Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has gone on a borrowing spree since winning the (s)election in April.
He has borrowed 30bn naira (about $151.2m) in a month. The state receives approximately 13bn naira monthly from the federal government as a share of oil revenues.
A spokesman from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) questioned why Wike, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was lumbering the state with so much debt in such a reckless manner, and how bankrupt the state would be if he continued borrowing at the rate of 30bn naira month. The APC alleges that the money was needed to “settle” many of the people that helped Wike win the (s)election, and also build up a war chest for an expected re-run of the governorship (s)election – if the last one is overturned by the courts.
Wike’s spokesman countered last night by claiming that it was a “miracle” what the governors has “achieved with just 30bn naira”. He claimed that the previous governor Rotimi Amaechi had stolen and vandalised government property just before he left office in May, including ripping off rugs and carpets.
In a related development, a federal High Court dismissed the 22 local government council chairmen in the state. The local government chairmen were fired because their election contravened a court order which had earlier been issued restraining it. Their election was hastily held before Amaechi left office. The dismissed chairmen claimed that Wike wanted them out so he could misappropriate their local government’s share of the state’s allocation from the federal government.
No one is quite sure who is telling the truth, or indeed if anyone is telling the truth. What is quite clear is that the people of Rivers State will be saddled with debt that they would struggle to repay in the light of falling oil prices.