A former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has widely claimed that Rivers people believe He is one of the best, if not the best Governor, the state has ever had.
I have decided to take a cursory look at his stewardship from the lenses of my experience as a resident and Indigene of the state during his time in office and most importantly from the review and report of his stewardship published by the Amaechi Economic Advisory Council.
The book printed in hard copy titled “REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (RSEAC) (2007-2014)” by Prof. Nimi Briggs, born 22nd February 1944 a Nigerian academic, scholar and Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt is as expository, informative and as damning as it gets.
The book is a tell all in my opinion on Ameachi’s administration as it gives interesting insights to the former Governor’s strides and failures in the sectors of Education,
Health, Agriculture, Transport, Infrastructure, Economic Policy and Human Capital Development amongst other indices of development.
I have had this book since 2015. I read it thoroughly and since then I have seen that Amaechi is nothing more than a Boastful poor administrator and overrated failed Governor to say the least.
Here are my reasons on a sector by sector basics.
The abovementioned book summarizes the Amaechi’s government and its gross mismanagement of resources in education. From the excerpts of the book, Amaechi embarked on and paid for 478 Model Primary School Projects of which only 116 were completed and functional having paid a total of 7,323,649,500.00 of the expected 9,837,700,000.00 to contractors for the 478 Model Primary Schools. Invariably only 24% of the 478 schools were completed. Three Junior Model Secondary Schools were embarked upon and only one was completed whilst 18 model secondary schools where embarked upon and only one was completed.
The authors of this book who were Government appointees of the Amaechi Administration at the time wrote in page 489 and I quote,
“Over 50% of the schools outside Port Harcourt city and Obio/Akpor LGAs have not been completed and are not in use inspite of the fact that 70-88% of contract sums have been paid. Most of the schools are at less than 50% level of completion, with poor quality of job. A number of the buildings already have leaking roofs”.
What an indictment!
It also showed that the other 21 Local government areas in Rivers State suffered a deficit in educational infrastructure under the self-acclaimed best Governor of Rivers State.
The table below(Table 1 attached Below) is taken from Page 498 of REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (RSEAC) (2007-2014).
In the transport sector the Amaechi administration spent 27,900,000,000.00 on a 1.2km Monorail project (Phase 1A), haven earmarked 36,100,000,000.00 on the project from the Sharks Stadium Car Park to UTC Junction. The Job was claimed to be 75% completed by the Ministry of Transportation. However, the State Economic Advisory Council in their book as mentioned above in page 503 stated that the project was slow and that Rivers people had not seen value from the over 27.9 billion spent at that time. Today with an exchange rate of at least 360 Naira to the dollar Rivers State Government has built three flyovers of over 5km for around 21.7 billion Naira which is 6 billion Naira less than what was spent on the 1.2km monorail which is now moribund without any economic value.
The Ministry of Transport under Amaechi also spent 1.5 Billion on bus terminals in Omagwa and Eleme local governments which were never operated due to failure of governance on the part of Amaechi’s government according to his economic council’s review in the abovementioned book.
Four Water Taxis were also purchased for 250,000,000.00 but were not put to use because the Government purchased boats without having jetties for them to function as stated by the same economic council in their book. What a Government!? characterized by poor planning.
The above analysis explains the failure of the Amaechi’s government in transportation which the book characterized as one filled with poor planning and lack of execution.
Amaechi in different fora has boasted that he built roads, bridges and flyovers, what he has consistently failed to tell us however is how much he spent and what value Rivers people got for their money.
Amaechi’s economic council in page 510 of the abovementioned book stated that Amaechi paid 407, 481,119,155.97 for road projects in 7 years in office for the execution of 285 projects.
In the 285 projects in which money was paid for, only 112 were completed whilst a massive 182 where abandoned despite paying at least 56.68% of total sums for the total 182 projects abandoned in which some were paid for in full. Amaechi only completed 38% of projects he embarked in the works/infrastructure sector. In academic fora 38% is dismal failure.
A summary of Amaechi’s performance in the Works sector as culled from page 511 of REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (RSEAC) (2007-2014) CAN BE SEEN IN TABLE 2 BELOW ATTACHED HEREIN.
The shocking analysis I infer from reading on Amaechi’s stewardship is that having paid out over 407 billion Naira for Roads in 7 years it meant He spent an average of 58 billion Naira plus a year on roads. These monies were spent at a time when 1 dollar was 150 Naira only and the cost of construction was relatively lower than what we have today. How come then did the Nyesom Wike Administration have to complete the Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, the Peter Odili Road, The Rumuolumeni Road, The Woji-Akpajo bridge, The NLNG-NKPOGU Bridge, The Illoabuchi Bridge and many others to mention. Other roads like Elelenwo-Akpajo-Eleme, Borikiri Internal Roads, Iwofe Road, Industry Road, Dualization of Old Gra and New GRA were not even contemplated or started not to talk of building the necessary flyovers now being built across Aba Expressway. What then is the stewardship Amaechi claims he gave Rivers people with the huge resources he had at his beck and call?.
- HEALTH SECTOR
Amaechi’s Economic Advisory Council was very kind in their analysis of his Government’s performance in health. They stated that he completed most projects embarked upon. The book stated that 86% of the projects were fully functional. See page 506 of REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (RSEAC) (2007-2014). However, the book conspicuously made no mention of the 150 million Dollar Justice Karibi Whyte JSC Specialist Hospital which Amaechi in a well-publicized video clearly stated that Rivers State Government had paid 39 million dollars representing 100% of Government’s commitment to the contractor of the project, Clinotech. 39 Million United States Dollars as at 2009 when Amaechi paid the contractor was 5,850,000,000.00 at 150 Naira to a dollar exchange rate today that money at 450 Naira to a dollar Exchange rate is 17,550,000,000.00 naira. Yet as we speak the hospital is non-existent. Fraud in monumental proportions!.
- AGRICULTURE SECTOR
So much noise has been made on Amaechi’s supposed strides in Agriculture but these are the facts that they didn’t tell you. Page 519 of Amaechi’s Economic Advisory Council’s report stated that a total of 1 billion Naira was spent to cultivate 2,000 hectares of land in Khana and Tai LGAs for Banana production and only 250 hectares was cultivated. The report even further stated that the yield meaning the produce was unsatisfactory for export or consumption. In fish farming across Buguma, Andoni, Ubima and Opobo about 562 million naira was spent however the projects were not completed according to Amaechi’s Economic council report. Invariably, despite almost 2 billion Naira spent on Agriculture by the Amaechi administration, the result was a need to recultivate unexportable bananas and rehabilitate dilapidated fish farms.
- HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT/RSSDA
In Human capital development a lot of people seem to laud Amaechi especially for the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) initiative which led to several scholarships for Rivers Indigenes. However, a lot of people fail to ask relevant questions like what it cost the state and what was sustainable about the agency. The Economic Advisory Council’s report stated that over 25 billion Naira was spent on foreign scholarships on about 1,292 students. This means that 19.3 million Naira was spent on each student. A whopping sum in my opinion compared to the millions of out of school children in Rivers State as at when Amaechi held sway as Governor. What then was the opportunity cost of this initiative? The question is answered by Amaechi’s Economic Advisory council in page 522-523 of their report.
They stated “The Governor’s Special Overseas Scholarship Programme should of necessity have realistic exit strategy that does not accommodate new entrants. In five years Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) spent 25.8 billion Naira on this programme. This amount if put into Rivers State University of Science and Technology, University of Education and Bori Polytechnic may have uplifted the higher education system. Scholarship matters should be handled solely by the Rivers State Scholarship Board”. That exactly is the opportunity cost. Amaechi forewent the development of tertiary institutions in Rivers State to train only 1,292 students out of millions of undergraduates who suffered poor education in Rivers. The Nyesom Wike Administration seems to have heeded the advice of Amaechi’s Economic Advisory Council by disbanding the improperly and lawlessly constituted and unsustainable RSSDA and also exited the scholarship regime for a more inclusive investment in tertiary institutions in the state. The evidence is seen in the upgrade of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, to Rivers State University, the establishment of a University Teaching Hospital in Rivers State University to train our medical personnel locally as well as the upgrade of institutions like Rivers State College of Arts and Science to a Polytechnic. The cost, planning and eventual upgrade of Rivers State University of Science and Technology to Rivers State University as well as the establishment of a medical college is something that will impact more on the lives and education of Rivers people.
Rotimi Amaechi should as a matter of urgency retract most of the boastful comments He has made about his stewardship and calmly read the report of his advisory committee contained in their book. I also urge the general public to access this book and read to see the monumental maladministration of the self-acclaimed best Governor of Rivers State.
NOTE: This write up is in series another one on the Maladministration of Rotimi Amaechi is coming based on the REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL (RSEAC) (2007-2014).
We are Investigating Yesterday, Let Tomorrow Investigate Today.
CONCERNED AND WELL INFORMED RIVERS YOUTHS