A governorship hopeful in Rivers State, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich has faulted the Rivers State governor for awarding a N13.6billion contract for the construction of about 13.599 kilometers Trans-Kalabari road.
Jackrich said at his Buguma town that Wike had a vested interest on the contract. He made the allegation while presenting a speech, titled halt perpetuation of injustice against Kalabari people.
He said “Governor Wike said 13 kilometer or how many kilometer is 13 point something billion without bridge, let me ask you a question, one kilometer is one billion that’s what it means, a kilometer road, properly constructed is 100million naira, I challenge the media, or anybody to come and tell me which engineer that confirmed 13 point something kilometer for 13billion naira, they should come and prove me wrong.”
“Rivers State has a treaty before now, over years that it is upland and riverine dichotomy.” He however commended the Rivers State government for awarding the Trans-Kalabari ring road which he described as “very important and strategic project aimed at improving the socioeconomic fortunes of Kalabari land and its people.
“However, it is worrisome that the overall description of the said contract by the Rivers State Government does not in any way align or reflect the reality of what the Trans-Kalabari road ought to be.
“Constructing a road to link up Krakrama, Omekwe-ama, Angulama, Omekwe Tari-Ama, Sangama, Mina-Ama and others known as central group can best be described as Asari-Toru or central group internal link roads. Just as we have the Isiokpo internal roads, Bolo Internal Roads, Okrika Internal roads and others.
“The central group is an island surrounded with water and each of the communities of Krakrama, Omekwe-ama, Angulama, Omekwe Tari-Ama, Sangama and Mina-Ama already have bushy road track connections (though not tarred), that motorbikes or cars could drive through if available.
“Clearing up bushes to create and construct roads in the central group should not be translated to calling such project Trans Kalabari road. Will our people board a boat to Krakrama in order to have access to the roads? Will the contract by the state government include providing a vessel to convey motor vehicles from the other side of the shore to Central Group island?
“If Rivers State Government is sincere about the Trans Kalabari road project, it would have been convincing for it to say the Tema – Ifoko road which some of its officials from the Kalabari extraction have been seen and heard commending and showering praises on the government for awarding the contract is anything to go by, should use that road to connect the Riverine communities not accessible by road, then we can understand that to be the first phase of the Trans Kalabari road.
“Alternatively, how about constructing a road connecting Abonemma to Krakrama and the Central Group Communities, that too could be agreed to be the first phase of Trans Kalabari road.
Speaking on the irrevocable standing payment order, he said “let us even leave the issue of the starting point of the road and focus on the project funding. The state government said the projected cost of the road is N13.48 billion and will be funded at N1 billion monthly by an irrevocable standing payment order against the state’s internally generated revenue. How did the Rivers State Government arrive at the said N13.48 billion contract sum for the project? Which firm carried out the bill of quantities survey?
“Which medium was a capital project like the Trans Kalabari road bid advertised that brought about the contract being awarded to Lubricks Construction Company? The Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rebisi and Rumuogba flyovers at Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor awarded to Julius Berger was at the cost of N21 billion according to the government, and seventy percent of the contract sum as and that of the rest flyovers were paid up front, flouting the law of the state restricting down payment of contract sum to 30 percent (that was yet to be reviewed at the time).”
“Yet these were projects not previously captured in the 2020 budget of the state, but were only introduced into the fiscal document while reviewing the performance of the 2020 budget during presentation of the 2021 budget estimate on the floor of the state assembly last December.
“If projects of such magnitude not previously captured in the budget of the state would be given such prompt attention, why earmark less than 15 percent monthly payment for the Trans-Kalabari road that had been captured twice in the fiscal documents of the state even after review of the Rivers State Public Procurement law which allows advance payment of up to seventy percent of contract sum as mobilization fee.
He wondered that, “if three flyers of such magnitude- the Okoro-Nu-Odo, Rebisi and Rumuogba cost N21billion, then how on earth would construction of internal roads in the central group without design to include bridges cost a whooping N13.48 billion?
“More worrisome is the fact that despite recent Seventy-Eight Billion Naira federal government refund, with our contributions to the socioeconomic sustenance of the state, why do we have to depend on monthly IGR to complete our projects?
“Meanwhile, award of the construction of the second phase of the Sakpenwa – Bori road by the Rivers State government has vindicated us on our earlier position that the road was commissioned only at forty percent completion.
“This is to say that major ethnic nationalities of the state, Kalabari and Ogonis who carry the burden of the socioeconomic sustenance of Rivers State on their shoulders deserve more than being treated as second class citizens.
“There is no gainsaying that ninety percent of all annual budgets of the state are funded through proceeds of oil explorations mined from the Kalabari Soil and that of our Ogoni counterparts, yet we are the most impoverished part of the state.
He stressed that “no part of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor has a substantial oil mineral deposit, yet all proceeds derived from oil mining operations in our area and in the Ogoni land are used to transform Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor to the imaginary ‘Houston Texas’ of the Rivers State Government.
“It is high time this injustice stopped. Recall that the Niger Delta struggle for resource control emanated from gross injustice meted to the Niger Delta people by the federal government who took away all proceeds generated from oil explorations in our region to develop other regions leaving us to wallow in abject poverty till date.
To Dr. Tammy Danagogo, the secretary to state government, he said “it is a big shame for the likes of the secretary to the state government, Dr Tammy Danagogo and other representatives of the Rivers State government of the Kalabari extraction to betray their ancestral land by choosing to wage a media war against their kinsmen in order to score cheap political point to please their principal.
“If Dr Tammy Danagogo claims to be a true son of Kalabari land, what was his problem with the collaborative meeting of Kalabari people soliciting for the support of their Ogoni brothers and sisters to enable them have a slot at the brick house in 2023, that would have warranted his verbal attacks on worthy ambassadors of our land, Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo and High Chief Ambassador Sobomabo Jackrich?
“In the said publication, Dr Danagogo described Alhaji Asari Dokubo and Sobomabo Jackrich as criminal elements, miscreants and self seeking militants who are seeking relevance and that they lacked the capacity to speak for the Kalabris.
“May we remind Tammy Danagogo that it is on record that these same persons he describes as irrelevant were the same people he and his principal came Nicodemusly on several occasions, to desperately solicit their help to get the support of the Kalabari people which brought about the bulk vote of our people, resulting to the victory and enthronement of Governor Nyesom Wike in 2015.
“That being said, there is nothing wrong with evenly spreading development to all parts of the state by citing critical infrastructure in other local government areas other than Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor, in order to ease the pressure on the infrastructure in the state capital and its environs, as well as decongest both cities and halt rural/urban migration.
“The narrative on the lips of all representatives of the state government that everyone in the state resides in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor, hence the need to deprive or starve those providing economic sustenance of the state of development, is the height of deceit, wickedness and deliberate marginalization of the Kalabari and other parts of the state.”