GOVERNOR of Rivers State Nyesom Wike, on Saturday, said the Federal Government promoted corruption through its national budgeting system by allocating paltry sums of money to projects which ought to be completed in an agreed time.
The governor argued that the style inadvertently encouraged avoidable ‘contract variation’ of such projects and abandonment of many of them.
The governor made the observation while speaking at the inauguration of the GRA Junction Flyover project performed by a lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, on Saturday, in Port Harcourt.
“You know, I don’t like the word ‘variation.’ It is not in my dictionary. That is where you see corruption. That is why when you see the Federal Government budget. How can you award a job of N60 billion, then in the budget of the year, you put N2 billion?
“What kind of contract is that? Why will there not be variation. That job will last in the next ten years and that is the problem we have in our contract execution,” Wike stated.
He explained that in such situations, the contract value would become affected by inflation and there would be a likelihood of adjustment of the items, which eventually bred corruption.
He pointed out that such culture was not encouraged in Rivers State under his administration and there was no rationale for him to spend four years doing a particular project.
According to the governor, “Now if you are putting N2 billion each year, that means in 10 years’ time, it’s N20 billion. So you cannot finish the project in 20 years. And then, looking at the inflation trend, every year, the contractor will put variation. Why?
“Because the prices of things have gone up; so, they will put variation and at the end of the day, the job will not be N60 billion. It will go to N80 billion.
“But here, Julius Berger cannot tell us that because we have already given them 70 per cent upfront. So, they cannot come and tell me ‘variation,’ no. By giving you 70 per cent, we expect you to work up to 80 or 90 per cent.”
Governor Wike stated that days were gone when politicians gave excuses to cover up their lack of leadership capacity.
He boasted that no administration could measure up to what he had done within six years in terms of project infrastructure in the state, noting that this could be attested by the completion of five flyover bridges with four ongoing and one about to be awarded.
Speaking further, Wike asserted that the quality projects executed in the state was a sufficient testament to the electorate in the state to continue to vote for the People’s Democratic Party when the elections came.
Performing the project inauguration, Ozekhome said Governor Wike had, through the execution of numerous infrastructural projects, demonstrated transparency and accountability in the management of the resources of Rivers State
“He has shown that it is not enough for a governor to get his monthly allocation from the revenue account under Section 162 of the Constitution, but without showing evidence of what you are using that money for,” he stated.