Wike's several off-sides
Rivers State Governor, Mr. Ezebuwon Nyesom Wike, has made some seemingly populist declarations and controversial appointments since he was sworn into office by an imported state Chief Judge on May 29. The populist slogans, the product of a deliberate media agenda hatched by a hired team from across the borders, had anyway, done little to give new face to Wike’s rating. In all intent and purpose, the Governor remains a man in dire need of a speech therapist; a Governor whose public image runs too low to last a week. Were he on a field of play, a strict referee would have red-carded him.
A little trip on Wike’s valley would do. First, he awarded a contract to Julius Berger, a company that parked out of Rivers State over 5 years ago, trenching in a neighbouring state, verbally. Wike termed the contract, ‘Operation Zero Potholes’. The drama was well-staged by Wike who smiled into the cameras and applaud of his praise singers. Wike followed no Due Process in the award. There was no Public Notice for tender from interested companies. Wike left no clue as to when, where and how JB became the preferred bidder. No finesse was introduced much as no decorum was attached. Anyway, those who claim to know Wike had said he has no room for thoroughness. The Bureau for Public Procurement, otherwise called Due Process, a body established by Law of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was manacled by Wike. Unlike Wike, former Governor Chibuike Amaechi had submitted every contract award to Due Process and necessary competitive bidding where transparency prevailed. But in Wike’s case, as exemplified in the JB road show, arbitrariness has been promoted s state status. If Wike kicked-off – as he actually did – in such brazen, reckless manner, then, future contracts and other government transactions will not fare any less.
Next, Gov. Wike made appointments into the Board of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority. Wike first, appointed Mr. Desmond Akawo, currently Nigeria's Ambassador to South Korea, the Sole Administrator. The Ambassador is not known to have resigned his diplomatic appointment. As controversial as Akawo's appointment is, Wike made 2 other worse appointments into that Authority. He appointed his direct cousin and then, his in-law as members of that Borad. If Wike made those appointments on merit, then merit means nepotism. Then, if they were done to make governance an act of patronage, it means that competence and fair competition have no space under Wike’s regime. Or, would he, in good conscience, say that his direct blood relation and his in-law would have been the best had they candidates of equal and transparent competition? What Amaechi killed in Rivers State as Governor – nepotism – has been resurrected by the power of Wike.
To add to his constitutional breaches, Wike did not include the 3 statutory bodies prescribed by Law to serve on the Board of the Authority. By Law, Representatives of the Ministries of Land, Finance and Planning, are COMPULSORY members. By cutting them off, Wike has bruised the Law that established GPHDA. Signs are obvious that under Wike, law and order in Rivers State will go on a far journey. Under him, foul will be fair.
Another controversy dogging Gov. Wike is the N10bn loan he has secured. He told Rivers people that repayment would be through the State's share of VAT. However, unlike FAAC, ECA and 13% Derivation Fund, VAT isn't receipted. In order words, VAT cannot be determined as it's lumped into others. So, since the FG doesn't receipt VAT, how will Wike determine what volume of VAT Rivers State will receive monthly as to know how much to pay? Wike is yet to tell Rivers people the source through which he intends to pay-off his latest hire.
Anyway, Wike mat be going for another loan in the mould of another N10bm in a forth-night.
Endless! Another is the appointment of Mr. Felix Obuah, the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chairman as Sole Administrator of Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA. Questions that include whether Obuah’s job as party chairman is now part-time, have been asked. No answer yet.
Several goofs, several questions!
By Bekee Anyalewechi
Port Harcourt, Nigeria