Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said his administration will follow due process in implementing the report of a committee set up to investigate and audit the financial transactions of the 23 local government areas.
Wike said the state government would abide by the Supreme Court judgement that state governors cannot dissolve elected councils, but noted that the report presented by the committee exposed a scandalous rot in the local government system.
The governor spoke yesterday, when he received the report of the committee set up to investigate the transactions of the councils from May 2018 to May 2019, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
“The Supreme Court has said you cannot dissolve elected councils. We will obey the Supreme Court judgement on that matter.
“But, we shall take action on the areas where we are empowered by law to act. All the treasurers, Head, Personnel Management and other civil servants involved in illegal financial transactions will be sanctioned.
“I have read the preliminary report. It is bad. The report is scandalous. Tomorrow, they will say that I don’t remember those who fought for me. Did you fight for me, so that you can destroy the system,” he said.
Governor Wike said council chairmen were under obligation to work for their people and deliver dividends of democracy to improve their lives.
“I am quite satisfied with what the committee has done. It is not political and things must be done the right way. We cannot continue to play. The problem with this country is that we take things for granted.
“As a council chairman, I created record as a performer. I did projects and worked for our people. I won all the awards.
“If I was going to them to bring money, I wouldn’t get up to set up the committee. They would have indicted me. Some councils take up to N2 billion annually and there is a council that gets up to N5 billion annually, yet no project,” he said.
The governor urged the council chairmen and top government officials to always work to develop their communities and leave worthy legacies.
He commended the committee for working in line with their terms of reference. He said they focused on the task without attracting any form of scandal.
The governor noted that he was not out to witch-hunt anyone, but remains committed to the development of the state and the entrenchment of due process.
Earlier, the committee Chairman and Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, thanked Governor Wike for his commitment to the development of the state.
She said to ensure professionalism, the committee engaged three auditing firms to achieve the right results.
The deputy governor said all the council chairmen and relevant officials participated in the exercise.
She said the committee worked in line with best practices for the good of the state and urged the council chairmen to see the exercise as a wake up call to work for their people.