Governors Nyesome Wike and Samuel Ortom of Rivers and Benue states respectively have charged President Muhammadu Buhari to name state governors misappropriating local government funds.
They said Buhari was wrong to generalise that all governors meddle with LG allocations, which, according to the president, has rendered the local government administration worthless in the country, creating acute poverty in the process.
They stated this on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.
Recall that President Buhari in a speech at the presidential parley for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the State House said that state governors steal allocations meant for local governments.
Wike denied ever taking funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015.
He said, “I want to challenge 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 that 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.”
He said as local government chairman under Governor Peter Odili, his funds were never tamoered with.
On his part, Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals. 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.”