management 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 whooping 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.”
Responding, the Assembly Speaker, Amaewhule, said the legislature would continue to make laws that would benefit the people while it would amend those harmful to the people.
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.”
But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Johnson, insisted that the Fubara administration had been prudent and accountable.
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 hectres 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.”