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Wike: Building A New Rivers State On Transparency And Accountability

Simeon Nwakaudu

During the campaigns, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike promised to build a new Rivers State where transparency, accountability and comprehensive development shall be the watch word. This promise was replicated in all the 23 local government areas of the state. He, at every turn charged the people to hold him responsible should he fail to deliver on that promise. Less than one month into his people endorsed administration, Governor Wike has lived up to his promise. He has established the framework for transparency, accountability and respect for due process in governance. He has returned the reins of governance to the ordinary people of Rivers State and their elected Representatives. He has established that never again will the people of Rivers State be taken for granted under any flimsy excuse. Importantly, Governor Wike has set in motion the process for the recovery of state assets and funds that ended up in private pockets.

He has made it clear that nobody, no matter how politically connected he maybe, has the right to impoverish the state and force the people to live in poverty, despite the huge resources of the state. It is on the premise of his pro-people consideration that he has taken steps to reform governance in Rivers State and re-orientate the people that it is all about Rivers State. It is not about any individual. The good of the majority of Rivers people is what counts. It is in the best interest of Rivers State that Governor Wike constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the investigation of the administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi with respect to the sale of valued assets of the state.

Inaugurating the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, Governor Wike declared: “In exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Section 2 (1) of the Commissions of Inquiry law of Rivers State (Cap 30 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999) and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, Governor of Rivers State, hereby constitute and appoint a Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the investigation of the administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi”.

The governor charged the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the sale of Omoku 150 MW Gas Turbine , Adam 360 MW Gas Turbine, Trans-Amadi 136 MW Gas Turbine and Eleme 75 MW Gas Turbine. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry is also expected to investigate the mono rail project and the sale of the Olympia Hotel by the Amaechi administration. Governor Wike further directed the Commission to investigate the non execution of the contract for the construction of the Justice Karibi White Hospital after the Amaechi administration paid $250 million United States dollars to the contractor. He further directed the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the withdrawal and expenditure of the accrued N96billion from the Rivers State Reserve Fund without compliance with the extant law.

He urged the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to make appropriate recommendations that would assist the State Government recover proceeds from the gas turbines sold by the Amaechi administration. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry also has the mandate to recover funds wrongfully disbursed on the failed Justice Karibi White Hospital, the funds illegally withdrawn from the State’s Reserve Fund and the N2billion illegally disbursed under the Agriculture Credit Scheme.

Aside working towards stabilising governance in Rivers State through the recovery of stolen assets and wealth, Governor Wike has set in motion a process of regular interaction and communication with all segments of the Rivers community. In less than one month, he has explained governmental actions to the traditional rulers, elected representatives, business community, political stakeholders, journalists and different professional organisations. He has also interacted with the entire Rivers community through a phone-in programme where he answered all questions from the people.

This is transparency exemplified. The people of Rivers State overwhelmingly voted Governor Wike because they were tired of the old order where the governor was an emperor whose actions negated the rule of law, transparency and good governance. Governor Wike has introduced a new order where transparency, accountability and pro-people governmental actions takes precedent over that of the individual leader. With the steps already taken by Governor Wike to discourage corruption in governance, Rivers State will take its place in the comity of states. He has established that when it comes to the issues relating to Rivers State, there will be no compromise. Rivers State is already on the path of recovery, growth and development. That is what the New Rivers Vision is all about.

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