The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Rivers State says it is regrettable that the state has close to nothing to celebrate in the first 100 days of Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s second tenure.
The ACN, in a press statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Jerry Needam said the governor’s performance in the period under review is an indication that the present administration lacks a clear vision to take the oil rich state to enviable heights.
The party noted that without a clear-cut manifesto for the development of the state, Governor Amaechi has only had a field day merely satisfying his desires and urges to the detriment of Rivers State and its people.
According to the party’s assessment, the Rivers State government under the leadership of Rt. Hon Amaechi has performed abysmally so low in the first few months of the governor’s return to office, with practically no progress made in several sectors beyond what was on ground before the 2011 general elections in the country. The party itemizes the governor’s performances thus:
The ACN expresses total regret that the economy of the state within this period witnessed the most unthinkable manipulation. With a running annual budget of almost half a trillion naira, the ACN wonders what informed the state governor’s multiple visits to creditors, especially with the frequent issuance of billions of naira worth of bonds on the capital market, even while there is no practical use of both the budget and the loan facilities obtained.
The ACN specifically vents spleen on the State House of Assembly for failing to check the governor’s excesses but rather massaging his inappropriate ego as if they were elected by their constituents to legislate for the state executives only and not for the entire state.
The ACN wonderes why Governor Amaechi would not earmark on projects according to necessity and time, and apply the state’s adequate earnings accordingly, reiterating that “Rome was not built in a day” and, therefore advising the governor to prioritize the needs of Rivers people and address them as time and resources permit, leaving the rest for subsequent administrations to handle.
The party also expresses fears that running Rivers State on borrowed funds would not augur well for the people as monies hurriedly thrown into contractor’s hands might not so hurriedly turn out results to justify the huge investments and recoup the loans before creditors would come calling, warning that the administration’s financial recklessness might spell doom for the state if not checked and properly directed by both the governing and the governed.
The party challenges the state governor to address the discrepancies in figures given by him and his Cross River State counterpart, Liyel Imoke on the sale and purchase of the DASH-8 aircraft which stand at $9billion (sales) and $6billion (purchase).
The ACN laments that the vibrance noticed in the education sector prior to the electioneering period has largely disappeared after governor Amaechi retained Government House.
According to the party, what might be termed infrastructural gains in the sector have not been matched with human benefit as the new structures put up in various schools across the state have not been put to use by students in the state. Even the promise by the administration that most of the schools would be equipped to commence academic activities by September this year has not been kept as there are huge doubts that the structures would receive life within the month in question.
With this major failure, what seems Governor Amaechi’s most pragmatic effort may also come to naught and add to his growing list of dismal performances, the ACN observes and advises him against waiting to finish all the school projects before putting them to use, as he cannot solve all the needs of schools across the state at the same time, a situation it says could negate the good effort of the education commissioner, Dame Alice Lawrence Nemi.
The ACN in Rivers State notes with displeasure that what could be said in favour of the education sector cannot be repeated for the health sector in the state despite the huge allocation sunk into that sector by the administration.
The party regrets that even the structures managed in the sector in the first tenure were so fraudulently and carelessly raised that years after their erection, nothing happens in them, while various degrees of renovation work must be made on them before they can be put to use provisionally.
All feasibility studies and expert advice to move the health sector forward failed to yield positive result as the mega hospital project in the Town axis fizzled out and has not been explained nor resources pumped into it recouped, the party said, while several other dream projects were marked by fraud and obvious incompetence and lack of commitment.
Even where established structures existed, as in the case of the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH), lacked of internal organization, transparency and administrative commitment reduced the establishments to mere shadows, according the ACN.
While condemning the poor health status of the state and the inordinate dreams of the operators of the sector, the ACN counseled the Amaechi administration to reverse the trend by beefing up key positions with committed and visionary personnel and appointees who would not derail government programmes, especially as it concerns the primary health care sector in the state where so much money, attention and hype have gone in with no tangible results seen in the first 100 days of the governor’s second tenure.
The ACN recognizes that the huge investment made in the sports sector yielded results, and urges the state government to continue with such proactive strides.
The party notes that the 17th National Sports Festival which was hosted in Port Harcourt during the period under review was successful and to the credit of the state, even as sports groups and personalities in the state achieved victory in their various outings. The party further commends the new infrastructure raised in the sector in the state and notes that the only way to justify the huge investment on them is the conscious maintenance and near-commercialization of the facilities.
By the party’s observation, the Amaechi administration has failed in this area, particularly against the backdrop that the governor has run for the first 100 days without an attorney general and commissioner for justice.
The ACN wonders why Governor Amaechi enjoys running Rivers State without a justice commissioner, and roundly condemns the due process posture of the administration, noting that several abuses of the rule of law have gone unattended to within the period in question.
The party notes that credit ought to have been given to the state for the successful hosting of the 2011 conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Port Harcourt, but regrets that the state wastefully doled out the staggering sum of N250million on an event that was not its direct responsibility, stressing that better service delivery would have been achieved with the funds so splashed on the NBA programme.
In the area of works, the ACN notes that the Amaechi administration could be written off as particularlly nothing has been done within the period under review.
The ACN notes that almost all roads in Port Harcourt and its suburbs are impassable with the operation zero potholes and road rehabilitation programme in the state a huge fraud and drain pipes through which state funds were siphoned into people’s pockets without any result or consideration for the plight of the people of the state.
The party further notes that work is grinding to a halt on most projects including the momorial and flyover, while the state government continues to blame the rains for its abysmal performances, and charges the authorities to ensure that most on-going projects in the state are completed in the next summer before new ones are started, especially with all the loan and bond agreements purportedly entered into for the quick completion of the projects, stressing that no excuse will be entertained should the state fail again next summer.
The ACN believes that average score could be given to the administration within this period for its fight against criminality and other forms of insecurity in the state following its assistance to, and cooperation with law enforcement agencies which have led to quick responses to crimes and distress calls, and the reversal of successfully committed crimes and kidnappings.
The party, however notes that there are pockets of fresh upset and resistance, especially in rural areas such as Omuma, the Ikwerre axis, Ogoni and other areas, and calls for enhanced support against hoodlums and sensitization/empowerment of individuals and groups for the fight against insecurity.
Unlike in security, the ACN sees the state administration as a woeful failure in the provision of electricity and water especially, as well as other forms of social amenities, and decries the huge funds which the power and water ministries have gulped with practically nothing to show for it, while advising government against the release of a whopping N250billion requested by the water resources ministry for the replacement of water pipes in the state.
The ACN says experts should rather be consulted to fashion out a blueprint to revive and enhance the water scheme in the state to provide clean drinking water for the people as soon as possible.
In the areas of agriculture, social welfare, housing, lands, survey and others, Rivers ACN regrets that the state is only a non-starter and writes it off within the period under review, calling for a thorough sanitization of the ministries, while giving pass-marks to the information and environment ministries for fighting to clear the image of the state and the environment of mounting smears and garbage piled at it in the course of its daily functions.
Jerry Needam, JP
Action Congress of Nigeria
Tuesday, September 6, 2011