Rivers at 50: Drama as Amaechi turn down Wike’s award, asks him to apologize
A fresh clash ensued yesterday between Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and his successor as Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, over today’s Rivers at 50 award ceremony.
Amaechi turned down an award offered him by Wike as part of activities marking the creation of the state 50 years ago. He dismissed the award a poisoned chalice, coming from a man who “spends most of his time making reckless, deeply irresponsible, malicious, false allegations” against him (Amaechi). He cited the recent allegation by Wike that the $43million recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the Osborne Tower in Ikoyi ,Lagos was part of the money stolen by the minister.
He told the governor to first publicly confess and apologize “that he wickedly and maliciously lied when he had that disgraceful, middle of the night press conference to push the false narrative” that Amaechi owned the money and apartment. The governor’s response to Amaechi’s rejection of the award was swift in coming. The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George, claimed that the minister’s action was a huge moral relief for the Wike administration and Rivers people.
Amaechi,in firing the first salvo through his media office yesterday, said: “In the past couple of days, Minister of Transportation and immediate past governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has been inundated with calls and enquiries from journalists about a purported award/honour to him from Nyesom Wike, the current governor of Rivers State. “The minister was shown a publication of the Rivers State government indicating his name as one of many others to be given awards by Nyesom Wike. But as at today, Amaechi has not received any communication from Nyesom Wike and/or Rivers State government in this respect.
“Be that as it may, we want to state categorically that whatever Wike claims to be giving to Amaechi is a poisoned chalice that has been unequivocally rejected by the minister. “Firstly, the purported award itself is a contradiction of monumental proportions, a contradiction that can only come from a warped and perverted mind. From day one as governor, Wike has made it his sole, one-point agenda to attack, abuse, insult and falsely denigrate Amaechi, his immediate predecessor and erstwhile benefactor. “Since he became governor, Wike spends most of his time making reckless, deeply irresponsible, malicious, false allegations against Amaechi, as he attempts, albeit fruitlessly, to malign and destroy the outstandingly superb performance and legacy of Amaechi in Rivers State.
“So, what is the basis or criteria for Wike to give an award/honour to a man he (Wike) has rashly attacked and called all sorts of unprintable names in the past two years? For Wike to do a 360 and give an award to a predecessor, he (Wike) has consistently but misleadingly and deceitfully called Satan, Judas, non-performer, thief and only this week a sponsor of cultists, shows evidently that Wike suffers from a grave but rare form of psychosomatic malady. “Secondly, what will Amaechi tell Rivers People when he goes to collect an award from that man-child who sits in Government House that is directly or indirectly responsible for the present deplorable state of sufferings, economic and infrastructural decay, violence, crime, insecurity, kidnappings and killings in Rivers State? Amaechi will not accept any award from a petty lowlife conman, who rode to power on the blood of Rivers people. “Thirdly, the office of governor of any state is a prestigious, very dignified office and the occupant of that office who holds it in trust for his people is expected to act, talk and behave responsibly and decorously.
“Amaechi will not accept any award from this kind of lying, reckless, irresponsible and brutal character that has become the laughing stock of the nation. “Finally, We will not relent to remind Wike and insist that he must go to court, like he vowed, to prove his frivolous claims that the over $43million Ikoyi money and luxury apartment (found by EFCC), belongs to Amaechi and were stolen from Rivers State by Amaechi; or be ready to face the wrath of the law at the appropriate time; the wrath of the people and ultimately the wrath of God, which no constitutional immunity can protect him from.
“The only other alternative is for him to publicly apologize and tell us that he wickedly and maliciously lied when he had that disgraceful, middle of the night press conference to push the false narrative that Amaechi owns the money and apartment.” Amaechi was not singled out for any special award,says Wike Responding ,Wike speaking through Tam-George ,said that the state government never set out to give any special award to the Transportation minister for a meritorious service. He said Amaechi merely fell into the category of award for all past governors of the state.
His words:”The award was never meant as a validation of Mr. Amaechi’s horrendous administration. Mr. Amaechi was personally indicted for stealing billions of public funds, by a court-approved panel of inquiry, set up by the Rivers State government. “The Rivers State government is about to begin a prosecutorial process against him (Amaechi) in multiple jurisdictions in Nigeria and abroad. No award would have stopped that process. “We must confess that as a government, we wrestled with the moral horror of giving any kind of award to a man, whose government was no more than a criminal syndicate. But it was an automatic category.”