By Okey Muogbo
Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, one time close associate of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has described the request by the governor from the Federal Government to refund a whopping sum of one hundred and eight billion Naira (N108bn), allegedly spent on executed federal projects by the administrations of Dr. Peter Odili and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, without acknowledging the key projects on which the sum was expended as unfortunate and quite disheartening.
In a statement made available to the media, Chief Eze, a former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, stressed that as Rivers Governor, Wike should enlighten the public on the source of such fund.
Eze emphasized on the need for Wike to acknowledge that a lot of the money being demanded as refund was spent by Amaechi when he was the governor of the state but the PDP Administration allegedly refused to refund him the money.
“It is on record that immediately Governor Wike assumed office in 2015, his only major programme was to portray Amaechi as a man who misused Rivers resources and never achieved anything throughout his eight years. If Wike’s assertion is true, on what ground is he asking for refunds of monies used on federal projects executed by Amaechi.”
The party chieftain challenged Gov. Wike to tell Nigerians the circumstances behind his moves for a refund.
“If Gov. Wike is to be taken seriously, I challenge him to tell Nigerians who saved up that money for Rivers State before he can begin to ask for a refund.”
Eze highlighted that except the Airport Road, constructed by Dr. Odili’s administration, all other road projects showcased by Governor Wike were executed by the administration of Rt. Hon. Amaechi. The same Amaechi he accused of doing nothing.
The party chief expressed joy that the Federal Executive Council has sent a verification team to the state to confirm and verify Federal Projects executed by the Rivers State Government to warrant the request for refund.
He agreed with Governor Wike, that the Federal Government would refund the state resources used to execute federal projects in the state, but tasked the governor to be truthful to the fact that none of those projects was initiated or completed by his administration.
Eze expressed optimism that the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who led the Federal Government Team will write a positive report on Rivers State, regardless of the fact that the projects inspected were not done by the present administration.
Eze is very hopeful that the APC led Federal Government will consider the impact of Rivers State in the economy of Nigeria and effect the refund.
According to the governor “now we are talking of governance and we need these funds to do more projects for our people. He has given us assurance that the Federal Government will effect a refund this time around.”
Eze averred that some of the projects executed by Odili and Amaechi’s administrations and inspected were the over 41.26 kilometre dualisation of the Airport-Isiokpo-Elele/Omerelu road, the reconstruction of Ikwerre road from Education to Agip flyover junction, construction of flyover at Agip-Rumueme-Abacha roundabout and the construction of flyover on East-west road at Obiri-Ikwerre, with rotary turning and service lanes. Other projects inspected include Eleme junction flyover and interchange and Ada George road phases one and two.
Eze maintained that the efforts to erase the uncommon feats of Amaechi in the construction of modern Rivers State notwithstanding , Amaechi has remained a hero so far as governance is concerned in Rivers State and Nigeria as a whole.