–Orders Perm Secs To Submit Accounts of Past 18 Months
A Can Of Worms Is About Being Opened In Rivers State As Incumbent Governor Moves To Probe His Predecessor Just As APC In The State Differs
Tony Ita-Etim, Port Harcourt
Rivers State is promising not to disappoint bookmakers who had predicted that it would be an interesting theatre of political drama as Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike moves to make good on his promise to probe his predecessor,Rotimi Amaechi. To this end, Wike has ordered all permanent secretaries in the Rivers state civil service to submit to him, accounts of their ministries and departments, in the last 18 months of Amaechi’s reign. Wike told the permanent secretaries at a meeting yesterday, that he would not accept any handover note from any of them unless it is accompanied by a detailed account statement.
Specifically, he said the account must make full disclosure of all expenditure in the last 18 months. “I want full details and print out of every ministry’s account in the last 18 months. I will not accept any handover note without an accompanying account details”, he said. Wike also urged the permanent secretaries to shun partisan politics and remain the career civil servants that they are noting that the roles some of them played in the dying days of the immediate past administration were politically motivated.
Addressing the permanent secretaries during the meeting which held at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, the governor regretted that some of the permanent secretaries helped the immediate past administration to illegally withdraw funds from State Government coffers even on May 28, 2015. “The government was coming to a close and some of you were busy signing cheques on 26, 27 and 28 of May. On 28 of May the Transition Committee called most of you and you refused to cooperate because they told you I will not be sworn-in”, he reminded them. Wike however promised not to witch- hunt any civil servant irrespective of his/her role during the electioneering period.
Despite that, he warned that no civil servant would be allowed to sabotage the efforts of his administration. He urged the permanent secretaries to work with his administration to revive the state and put back smile on the faces of the people. “Those of you who want to work with us to develop Rivers State will get the necessary support. You are career civil servants and not politicians. As civil servants, don’t play the role of politicians”, he advised. Governor Wike also pointed out that the back-dated employments and indiscriminate issuance of certificates of occupancy by the immediate past administration would be re-visited.
He specifically directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Survey to produce the relevant land documents for examination. The permanent secretaries were led to the meeting by the Head of Service, Barrister Samuel LongJohn. Others at the meeting were the former Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo, Former Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru and Secretary of the Transition Committee, Barrister Frank Owhor. Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State has mocked Wike’s decision to stay away from Government House in Port Harcourt for the next three months saying it was an admission of imminent defeat at the Election Petition Tribunal.
In a statement signed by Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, Media and Public Affairs aide to the State APC Chairman, the party said the decision would hastenWike’s exit from office. “We fully support this decision by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, who was unjustly declared Governor-elect by the State INEC, which never hid its connivance with Rivers PDP. He does not have the legitimate mandate of the good people of Rivers State to act as their Governor.
“The decision indicates his awareness that his days as governor are numbered and is in tandem with our counsel to him not to make any change either of the furniture or curtain in the Government House since his days as governor are very limited”, Rivers APC said in a statement. “In the circumstances, we would like to counsel Wike further to limit his appointments to few aides as making many appointments will be tantamount to killing the political careers of such appointees,” the party further said.
The party also took a swipe at Senate President, Senator David Mark, over his comment that Port Harcourt is the new headquarters of PDP. “As much as we sympathise with PDP and its leaders over the party’s new role as an opposition party, we wish to caution Wike not to spend Rivers State funds on an already comatose political party as any of the State’s kobo spent on such a fruitless venture will be duly paid back by Wike after his ouster as governor come September 2015 when the Tribunal may have acted based on the evidence before it exposing the results of the purported elections in Rivers State as mere fiction,” APC said.