Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has dissociated himself from state governors, who dip their hands in local government funds received from the Federation Account.
The governor was reacting to the accusation by President Muhammadu Buhari that governors have continued to deliberately deplete remittances released to various Local Government Councils in their States.
Wike, who spoke at the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and Internal Roads in Rumueme Kingdom of Obio-Akpor local government area of Rivers State on Friday, said the generalisation by President Buhari was unfair.
He stated that since 2015, he has never had any reason to tamper with local government funds. He has, therefore, urged the President as a true leader, to tell Nigerians those specific governors pilfering local council funds.
Wike said: “You said the governors are taking local government funds. I want to say in the name of almighty God, I have never touched local government funds one day.
“I have never and I have no reason to do that. So, Mr. President tell us who are those people. You know them, tell us. It is not good to make class defamation of saying governors. Please, I am not one of those governors.
“So, Mr President, please, spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity Governors are not part of them . We have integrity. And do us a favour to announce all those states that they are taking local government money because you have the records.”
The governor emphasised that when he was a council chairman under the administration of former governor, Dr. Peter Odili, the governor then never touched their funds, and that eas an example he has continued to practice.
He noted that ordinarily, most of the road projects his administration had constructed should have been done by local government councils, but he has never asked any council for partnership to fund any project.
Wike said: “When I was chairman of local government under Dr. Peter Odili, he never touched one Naira of local government funds. When I was chairman, nobody touched my funds and I see no reason why I will begin to touch other people’s funds.”
The governor informed that his administration has also given optimal consideration to the payment of pension and gratuity.
According to him, over N3bn was spent monthly by the State to cater for that concern.
Commenting on the Mgbuosimini roads, Wike said the inauguration event was remarkable because he has always enjoyed over 98% support from the Rumueme kingdom.
The governor said: “In Rumueme Kingdom, I have always had 98 percent support. And I have told them, there is nothing within my powers that I can do I will not do for them.”
He recounted that he had sited Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, the Judges Quarters, relocated the slaughter from Trans-Amadi to the Rumueme kingdom and elevated the traditional stool to first class status.
Wike said: “It is the benefit and dividend of democracy. So, you have done well for me. I will never turn my back against you. Rumueme people, God will continue to bless you for all you have done for me in my political career.”
The governor also spoke about the employment into the State civil service soon and assured Rumueme people of filling their quota.
He urged them to extend their support to Peoples Democratic party (PDP) governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and all senatorial, House of Representatives and State Assembly candidates of the party in the 2023 election.
Performing the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and Internal Roads, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom aligned with governor Wike that President Buhari should name the governors misappropriating council funds.
Ortom noted that by delivering such road project to the community, governor Wike has improved the wellbeing of the people.
He said: “Governor Wike, I want to thank you for setting the pace in project execution. God will bless you. Like has been said, the essence of government apart from providing security for life and property, it is to ensure welfare, which you are doing here.”
Ortom mentioned that commissioning of projects was one vital he learnt from Wike,adding that he said has helped him to be more visible and seen to be a governor who delivers project too.
The Benue State Governor said: “One thing that I can say amongst others that I have learned from my brother, the governor of Rivers State is his commissioning of projects. Because if you don’t do it, your enemies will go out there to say this is the project they have done.
“And this is the blackmail that I faced back home in Benue State until governor Wike told me that look, you have to start commissioning projects.”