By Goodhead Goodliffe
I was among the few people who were excited and happy when the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Nyesom Wike Chose Evang. Hon. Hope O Ikiriko as flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ahoada West local government Area, in the 2018 local government Chairmanship Election.
The reasons for my being excited were not far fetched. Although his antecedents are disappointing, he was, amongst all that indicated interest under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the most matured, most educated and most exposed.
Evang. Hope Ikiriko had been a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly for twelve (12) years, representing the people of Ahoada West. He was a Federal commissioner at the Federal Civil Service Commission, representing Rivers, Bayelsa, Exo and Delta State. He was, and still an evangelist of the Body of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit. Who could have been more qualified than him?
Based on my conviction of the ability and competence of Hon. Hope Ikiriko, I followed him to all the communities and the 12 wards in Ahoada West, campaigning and making promises to the people. I also spoke in some of the rally and was more excited when he promised at Okarki town, during the campaign, that he was going to be the first Executive Chairman of the local government to live and operate from Akinima, the headquarter of the Council.
On assumption of office as the executive chairman of Ahoada West local government Area, Evang. Hon. Hope Ikiriko, discovered to his chagrin, the humongous wage bill of Council and immediately constituted and inaugurated a six man Staff verification and audit committee to ascertain among others, the legitimate staff and wage bill of the Council. I was appointed and I accepted to be the secretary of the committee because I saw it as my contribution in assisting him in keeping to his promise of positively changing the face of the local government.
At the end of the verification exercise, several anomalies were discovered and recommendations made, although most of them are yet to be implemented. Tens of millions of naira were saved for the Council.
Unfortunately, four years running into Hon Hope Ikirikio-s six years second term, he still lives and operate from a five star hotel in port Harcourt, paying (wasting) several millions of naira belonging to the Council, for the suit he occupies. The only project he is still executing is the acclaimed “world class” chairman’s lodge, sand filling and fencing of the perimeters of the Council Secretariat. The acclaimed ongoing rural electrification project in some Ekpeye communities are said to be projects being understanding by Agip oil company, though the Council claim it is responsible.
What will Hon. Hope Ikiriko show to the governor as his score card for four years running?
Would Hope Ikiriko be bold to invite His Excellency, the governor to come to Ahoada West to commission only a “world class ” chairman’s lodge and the perimeter fence, all within the secretariat, after receiving federal and state revenue allocation for four years running?
Should Hon. Hope Ikiriko be able to summon courage to invite the governor, what will be the perception of the governor, concerning the People’s silence over the abysmal performance of the chairmen and the absence of governance in the local government? That of a conquered people?
Dr. Chidi Lloyd, chairman of Emohua local government is about five or six months in office and he is dragging off projects everywhere, including road construction. Let me not talk about Engr. Nwanosike, chairman of Ikwerre local government. Neither Emuoha nor Ikwerre local government has more source(s) of internal revenue generation than Ahoada West, aside the Federal allocation which Ahoada West receives more.
Hon. Ikiriko’s leadership style is another concern. He seem not to trust any of his aides, so hardly delegates functions. You must go to him if you want to buy the smallest item, such as biro pen. If there is any event where people were mobilized from the different wards and there need to give as transport fare, the sum of N1,000,00 each, Hon. Ikiriko would stand and do the disbursement himself, not minding how long it takes him to do that.
For the four years running, workers don’t come to work but they are paid their salaries at the end of each month. This was one thing I expected Hon. Ikiriko to correct but I was wrong.
Will Hon. Hope Ikiriko end his six years tenure without executing any project outside the council secretariat?
These are some of the reasons I am worried about Hon. (Evang.) Hope O Ikiriko.