Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has handed what may be considered secrets of how he successfully executed many infrastructural projects for which he was crowned ‘Mr Projects.’
He however, put the cost of two ongoing roads at N80bn.
Wike, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, handed the secrets at the commissioning of his last (12th) flyover in Port Harcourt which was graced by the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress.
The governor who will hand over on May 19 told Tinubu that the current procurement law of the FG only allows for about 15 to 30 per cent to be paid as mobilisation fee to a contractor.
Such meagre sum, he said, usually does not allow the contractor to make appreciable progress on the project before being caught up by inflation effects and high cost of materials, which eventually requires variation of the contract terms.
Wike said when he noticed a similar snag in the procurement law in Rivers State, on assumption of duties, he interfaced with the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, who he said worked together with other lawmakers to amend the then existing law.
“With the amended law, my administration got the latitude to pay an upward of 70 percent mobilisation fee to contractors handling various projects in the State.”
The governor noted that such practice has led to the great accomplishment recorded in the delivery of development projects in the State by his administration. He thus recommended such step to Tinubu.
Gov Wike said the phase two of Ahoada-Omoku – Egbema Road and the Emohua-Tema Junction Road projects that are ongoing are at the cost of N80bn.
The payment pattern, he explained, that is adopted is a monthly deduction of N4bn by the contractor from the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the State, which will last 18 months that the projects will be completed.
The governor stressed that ordinarily some of the flyovers are on federal roads and the state should be refunded by the FG. He therefore, requested the incoming administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider a possible refund to the Rivers State.
This, he pointed out, will serve as a motivation to other States, which will feel more encouraged to also work on federal roads in their jurisdiction.
Inaugurating the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover, the President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noted that his presence to perform the duties of opening the flyover for public use is another way of building bridge, most essential for the country.
Tinubu also described Gov Wike as a dependable ally, one who promoted the unity of Nigeria, fairness, and championed Justice.
Without succumbing to gossips and speculations, Tinubu noted that Gov Wike stood his ground as a principled man and worked for the presidency to come to the south.
“In His Excellency (Wike), I see a man of principle who took a principle stand that the presidency must return to South and he had the courage to stand by his conviction, not minding whose ox is gored. He is indeed a man of great integrity. He did not choose to serve his own interest. Not about him, rather the interest of the nation. You promoted unity, you promoted fairness, you championed justice. Thank you.”
He commended the audacity demonstrated by Gov Wike in delivering quality projects to Rivers people to make them happy, create excitement for them, and enhanced development across the State.
The president-elect said the demand for a refund on the flyover bridges so constructed on federal roads, though a worthy request, should not be borne with the mindset that he is owing the State because the projects are within Rivers and are used by the people.
President-elect, Tinubu, however, said there will be need for Gov Wike to further discuss the issues with him and intensify his lobby to secure the refund.
It will be recalled that while refunding the last batch of states for federal projects executed by states (for which Rivers got N78Bn), President Muhammadu Buhari had said states would no longer be refunded, and that a procedure for building such federal projects by states would be worked out. It was never worked out to this moment, according to observers.
The president-elect however recalled that he went through gruesome campaign, fought hard, and with the likes of Gov Wike providing structural support, he won the presidential election squarely.
“Nyesom, I say thank you for your contribution to my victory. I couldn’t have done it without some structural support.”
The President-Elect commended the Rivers State governor elect, Siminalayi Fubara, for his electoral victory.
In his description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo, said the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover Bridge is 1007.5 meters long, completed in eight months instead of 10 months and delivered to eliminate traffic congestion by 98 percent in the State.
According to him, the flyover is the longest of the flyovers constructed by the Wike’s administration and has distinct features because whereas the other 11 flyovers are straight, it has a parabolic curve with a curvature radios of 225 meters.
In his welcome remark, Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, George Ariolu, said the Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Flyover bridge is the 12th among similar projects that were conceived and constructed by Gov Wike.
He noted that, as an evidence of the legendary infrastructural achievement of the governor, the 12th flyover has greatly eased vehicular traffic, boosting commerce and improved the aesthetics of the metropolis.
Some of the dignitaries present at the occasion include the wife of the Rivers State governor, Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; governors of Oyo State, Seye Makinde; Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo), David Umahi (Ebonyi).
Others are former governors of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili; Chief Abdulkareem Adebisi Bamidele Akande (Osun), James Ibori (Delta), Chief Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chief Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa).