Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
With his open plea to the public to build the spirit of lack-of-complaints on his administration’s incapability to build majority of the roads in Rivers State due to what was termed the unruly nature of contractors awarded the road contracts, Governor Chibuike Amaechi needed to be pitied.
It is however very sad that the residents are subjugated to this man-made humiliations by the contractors in the state. Many of the contracts are huge and mouth-watering sums.
The idea of not building the roads is appalling with excuse heaped on the rains. It was not during the rainy season that the contracts were awarded. So, it is very incongruous to hear them taking the rains as excuse for their recalcitrant ineptitude.
If not that the residents started shouting of the decaying infrastructures in the state, Amaechi would probably not have come out to tell us that awarding of new contracts is prohibited till the awarded ones have a human face.
But we must thank him for not suppressing our voices. In earnest, this governor is not a killer. If he were a killer, many people would have been on the run in Rivers State, as it once happened in this state. You may say that he is arrogant which he told people that he is.
The change in the myopic mindset of queuing contracts for 10% gains or more is highly appraised, if only the advert was not just to make journalists write, and after nothing would be in the hand to see.
The abandonment of the contracts or the neglect to enter into work earlier before the rains have spoilt the dynamic business environment in the state which was just recuperating from the woes caused by the activities of the militants.
All the levels of human endeavours are affected in an environment that is experiencing lack of accessible roads. The level of commerce and the facilities needed for a change are suppressed. As this continues, mixed feelings will ever greet the award of the contract among insiders and supporters, opposition and critics of the government.
Road construction always signifies the giant steps of any government, especially in this part of the world where the leaders use the tax payers’ money to build infrastructures and wear the imminent credit accruing from them as if it was their personal money used in the constructions.
Initially in Rivers State, the indigenes were making a case whenever contracts were awarded to the non-indigenous contractors. We all hoped that it could be the non-indigenous contractors that were liable for the ill-fated roads, but our suspicion have been proved wrong since the awarding of contract changed hands in favour of the indigenous contractors. This is when the spate of deplorable and abandonment of road contracts turned to a culture and tradition.
Even, Amaechi had once cried before the newsmen and stakeholders that his dilemma was his fellow indigenes. Refuse disposal indigenous contractors attitude then irritated Amaechi so much because they could not properly manage the contract.
Construction contracts of roads have been a big dilemma in this state with Amaechi also lamenting that contracts worth over billions of naira awarded by former governor Peter Odili, which were awarded to prominent Kalabari sons who, after collecting 40 per cent mobilisation ran away from job heaping their shenaniganism on the security issue that once characterized the state.
While Amaechi wondered why indigenes of a particular area could be bad-tempered and stake their integrity on contracts, the virus of abandoning contracts seemed to have become fad among the different villagers in Rivers State today. The ones that tried to “show work” on site, have not ever had a good attestation on their report cards by Amaechi of using solid or sophisticated materials.
With the multi-national firms or business outfits owned by the Rivers people handling majority of the projects, one has seen the multi-faceted mishaps in contracts that have been experienced so far.
This era is not when blames were heaped on non-indigenous business outfit awarded contracts in the state; because the indigenes felt that they (non-indigenes) cornered most of the plum jobs at the expense of Rivers businessmen.
They continued to complain that their own government is not patronizing them. Look at it now! Patronization vs. patriotism has become failure. Unthinkable before. They cried that the award of contracts to non-indigenes was one of the complaints that Rivers people had against out-gone Governor Peter Odili. But what is happening today? Just frustration upon frustration.
Sir Celestine Omehia was also accused of following the same path of awarding contracts to the non-indigenes by the indigenes. He was even accused of being pressured to do so by some powerful interests that were.
Omehia was accused by the indigenes of contempt on his people for the exaltation of the non-indigenous contractors. Today, hardly is anybody blaming Amaechi for awarding majority of the contracts to the indigenous Rivers people who have given him untold hardship, weeping and wailing every day.
As the one time governor of old Imo State, late Mazi Sam Mbakwe went with the sobriquet of a weeping governor; Amaechi should not attract the sobriquet of a pleading governor to himself.
We do not need these backlashes anymore from the government that we should not complain even when we are carrying our loved ones to the grave who could not bear the brunt of hardship in the state and as a result they gave up the ghost.
We should think deeper again and place more emphasis on developing Rivers politically and economically and physically. The huge funds being expended on construction jobs by the Governor Chibuike Amaechi-led administration should be judiciously used we. It is better to reconstruct roads instead of expending billions of the state funds on road maintenance that go down the drain occasioned by the Judas Iscariot contractors. We have endured the suffer we experience on this Golgotha called roads in Rivers State for so long. Amaechi should know that people are watching and taking records. The contractors should never wait again when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) comes to investigate the activities of the State contracts, then our sons awarded the contracts would wear women apparel to evade arrest.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org