Self-styled “Zik of Nigeria” and Vice President of Ogbakor Etche Socio-cultural Organization worldwide, Omuma chapter, Comrade Japhet Ogbueri has decried what he called industrial, infrastructural, social and youth sustainability pitfalls in Rivers State under the Nyesom Wike led as governor.
Among the hitches outlined by Ogbueri which he described as disturbing are: alleged deplorable roads, infrastructural decay, project abandonment, systematic debasement of local government administration, systematic industrial deterioration, condensation of street cultism among the youth and none investment in the petroleum industry.
In his open letter, a copy of which he made available to TNN, the social activist said his intention was not to undermine the state governor but to point out some developmental anomalies obstructing the wheel of progress and socioeconomic welfare of the state.
The letter reads in parts: “Most LGA elected and CTC Chairmen rehabilitated access roads, renovated schools and health centers, carried out rural electrification projects, provided transformers, sank boreholes, constructed concrete bridges, opened up new link roads, maintained fleet of commercial transport buses, never defaulted in payment of salary, pension, bursary and provided means of economic empowerment for the people.
“However, from year 2009 till date, administration of LG councils has continued to be punctuated and ridiculed by political peonage, extreme partisanship, imposition of infantile leadership franchise, gross financial enslavement, administrative restrictions and domineering state oversight.
“This has in the long run aided in incapacitating successive council chairmen with demobilizing psyche that made it practically impossible for them to assuage and assimilate the difference between LGA functions as prescribed by the Fourth Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution, amplified loyalty to the governor and obligatory service delivery to the people, even with increased monthly FAAC allocation.
“As at today, we have a dependent third tier of government in the state and as such very little is expected, seen or heard from Council Chairmen in terms of project execution, Infrastructural development and essential serve delivery.
“It’s so bad that with average monthly allocation in excess of N100million Naira each, over 90 per cent of the 23 LGAs still find it very difficult to pay normal workers salaries, retirees pension and students bursary.
“Some Councils operate under leaking roofs and dilapidated Complexes, totally de-linked and disabled from fulfilling their primary functions and constitutional obligations to the people, thereby fueling dissension, division, corruption, conflict, underdevelopment, insecurity and instability in such LGAs.”
Ogbueri, who is also the National Leader, Etche Peoples Liberation Congress (EPLC), and hails from Umueze Village in Umuogba Community of Omuma LGA in Etche Ethnic Nationality of Rivers State further said; “with all emphasis on reliable records at my disposal, I wish to confirm that the state is heavily burdened by Infrastructural decay and project abandonment of ironic order.
“It’s so bad that about 50% of communities that constitute the 23 LGAs lack access to potable water, rural electrification, functional primary health facilities, equipped primary and secondary schools, motorable access road network, social amenities, public utilities and viable means of economic engagement for their youths.”