Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said the federal government inadvertently promotes corruption whenever it allows paltry sums of money in its yearly budgets for a project, instead of the entire money required to complete such projects within the agreed time.
Wike made the remark yesterday in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of the GRA Junction Flyover project which was performed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Agbedor Ozekhome.
The governor stated that such practice encourages variation of the value of the projects, elongates the time specified to complete such projects and most often, leads to abandonment.
He said: “You know, I don’t like the word variation. It is not in my dictionary. That is where you see corruption. That is why when you see federal government budget; how can you award a job of N60 billion, then in the budget of the year, you put N2 billion?
“What kind of contract is that? Why will there not be variation. That job will last in the next ten years and that is the problem we have in our contract execution.”
Wike said in such situations, the contract value becomes affected by inflation and there is a likelihood of adjustment of the items, which eventually breeds corruption.
He said such culture is not encouraged in Rivers State under his administration and there is no rationale for him to spend four years, for example doing a particular project.
He said: “Now, if you’re putting N2 billion each year, that means in 10 years, it’s N20 billion. So you cannot finish the project in 20 years. And then, looking at the inflation trend, every year, the contractor will put variation. Why?
“Because the price of things have gone up. So, they’ll put variation and at the end of the day, the job will not be N60 billion. It will go to N80 billion.
“But here, Julius Berger cannot tell us that because we have already given them 70 percent upfront. So, they cannot come and tell me variation, no. By giving you 70 percent, we expect you to work up to 80 or 90 percent.”
The governor stated that days were gone when politicians gave excuses to cover up their lack of leadership capacity.
He said no administration can measure up to what he had done within six years in terms of project infrastructure in the state and the completion of five flyover bridges with four ongoing and one about to be awarded.
Wike asserted that the quality projects executed in the state were sufficient testament to the electorate in the state to continue to vote for the PDP when the elections come.
He advised who ever will become his successor not to award projects if there is no money to complete them as agreed.
Performing the project inauguration, legal luminary and human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said Wike had through the execution of numerous infrastructure projects demonstrated transparency and accountability in the management of the resources of Rivers State.
He said: “He has shown that it is not enough for a governor to get his monthly allocation from the revenue account under Section 162 of the constitution but without showing evidence of what you are using that money for.”
He noted that accountability, which had been the hallmark of the Wike administration, is the essence of governance and the essence of government.