The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has intensified scrutiny over the stewardship of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, pressing for accountability regarding the utilization of the substantial N144.2 billion federal allocation received by the state in the past five months.
Amid accusations of mismanagement and a lack of visible developmental projects, the APC’s concerns were articulated by Tony Okocha, the Chairman of the state APC Caretaker Committee, during a visit to Martin Amaewhule, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Okocha emphasized the need for transparency and justification of expenditure, citing a growing apprehension over governance and fiscal transparency under Governor Fubara’s administration.
“As a party in opposition in the state, we have received data of the sum received by the Rivers State Government from the Federal Allocation from June 22, 2023 to November 2023.
“The Rt Hon. Speaker, it is our finding that a whooping sum of N144,291,667,791.1 has been received from the federal allocation under the governor. This amount is outside the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, which is put conservatively at N10bn every month.
“We regret that this humongous amount has not translated to action in any way in terms of development in the state. What we see are heavily funded street processions and media-sponsored rallies in support of unnecessary political imbroglios.
In response, Joseph Johnson, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, defended Governor Fubara, accusing the APC of politicizing the issue. Johnson’s response underscores the political tension between the ruling party and the opposition, with the latter scrutinizing the governor’s financial governance and project implementation.
Okocha, in presenting data on federal allocations received by the state, expressed disappointment that the substantial amount had not translated into tangible development projects. He criticized what he perceived as misallocation of resources towards political activities rather than developmental endeavors.
The APC leader urged the Assembly Speaker to exercise oversight over the governor, emphasizing accountability in governance.
In his response, Speaker Amaewhule assured the public that the legislature would continue to enact laws beneficial to the people and would amend any legislation deemed harmful.
“Rest assured that the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly will not do anything outside the law. Whatever we do today is for the interest of the state so that when we are out, others coming after us will feel the impact of the service and legislation we offered to the Rivers people.”
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Johnson, in reaction to the claims insisted that the Fubara administration had been prudent and accountable.
He said, “When we come to the accountability forum, the Rivers people will see what we have done and, of course, they know that we are on course.
“Even though it is too early to assess this government, I’m sure we have since hit the ground running.
“He (Okocha) forgot that we have given about N150bn legacy project for the Ring Road, which surpasses the N144bn he is talking about. We have paid 77 per cent of it.
“We are doing 20,000 hectres of land for housing units.
“So you don’t just raise issues or mention figures without a proper understanding as to how government works. That’s why I said it’s his own imagination.
“We have promoted civil servants who had not been promoted for over eight years. All those funds, if you calculated from June to November, it speaks volumes about what has entered. Our wage bill is N2.6bn just from the promotion of teachers alone.
“So, he needs to go back to the drawing board and ask what and what has not been done and what has been done.”
Commissioner Johnson, defending the Fubara administration, highlighted ongoing projects such as the Ring Road and housing units, asserting the government’s commitment to prudent financial management and accountability. He dismissed the APC’s accusations as unfounded and urged a proper understanding of government operations.
The exchange reflects the political dynamics in Rivers State, with the ruling party facing scrutiny over its management of state resources and the opposition pressing for accountability and transparency in governance.