By Amos Aar
THE Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the state governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, of allegedly suspending the Nigerian constitution in Benue State by awarding contract for the construction of 16 roads in Makurdi, the state capital, without due regard for extant rules guiding the process.
PDP, which is the main opposition party in Benue State, while reacting to Monday’s ceremony by the governor kicking off construction of Makurdi Township roads in a statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, faulted the governor for not announcing the cost of the contract and without any consultation with the State Executive Council that is yet to be put in place.
The PDP also alleged that the award of the contract is a violation of due process as there awarded contract did not go through legislative approval via appropriation as well as putting the award through public bidding as stipulated by law.
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According to the PDP, the governor’s power of financial approval for projects was not supposed to exceed N50 million in line with the Benue State financial rules and regulations.
“Since assumption of office on May 29, 2023, up to this moment, the governor has placed all financial accounts of the state government in various banks under a state of freeze and he alone makes withdrawals from and closes them as he deems fit.
“By the award of those contracts yesterday, the Benue State governor has violated provisions of Benue State financial instructions which state unambiguously in Chapter 23, Section 2305 that the spending limit and approval permitted the governor in respect of contracts shall, in all requests not exceed N50,000,000.00 (fifty million naira).
“Furthermore, the procedure for processing biddings for contracts for subsequent awards to qualified contractors is laid down elaborately in the Benue State Public Procurement Law and involves the mandatory participation of a State Executive Council which the governor has up to this moment failed to constitute.
“PDP understands that Governor Alia is inclined to discharging the business of government as a sole administrator, a despot, a dictator, under a system not regulated by due process and rule of law, but which permits him unlimited powers.
“This, our great party will lead the charge in resisting through all lawful means, to safeguard the sanctity of democratic system of government which is in practice in Nigeria and Benue State.
“PDP will resist the budding dictatorship being incubated by Governor Alia in Benue State”, the statement read in part.