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Good Governance War Erupts In Rivers

Akanimo Sampson,

Port Harcourt

Good Governance War Erupts In Rivers

Gov. Amaechi Vs. 23 Council Chairmen

A HIRE wire backstage political war is currently raging in Rivers State, one of the key oil and gas-producing havens in the Niger Delta region.

The main gladiators in the war which appears to be very novel in the oil region, are Governor Chibuike Amaechi, and the 23 Local Government Chairmen in the state.

Critics and those opposing enhanced oil revenue to the Niger Delta are still insisting that ''development projects'' on the ground in the oil region do not match the ''enormous revenue'' pumped into the area since 1999.

Apparently uncomfortable with such hard-knocking criticisms, Amaechi has been hitting at the council chairmen for allegedly not promoting good governance, and effectively tackling the scourge of abject poverty at the grassroots.

Sources say some closely guarded reports available to government tend to show that around five of the 23 local government councils in the state have so far performed ''slightly above average''.

The focus of the Amaechi-council chairmen battle is service delivery and good governance..

Special Assistant to the Governor on International Donor Agencies, Bestman Nnwoka, puts it this way: Governor Amaechi is aiming at promoting accountability and transparency at the local government level because they are closer to the people''.

Nnwoka, dropped this hint in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Saturday, during a public launch of the new Micro Projects Programme funded by the European Union (EU) for the nine oil-producing states of the country tagged, MPP9. The three-year programme is worth N9.2 billion.

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Some other officials who appear to understand the inner workings of the Amaechi administration are claiming that the governor is not happy that the local government councils have failed to deliver on their effective governance and sustainable development at the grassroots.

In October 2008, government organised a summit for the council chiefs with the theme: ''Effective Governance and Sustainable Development in Local Government Administration in Rivers State''.

Chairman of the state Local Government Service Commission, Chief Ephraim Sobere Etete Owoh, says Governor Amaechi sees the local government as a strategic system in his administration's ongoing quest for revival and re-engineering of developmental efforts in the state.

Before the President Umaru Yar'Adua amnesty initiative which expired on October 4, 2009, the Niger Delta has been an axis of low-intensity war which the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a major insurgent network broadly described as an ''Oil War''

During the war, transnational oil corporations were repeatedly targeted by MEND and its affiliate groups since hostilities against the oil industry began to increase around the end of 2005, when the insurgent netwiork emerged.

But despite generating close to $500 billion in oil revenue since the 1970s, most of the peoples of the Niger Delta remain in poverty, a condition that allegedly gave rise to the violence that affected oil production in Nigeria. ENDS


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