The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC, knocked the state Governor Nyesom Wike over plans to approach the Rivers State House of Assembly to consider a request for the approval of a whooping sum of N18 billion for the construction of a flyover and road expansion project in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The APC, a strong opposition party in the state expressed its displeasure in a statement with the caption “Wike’s Decision to Approach the Rivers State House of Assembly: Proof of What We Have Always Known”, signed by the Spokesman of the party, Ogbonna Nwuke, and made available to The Story, on Tuesday.
According to the party, “Today, the Rivers State House of Assembly considered a request for the approval of the sum of N18 billion, required for the construction of a new flyover project in the State capital.
“We understand that the Assembly sat to look at that request put before them by officials of the Rivers State Government.
“We have persistently maintained that some of the projects being executed by the Rivers State Government have not been properly backed by the power of appropriation. In order words, that some of the policies and programmes on which scarce funds belonging to taxpayers have been spent by Governor Nyesom Wike and his administration, were never part of the budget.
“We are saddened by the fact that it took our intervention for leaders, who have failed to comply with international best practices put in place for purposes of ensuring accountability, probity and transparency, to contemplate doing so.
“Our State operates a system of laws which makes the voice of the people a major plank of our democracy. Our system is built on the notion that the executive, legislature and the judiciary are independent. This universal principle which is revered by the Rivers people, cannot be swept under the carpet.
“We owe a sacred duty as Rivers people and the owners of this State to protect rights which are enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. As a political party, the APC is acutely aware of its historic mission, which to wit, includes the defense of the rights, freedoms and privileges of the people and their democratic institutions.
“The APC will in accordance with the provisions of our Constitution refuse to abandon its mission. This is our promise to, and social contract with the Rivers people.
“What played out today is proof of the fact that the APC is committed to the protection of the power of the people. It is a confirmation of what we have always known that the actions of the Rivers State have not been consistent, most of the time, with the provisions of our laws.
“We have insisted that what is transpiring in Rivers State amounts to a rape on democracy. We have maintained the views of the people, or their representatives, must be sought. Government cannot act as if it has the power to do anything, including the power which allows it to appropriate the power of appropriation which belongs to the State House of Assembly.
“Once again, we urge the Rivers people to gird their loins. The fight ahead is greater. It is the fight against impunity, abuse of office or misuse of power. It is a fight to protect democratic tenets and the struggle to ensure that the people remain the centre piece of our democracy.
“Now that Government has decided to start on a clean note, we believe it owes a duty to apologise to the Rivers people, especially for consistently acting in breach of canons, which preach inclusion and participation, respect for democratic processes and the rule of law as well as regular engagement between it and the people.
“Finally, we express our opposition to the use of a whooping sum of N18 billion on the construction of a flyover and road expansion project in Port Harcourt.
“That kind of money can be used judiciously in developing cottage industries and creating jobs, which would engage our youths and strengthen the economy. Roads leading to most of our Local Government Areas have completely packed up. They require to be fixed in order to end the misery of the people.
“To date, we remain a consumer State instead of a producer State, which depends solely on federal allocations. Government should fulfill its promise to embark on agriculture. Our people cannot continue to watch while their contemporaries elsewhere are motivated by their state governments to engage in productive activities”, the release added.