The immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has said that his administration left the state in a better condition, contrary to the claims of his successor, Nyesom Wike.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Amaechi said that his eight years at the helm of the state’s affairs were that of commitment to good governance and transparent and accountable stewardship to Rivers people.
On the N150 billion purportedly owed the state’s Ministry of Works contractors, Mr. Amaechi accused the incumbent governor of blocking an attempt by former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to repay the state funds it spent on federal roads.
“Rt.Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi inherited a state that was comatose and in dire need of infrastructure,” Mr. Amaechi said in the statement issued by Ibim Semenitari, the former Commissioner for Information in the state.
“Years of militancy and criminality had forced government and business in Rivers State to a standstill. He therefore embarked on land reclamation in our riverine communities and the massive construction of roads, bridges and interchanges all over Rivers State.
“Realizing that there is a direct link between state of infrastructure and the growth rate of any economy, it is to the credit of the Amaechi administration that by the time he was leaving office, he had completed 90 per cent of the Phase 1A of the Rivers State Monorail, completed two major interchanges, two flyovers, 25 bridges, and five shore protection projects. He also completed 890 kilometres of the on-going 1,424 kilometres of road projects across the state.
“There are over six land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olumbie/Owukiri Island, and Oba-Ama-Okrika with over 1,140,000km completed.”
Mr. Amaechi said that some of the completed roads were federal roads for which the state government was owed N108 billion.
“Mr. Wike as Minister of State for Education was among those who prevented former President Goodluck Jonathan from paying the Rivers State Government back these funds,” said Mr. Amaechi.
“It is on record that other states like Akwa Ibom and Abia received repayment for the federal roads they constructed. As at when Governor Amaechi was leaving office, the debts owed the contractors in the Ministry of Works, which were for ongoing road projects totaled N44, 942, 354, 44.10.”
Last week, Mr. Wike inaugurated a judicial panel to probe the administration of Mr. Amaechi. The governor had accused his predecessor of looting state funds, stealing properties from the Government House, and failing to prepare handover notes on the expiration of his tenure.
But Mr. Amaechi insisted that his administration left the state better than it met it, especially in the area of infrastructure.
“For the records, the Government of Rivers State under Dr. Peter Odili made substantial investment in Electric Power related Projects with the aim of mitigating the malaise of inadequate power supply,” Mr. Amaechi said.
“The Projects included generation (Omoku and Trans-Amadi 1), transmission and distribution interventions. Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on assumption of office recognized the importance of improved electric power supply in the socio-economy regeneration of the State.
“At the time Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi assumed office, of the 350 Megawatts (MW) total capacity generation assets invested by the State, only 70MW (equivalent to about 20 per cent) was available. With enthusiasm, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi ramped up the efficiency to 77 per cent availability including injecting another 360MW Green Field Generation Project at Afam, of which 180MW have been commissioned and is in commercial operation.
“To mitigate the swing in efficiency and its debilitating impact on the economy, the State Government sought private sector operators and sold 70 per cent equity stake in the power generating assets’ company to NG Power HPS. For the transaction, the State Government adopted the same model as the Federal Government in the sale Egbin Power Plant. The sale was at a price per MW higher than all the privatization MW rate done by the Federal Government.
“The proceeds from sale of the equity in the power generating assets’ company was captured as income in the 2014 Appropriation Law and deployed into funding capital projects as appropriated.”
On the salaries of civil servants, Mr. Amaechi stated that they received their March salaries while payment for April salaries had commenced by the time his administration was winding down.
On the money owed to refuse contractors and the state owned football clubs, Mr. Amaechi said that he had left instruction at Zenith bank, as at May 27, for the payment of N488 million out of the N1.6 billion owed the contractors.
Mr. Amaechi accused the current governor of directing all the banks during business with the state government to ignore his instructions.
“The three clubs: Sharks, Dolphins and Rivers Angels were in arrears of 7 months by the time governor Amaechi left government,” the statement said.
“Before leaving office Amaechi approved the payment of 7 months arrears to the team but this was held back along with approved payments that the banks did not pay. Until revenue receipts began to thin down from the federation account, the Rivers state government was paying N50million every month as welfare package for the teams.”
Mr. Amaechi also said that despite inheriting pension arrears of over N4.5 billion, he left office owing three months of pension arrears to the main stream and two months of parastatal pensions.
The former governor debunked claims that he failed to submit handover notes to his successor’s administration.
“There is no truth in this as all commissioners and heads of MDA’s submitted their handover notes to the Secretary to State Government who forwarded same to the Head of the State Civil Service as is appropriate,” he said.
“Governor Amaechi also directed the Deputy Governor of Rivers State Engr. Tele Ikuru to be the liaison between the outgoing administration and the incoming one. Engr. Ikuru as Deputy Chairman of the state Executive Governor and second man in government had all facts necessary to brief the incoming administration. He also had unfettered access to government house and to every commissioner and head of Ministry Department or Agency.”
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