Money will not decide 2015 polls even though it is said that it has power to do all things. The governor of the Nigeria’s oil rich Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi declared this while on a television interview with the Channels Television on Tuesday.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who is now the director-general of the Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari campaign, however warned the People Democratic Party, PDP not to rig the election as anything short of free and fair elections will not be accepted by Nigerian.
Amaechi stated that if the election is to be decided based on who spends more, no doubt, it would go to Jonatnan because he has the federal purse at his beck and call.
According to him, “General Buhari won the primaries without money. Nigerians are now much wiser than to be deceived with money or any material thing. This election will not be based on money, if it is to be based on money, President Jonathan will win the election.
“There is no difference between the pocket of the federal government, the pocket of President Jonathan, and the pocket of PDP. It is the stealing at the national level that led us to where we are now. We can’t continue in a nation where $20 billion was stolen and nothing was done.
“If PDP wins the Presidential election in a free and fair situation, we in the APC are not like what they are calling us, our leaders are responsible, we will congratulate President Jonathan. But, if they use military against us and rig the election, we will not take them to court, but we too will take illegal action against them because what they have done too is illegal,” Amaechi warned.
The governor stood firm to his promises that his party would always do all it could to maintain law and order in the country, stressing that, All Progressives Congress (APC) never intends to cause violence or a breakdown of law and order in the country, but declared that social injustice is what should not be allowed to prevail.
Amaechi also disclosed that his administration is not owing the state workers, as he has directed that all workers be paid before the celebration of Christmas festival.
He denied the allegation from some quarters that he has spent the State money to sponsor the APC programmes.
“As I am speaking with you now, I want to tell you that we did not owe workers eight months salary. Is it possible for you to be owed eight months salary and you are still working? What logic is there? I have directed that salary should be paid and they have started since yesterday (Monday) and hopefully,it will end today. It is someone on this your station, Channels Television, who never visited Port Harcourt that was peddling the rumor.
“They said I am spending Rivers State government to finance APC programmes. That means,I am very rich then. If I said I was being given N12 billion and the bank deducted N10 billion and was left with just N2 billion and have to supplement with our IGR which has risen to about N9 billion to ensure that we pay salary and our contractors,where then will I get money to throw around as they are saying?.
“They are confused,disturbed and they have been envious of our progress and development. I have been saying it on several occasions and will still repeat it, that people should judge me from the time I got into office, October-26-2007, till date and you will know that I have added values in no small measure to the State,” Governor Amaechi added.
Claiming that the APC was at a disadvantage financially, “If you call a fund raising today you will see how many people that will come, are you sure we will be able to get up to 1billion?
“If you look at the Buhari Campaign Organization, we have put a process in place where Nigerians will donate 1naira, 2naira, 10,000, 15,000…
“If you think you will match this President with money, then you will not win the election. We will depend on the people.”
With words out that Governors would be funding the campaign, Amaechi said, “Unfortunately the Governors in APC are not the rich governors.”
He explained that he could not afford to fund the election campaign with the financial challenges that the Rivers State Government has had to face.
“My wage bill is 9.2billion. Don’t forget I employed 13,200 teachers, don’t forget I employed 400 doctors,” he said.
Governor Amaechi, during the conversation, also provided details of Rivers State’s revenue and expenditure, as well as the challenges being faced with dwindling monthly allocation from the Federal Government.
He insisted that the Federal Government should take responsibility for the poor situation in the states, “It’s the stealing at the federal level that has denied us funds,” he said.
He, however, explained that Rivers State has been able to forge ahead due to his dynamism in raising the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, which previous administrations fed on.
“Before I became Governor, the IGR was 2.5billion. We’ve been able to raise the IGR from 2.5billion to 8billion. No new taxes, just stopping corruption. I made sure nobody shared the money.
“Before, what they did was to give the State Government N2.5billion, other interests share the rest. So, I said put all the money on the till. When they brought the money back, we saw that we were getting more money.
“I’m proud to say that that the income is able to rise to 8.5billion because we were able to block the loop holes of corruption.
He added that from the Federal Allocation which used to be about 20 to 25billion Naira, the state had since been receiving about 12 to 14billion Naira only.