The President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described as misleading, media reports of his response to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State over request for refund of funds spent on building flyovers and federal roads in the state.
Tinubu had told Wike last Wednesday, during the commissioning of the Rumuokwuta-Rumuola flyover bridge, to lobby him for reimbursements for funds spent by the state on federal projects.
“On the demand you made for refund, I owe you nothing. It’s your road. You’re the one living on these roads. I commend your efforts. You have to lobby me to collect”, Tinubu had said.
Clarifying his response, the president-elect said Wike was in order against any shade of interpretation the public was giving to it.
“Whatever you say about owing or no owing, I’m very grateful to the man (Wike) who brought me here. He didn’t ask for personal commitment. He asked for a policy commitment that an incoming president has no authority to offer and approve.
“There can only be one President at a time. I cannot commit to expenditure on behalf of the outgoing President when my tenure has not started. Get educated, be informed, please,” Tinubu told Nigerians as he concluded his two day visit to Rivers State.
Recall that Wike had drawn the attention of the federal government towards the need to amend its procurement law in order to end incessant abandonment of projects across the country.
He stressed that some of the flyovers were built on federal roads and the state should be refunded by the FG. He requested the incoming administration to consider a possible refund to the Rivers State.
“These projects are FG’s roads. We don’t want our people to suffer. I believe the Federal Government should say ‘let us refund these monies. I assure you, as you enter office and approve to pay these monies back, other states will also do same thing. So that (refund) is the first request we are making to you.”
N20m monthly for Law School
The Rivers governor also used the opportunity of commissioning the Magistrate Court complex to make a pledge of N20 million monthly stipend to the Nebo Graham Douglas Law School, a Federal Government facility, built by the state government.
He said: “When we handed over the Law School to the Council of Legal Education, the state government gave out N400m for the maintenance of the structures.
“We gave them property that they can use to make money to keep the school. We didn’t want a situation where they will say the federal government has not released money or the money they released is too small.
“I was told the other day that there was no light, there was no water. I can’t understand our system.”
The Governor attributed such attitude to the poor maintenance culture of the public sector in Nigeria, where nobody cares enough to maintain public property and charged state chief judge not to allow the newly constructed court complex to suffer such fate.
Governor Wike assured that financial provision would be made, which should cater to the maintenance needs of the complex for the first one year.
“As I am leaving office, in this one year, when I come here, I don’t want to see and hear that it is dilapidated or it has deteriorated, it will be unfair.
“So each month, you’ll get N20 million to maintain this place. So, we will give you one year (money) in advance so that you will keep this place well,” he said.