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I inherited huge debt from Wike — Fubara

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has lamented over a huge debt owed to contractors by the immediate past administration of former Governor Nyesom Wike.

The Governor revealed that though most of the projects have been commissioned, the contractors were still owed their balances, which he said run into billions of naira.

Governor Fubara’s revelation is coming as a surprise as Wike had, during his reigns as the state governor, disclosed that contractors were paid 100% for projects and most of the time, in advance.

Fubara made the revelation on Tuesday at Ebubu community during the inauguration of the reconstructed 10.89km Aleto-Ogale-Ebubu-Eteo Road in Eleme Local Government Area.

The occasion also signalled the commencement of activities to mark the governor’s first year in office.

He said, “This is to let the world know that if there is one problem this administration has, it is the huge debt burden. Most of the projects that are being commissioned, the contractors are coming for their balance-payment and it is running into billions.

“I have said that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk because I was part of that system. But, when you keep pushing me to talk, I will say it so that the people will know the true situation of things and be properly informed.”

He expressed delight over the commencement of his One Year in Office Anniversary with the inauguration of a road project in Eleme where he lived when he started his career.

The Governor stated that the road was awarded on August 14, 2023, to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) at the cost of N6.7 billion, adding that the completed project now serves as proof that his administration is still focused on delivering development to the people despite the many troubles thrown at it.

“I am happy to be here and to join the good people of Rivers State to start this wonderful celebration of our first anniversary in the face of all the troubles. It shows that we are still focused, not minding the level of distractions.

“This road was awarded to CCECC as a contractor. It was awarded on the 14th of August, 2023. I believe that 14th of August was within my tenure. I am not saying ‘I’, but it was this administration that awarded it.

“This project was awarded at the cost of N6.7 billion, and I can say boldly that no kobo is remaining. We’ve paid the contractor its complete sum. Our gathering here is to tell our people that their problem is our problem.”

He highlighted the significance of the road, saying it was a bypass to be used by motorists to avoid the deplorable sections of the East-West Road now under reconstruction, and by extension, a support to the Federal Government’s efforts to give hope to Nigerians and make life better for the people.

Gov. Fubara said: “What we are doing today, is it not help to the Federal Government? Is it not a show that this government has the interest of the people at heart and it is supporting and doing everything to make the Federal Government succeed?

“So, when people come out and say some funny things, I laugh. Why are we doing this? When this administration came on board, Mr President christened his mantra ‘Renewed Hope’ to give Nigerians hope.

“What we are doing today in this state is giving our people that hope to complement what Mr President is doing at the national level.

“It is not about social media. We are talking about action. Genuine actions that make a positive impact in the lives of our people”.

He also explained the rationale behind inviting the Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, to inaugurate the project, saying he is not an artificial integrity man but a pragmatic man.

“I invited him because he is not an artificial integrity man. He is an action-integrity man. He is not like the one who would gather to talk because they just want to talk.

“He is a man who came into office, in the face of difficulties and challenges, just like we are here, but he is making impacts in the lives of Abians.

“So, I will continue to identify with good governance. I will continue to identify with people who want to make impacts in the lives of the people. Our government, as we promised you on day one, is the people first.”

While alluding to an unnamed person who insinuated that on the assumption of office, he started a fight against the federal government, he said, “We are talking about the federal government that is giving us support, and we appreciate their support. But there is a rat in the house that is eating the bags of garri. So, you can imagine such situation.”

He thanked the good people of Eleme for their support during the period of the execution of the project, as according to him, the contractor never complained of any challenges from the communities, adding that rather, the people gave all the cooperation required.

The Governor noted that with what has been experienced, his administration is now encouraged to come back and undertake more projects as he believes that they will be protected.

Inaugurating the project, the Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, congratulated Governor Fubara for what he had done in remembering to execute a road project in the Eleme community where he had once lived.

 Gov. Otti said, “I have always said that leadership is about service. Anytime leadership departs from service, then, you are getting it wrong. Service should be service to the people, not service to self or very few interests. Anytime you are serving few people rather than the majority, you need to go and look at yourself again.

“So, for me, it’s all about good governance. Clearly, Governor Fubara came prepared, and I don’t believe that any distraction is enough to take his focus away from improving the welfare and interest of the people.

“So, I can assure you, Rivers people, that the dividends of democracy that you are seeing now is still a dress rehearsal. It is early in the morning, and I am sure that in no distance future, you will be seeing more.”

Otti charged Eleme and the people of Rivers State to continue to support the Governor to do more.

He added; “Power belongs to God, no human can arrogate to himself the capacity to give power, except you have the capacity to give life. Of course, you can take life, but you cannot give it.”

In his project description, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Works, Engr. Atemia Briggs, explained that the road is 10.89km long, has a width of 10.5 meters, with a drain length of 10.1 KM, adding that it will serve both human and economic needs of the people.

In his remark, the Executive Director, South-South Region of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Engr. Eric Shen, expressed gratitude for the confidence reposed in the company to handle the project.

He said they were committed to delivering quality roads that would serve the people for a long time, which was why they contended with the challenges of heavy vehicular traffic, daily business activities by traders on the road, and the rains to ensure timely delivery of the project within eight months.

In his welcome remark, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Hon Orji Ngofa, acknowledged that the project, popularly known as the Old Bori road, had collapsed as a result of the heavy vehicular traffic taken off the East-West Road that became deplorable and is now being reconstructed.

Ngofa thanked Governor Fubara for reconstructing the entire stretch of the road, which now better improves the well-being of the people while also serving the transportation and economic needs of all users of the road.

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