Wike’s Testimony Against Amaechi | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Wike’s Testimony Against Amaechi

Posted: Jun 23, 2015 at 2:39 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Abia  – Port Harcourt


Irrespective of what may turn out to be the outcome of the case in the election tribunal, the former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, appears to have become the greatest enemy of the state he ruled for eight years uninterrupted, in view of emerging allegations of misrule against him.


Can of Worms

Amaechi was Speaker of the State House of Assembly for eight years under the government of the former governor, Dr. Peter Odili. He was later to become the governor in rather ‘controversial’ circumstances.

Amaechi’s eight years as Speaker of the House did not give anybody the chances of knowing what exactly transpired in the House because nobody was interested in the politics of witch-hunting. Maybe Rivers people actually thought all was well and that the resources of the state were well managed and directed to areas of development they were most required.

But the frowzy relationship between the former governor and Governor Nyesom Wike has seemingly satisfied the yearnings of the Rivers people over the years to know what has been happening to their resources which are not commensurate with the development on the ground at the moment.

Three weeks after his inauguration on May 29, 2015, as governor of the state, the administration of governor Wike has been engrossed in digging up the rot that made up the state in the past eight years.

Since silence could be taken for consent in some cases, the aides of the former governor have suddenly become taciturn in responding to key issues bothering on barefaced corruption raised by the Governor Wike government in recent days.

0Three weeks after he became governor, Wike is yet to relocate to his official residence in Government House.

Reason: the place is yet to be renovated to his taste after a season of “looting and vandalism”.

Wike had told the world that the looting ranged from beddings to cutlery, kitchen utensils, chairs, tables, doors and window blinds and many more.

“I did not mention who stole these things, but they were all stolen and vandalized. I don’t know who is responsible,” Wike reiterated on Saturday, June 20, in Government House.


Inheriting Empty Treasury

More revelations were to come later when the governor said there was no single official vehicle left behind by the former administration. According to the governor, so pathetic has been the situation that “an indigene of the state called me and said he was aware of my plight and volunteered to send seven brand new Jeeps to enable us do our job in the state.”

He went further to say that since he became governor, “I buy diesel for the Government House generating plants from my pocket on daily basis.” What this implies is that the treasury has been emptied by the past administration. “We met an empty treasury,” he affirmed.

But Amaechi had earlier replied that he left N7billion for the Wike government. Of course, no Rivers person has considered this as having any element of truth. Otherwise, one will dare to ask, if there was N7billion in the treasury, why were the backlog of salaries owed to civil servants, pensioners, athletes and footballers as well as the oversees scholarship students not paid!

The governor described as spurious, claims by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the Amaechi administration left about N7billion in the state coffers.

Speaking shortly after signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Messrs Julius Berger Plc and CCECC Nigeria Limited to rehabilitate roads in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike also further justified the N10 billion loan his administration took. He dismissed the war of calumny against his administration as malicious, frivolous, and a futile attempt to sully his reputation.

“They said they left N7billion, may be the money will be found in the hand over notes because the Accountant-General told me the state FAAC account is in debit. But we have been hearing on radio that they kept N7billion and I have not seen such an amount of money.”

Against this backdrop, the governor insisted that all Permanent Secretaries should submit their statements of accounts in order to ascertain whether any money was left unaccounted for by the last administration.


The N10 billion Loan

Explaining why the state government applied for the loan, Governor Wike said his administration was poised to complete all the important ongoing projects.

He further disclosed that the loan will be used to complete the following projects: the Law Faculty Building in the State University of Science and Technology, the renovation of the judiciary complex  and the Rivera State House of Assembly buildings which are all  derelict as a result of the their closure for almost two years by Rotimi Amaechi.

The loan, he further revealed, will be used to complete the Akpajo/Woji Bypass, the Eagle Island link Road and the Rivers Mall started by Sir Celestine Omehia. “There is no need frittering away resources by abandoning projects. Government is a continuum,” he emphasized.


Commission of Inquiry

On June 19, 2015, Nyesom Wike went a step further to confirm that the future of the state had been mortgaged as he set up a 7-Man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate more stunning “fraud” in other sectors of the state economy.

The terms of reference for the Commission include but not in any way limited to the sales of the Omoku 150MW Gas Turbine, Afam 360MW, Trans-Amadi 136MW and Eleme 75MW gas turbines by the Amaechi government.

The Commission will also look into the withdrawal of N96billion from the Rivers state reserve fund without compliance with the Rivers state reserve fund law no 2 of 2008 and the US$39million frittered away in the course of the Adolphus Karibi-Whyte 1000-bed Specialist Hospital project.

Also, the Hon. Justice George Omereji Commission is saddled with the responsibility of investigating the sales of the Olympia Hotel and the actual cost of the monorail project which, by all standards, looks like a project on the verge of abandonment.

Wike lamented that the debt profile of the state’s Ministry of Works is alarming. He said the ministry alone was owing contractors a backlog of N200billion. This, perhaps, may cause people to probe into why the former administration embarked on so many projects at the same time when it knew there was no much money to prosecute them.

On the issue of the three aircrafts bought by the government of Dr Peter Odili, Wike left many rabble when he said that it was rather unfortunate that the “legacies” left behind by a government that Amaechi benefitted immensely have been denigrated on grounds of politics.

On Sunday, the state government said it was going to dispatch an official from the state to Germany to ascertain the state and condition of one of the aircrafts which report said has been parked somewhere in that country for some time.

One of the aircrafts was sold to the government of Cross River state at about US$6million, less than the actual purchase cost. The state of the controversial Bombardier which documents varied from official to personal is presently unknown. At the moment, Rivers state is left with only one aircraft: Global Express which is parked at the Air Force base in Port Harcourt.


Cost of Foreign Consultants

Another conduit link through which the former government might have wasted money was the idea of awarding virtually every contract through consultants. Majority of these consultants were foreigners who made fortune from the state while the indigenous experts could have done even better.

A clear example is the Professor Krubor Model School in Tai Local Government Area of the state where Indians were brought in as consultants to manage the institution which is one of the few model schools built by the past administration.

Information has it that the Indians protested that they were leaving the state because the past government owed them so much. They were receiving as much as N800million monthly and it is not clear how many months they are being owed.

In what critics have described as a ‘light and flimsy’ response to the weighty allegations against Amaechi, the APC, on Sunday, dismissed as a wild goose chase the probe of the Amaechi administration ordered by Wike .

Wike had on Friday inaugurated a Seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) with Justice George Emereji as Chairman and given a month to it to investigate the immediate past administration.

“This is, at best, a fruitless and laughable venture; a wild goose chase,” Rivers APC said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, and issued on Sunday, in Port Harcourt.

The party noted that Amaechi ran a transparent administration and made it a habit to render account of his stewardship to Rivers people almost on a quarterly basis throughout his eight years in office as governor.

“Only a mischievous and treacherous person like Wike would, therefore, start sniffing the ground in a bid to find out if Rt. Hon. Amaechi soiled his hands while carrying out his functions as the Governor of Rivers State,” Rivers APC said.

The party said it was aware that Wike’s desperate efforts to bring down Amaechi and rubbish his good name despite all his feats as Rivers State Governor are aimed to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from appointing him into his cabinet.

According to APC, “One thing Chief Wike and his evil collaborators fail to understand is that President Buhari knows the politics of Rivers State as he knows his fingers. President Buhari is fully aware that Amaechi and his associates are being viciously persecuted by Wike because he engineered the ouster of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as the President of Nigeria and the election of President Buhari.”

Apart from the above, Ikanya said Wike is embarking upon this “worthless vindictive venture knowing very well that he will soon be ignominiously sacked by the Election Petition Tribunal since he never won election but was imposed by Rivers INEC in collaboration with the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party.”


Unfazed by Allegations

Rivers APC made it clear that it is not perturbed by Wike’s abracadabra but advised Justice Omereji and his co-panelists not to allow themselves to be used by Wike to cook up non-existent fraud cases against Amaechi.

The party added: “Justice Omereji and co should not allow Wike to rubbish the good name they have spent decades to cultivate because it is Wike, who is fraud personified and who has the blood of hundreds of innocent Rivers citizens killed in his desperate bid to become governor, that deserves to be investigated.

“Deep down in him, Chief Wike is aware if the panel he set up is to do an impartial job, the only issue they will find to be absurd throughout the administration of Rt. Hon. Amaechi will be the contracts for road construction in four local government areas of Port Harcourt, Nkwerre, Abio-Akpor and Obigbo that Chief Wike cornered for himself and his cronies but never executed after pocketing billions of naira. The other would be the contract for schools which Chief Wike also cornered without executing.”

To crown it all, governor Wike had dared that should Rivers people make the demand, he would not hesitate to publish the account details of the state so that everybody will know who is telling the truth about fraud in the state.

“If I publish the account of the state, people will carry machetes in anger. I know the implication of that. If Rivers people want me to publish the account, why not, I will do it because I am not a ruler but a chief servant of the state.”

But the question some commentators have asked is, will the former governor appear before the panel to wriggle himself out of these allegations of scam?