Ogbonna Nwuke, Commissioner for Information, Rivers State spoke to Correspondent, VICTOR EDOZIE, in Port-Harcourt on the allegation that the administration does not follow due process in the award of contracts
There was the allegation that almost all the contracts awarded by this administration do not follow due process. How do you react to that, sir?
Nothing buttresses our commitment to due process more than the early move by the governor to get the state Assembly pass the bill on due process into law. While the bill was going through legislative process, the various ministries and agencies concerned with procurement have been fulfilling the requirement for due process, for example, by encouraging biding jobs.
It was also alleged that it is only the governor and his chief of staff that decides who gets most of the contracts. Is it true?
It is not correct that Amaechi is connected with award of contracts as alleged by the petitioner. We are amazed that the chief of state to the governor has equally been linked to contracts awards. By his job schedule the chief of staff is concerned with the activities in the Government House. That is why we say that the allegations by unseen persons are very spurious and unfounded.
What criteria were employed to ensure there is transparency in the award of contracts?
The criteria for contracts were openly advertised and every Rivers person knows that we publish bids. There is transparency in Amaechi's administration. We look at the competence of the company that bided as well as their track record. For instance, nobody can question the competence of Julius Berger and Entraco in terms of civil engineering and construction works. These companies have fulfilled the laid down criteria for the job before even contracts were awarded to them. We made a commitment that Rivers’ money is for Rivers people and we are making sure that we take care of local component as we try to empower our people.
How do you react to this allegation that the governor released the sum of N400 million each to the local government councils in the state to settle his supporters?
We simply say that this allegation is the figment of the imagination of whoever conceives it. This government believes in transparency and as a result accountable to the people. The governor has given account of his stewardship on how much has come to the state and how much was spent. The governor did not stop there. He went ahead to list every project and how much it costs the tax payers. So, where in hell or heaven are those who are behind these wild rumours getting their figures from? We challenge them to publish the statistics they have. We are certain that these allegations are the handiwork of persons who did not wish the Amaechi administration well. For us it is not a matter of telling the truth the best way we can. Accordingly, we salute gentlemen like you who are bothered to ask for our side before going to the press. It is our plea that the mass media should not allow people with parochial interest to use the media for vindictive purposes and campaign of calumny.