February 2, 2023

The Executive Governor of Rivers State and his counterparts in Benue State, Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom respectively have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to come out in plain terms and name governors stealing local government allocations in their states.

IsL had earlier reported that Buhari had on Thursday said the low development experienced at the local government level across the country was caused by governors and local government officials who “pocket” local government allocations.

IsL had reported that the President who made the comment while speaking at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course No. 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, tackled the governors over what he described as poor governance at the grassroots.

However, President Buhari did not name any particular state governor or governors who are pocketing the local government allocations.

The President’s comment has been backed by the President of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, who said that Buhari was merely stating the obvious.

The NULGE President said that President Buhari “Should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors.”

However, IsL source saharaReporters reports that, Wike and Ortom, in their reactions, challenged President Buhari to expose governors syphoning the local government allocations.

The governors who are part of the G5 Governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) threw the challenge to Buhari on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.

Governor Wike said he had never taken funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015, and therefore challenged President Buhari to name the governors he meant.

Wike said, “I want to challenge Mr. President, Mr. President you are a leader and we believe as leaders you must come out and tell Nigerians, who are those committing this offence? You said the governors are taking local government funds; I want to say in the name of Almighty God I have never touched local government funds one day, I have never and I have no reason to do that.

“So Mr. President, who are those people? You know them, tell us. It is not good to say what you call class defamation, you say, governors, please I am not one of those governors, so Mr. President, please spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity governors are not part of them, we have integrity, we are not part of them.”

Corroborating Wike, Governor Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals; all governors are stealing from local government. I join Governor Wike to say from 2015, let EFCC come, let ICPC come, let every other agency that can unearth this, as far as Benue State is concerned; let them bring it out so that we know the people, there is no point generalising that all of us are evil people.

“I don’t do it, I didn’t like it when the Federal Government enacted something and said local government should have financial autonomy, but from that day all monies are paid to the local government, and no single naira has been paid through anyone, all monies that come from the federation account go straight to the individual councils.”

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