By Ben Eguzozie
Outgoing cabinet ratifies PPP for multi-billion-naira cancer centre
With only three months to the end of his administration in Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike has awarded contracts for new roads he described as rural roads whose cost he put at N70.24 billion. This is coming at a time the government at the federal level under President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a transition council to wind down his APC-led administration, described by many as rather disastrous.
George-Kelly Dakorinima Alabo, commissioner for works in the state, said the new contract approvals are for the reconstructions and dualization of Emohua- Abalama -Tema junction road, extension of dualization of the Ahoada-Omoku Road, which he described as “critical roads”.
The state cabinet led by the governor, who lately has been in the eye of the political storm, met at the weekend and came out with the approval.
“The executive council ratified the contract award for the reconstruction and dualization of the Emohua to Abalama to Tema junction road. This road is 15.24 kilometres long; and will be a dual carriageway with street lights, and it is estimated to cost N21.26 billion,” Alabo said.
In the same vein, the state executive council ratified the award of the extension of the dualization of the Ahoada to Omoku Road from Ogbo-Ukordu road junction to Omoku at the cost of N48.998 billion. The 25.4-kilometre dual carriageway with 7.6 metres lane on each side will go with street lights.
According to the works commissioner, both road projects will be taken simultaneously by German construction giant, Julius Berger. Since assuming office in 2015, Governor Wike has used the company for virtually all his road and other projects, estimated in the region of N150 billion. As of May 2021, the ninth flyover bridge had gulped N73 billion.
It is on record that Julius Berger built the multi-billion-naira Nigerian Law School, Port Harcourt branch; ultra-modern cancer and cardiovascular hospital with state-of-the-art equipment named after Peter Odili, a medical doctor and former governor of the state.
Commissioner Alabo also said the new contracts awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc would be ready in 18 months, nearly a year-and-six months after Governor Wike would have left office.
Perhaps, the outgoing government’s confidence of the roads’ completion stems from Wike’s belief of installing his hand-picked successor, Siminialayi Fubara, former accountant-general of the state, who hails from Opobo in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of the state.
The payment structure of the estimated N70.25 billion projects will be tied to the state’s IGR through an irrevocable standing payment order (ISO) of N4 billion made for 18 months. By the 17 months, N68 billion will have been paid, leaving a balance of N2.285 billion that will be paid in the following month.
On his part, Princewill Chike, the commissioner for health, informed that the state executive council also ratified a public, private partnership (PPP) arrangement for the effective management of the radiotherapy unit of the Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, and the Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt.