â€¢ Gov calls for reconciliation as Rivers celebrates 50
By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Minister of Transportation and immediate past governor of Rivers State, Â Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has again berated his successor and current governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike over his (Wikeâ€™s) false claims that the over $43million found in an Ikoyi apartment by the EFCC was stolen Rivers State funds kept in the apartment by Amaechi.
Wike had also alleged that the luxury Ikoyi apartment belonged to Amaechi.
Amaechi had strongly debunked Wikeâ€™s unfounded claims and had challenged Wike to provide evidence of his (Amaechiâ€™s) ownership of the money and apartment where the money was found.
In a statement by his media office yesterday, Amaechi again took a swipe at Wike for his failure to go to court to prove his claims, describing what Wike is running in Rivers State as a government of lies, deceit, fraud and blood.
Amaechi also threw his weight behind the call by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, that in the fight against corruption, detractors who deliberately create distraction should be criminalised and prosecuted.
According to the statement: â€œNigerians would recall that on the night of Friday, April 14, during his hurriedly arranged shambolic press briefing, Wike had threatened to sue the federal government if the over $43million was not given to him within seven days. The seven-day ultimatum has long expired, yet no action, whether legal or otherwise by Wike to prove his malicious allegations and claim to the money. Again, May 6, another wonderful opportunity was opened for Wike to prove his frivolous allegations against Amaechi and claim the money, before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos. Â The judge had on April 13, directed that anyone who owns the money should come forward to claim it. Neither Wike nor his Lawyers were any where near the court. Again, another no show.
â€œWikeâ€™s failure to prove his allegations against Amaechi in a court of law or even in the court of public opinion clearly vindicates our position and completely exonerates Amaechi of any link or connection to the Ikoyi money and apartment. Â Wikeâ€™s failure to prove this his latest malicious outburst against Amaechi also clearly shows that all previous fake stories of allegations upon allegations of graft against Amaechi by Wike are all lies, like this Ikoyi silly lie from a sick and warped mind. Since he became governor, Wike sleeps and wakes up everyday, with a sole, one-point agenda to attack and denigrate Rotimi Amaechi, his erstwhile benefactor, no matter how ridiculous and silly he sounds. Â Everyday in Rivers State, there is one frivolous, false story of what Amaechi did or didnâ€™t do. Same pattern, the same blatant lies with no proof, same old concocted stories of corruption allegations against Amaechi told with different flavours, just like this his latest Ikoyi money blatant lie.
â€œSadly, what Wike is running in Rivers State today is not a government, by any stretch, but a contraption of lies, deceit, fraud and blood. He has bastardised and destroyed the state. Â
â€œTo stem this dangerous trend, this is why we are in full support of Soyinkaâ€™s call that in the anti-corruption war, detractors who deliberately create distraction should be criminalized and prosecuted. Detractors of the fight against corruption like Wike, and his lackeys and minions like Femi Fani-Kayode, Lere Olayinka, one Senator George Sekibo who blew a whistle on the floor of the Senate to push Wikeâ€™s false narrative of the ownership of the Ikoyi money etc, should not be allowed to go scot-free with their politically motivated lies to distract the fight against corruption.
â€œFinally, we insist that Wike must go to court, like he vowed (as he goes, he can also take his minions and lackeys with him), to prove his frivolous claims that the over $43million Ikoyi money and luxury apartment 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; constitutional immunity for governors is not for life), the wrath of the peopleand ultimately the wrath of God, which no constitutional immunity can protect him from,â€ the statement concluded.
In another development, as Christians from all denominations trooped to the Saint Paulâ€™s Anglican Cathedral in Port Harcourt for the thanksgiving and dedication service for the Rivers State Golden Jubilee celebrations, Wike has called for reconciliation among the people to cherish Godâ€™s blessings in the state.
The special service also attracted Muslim faithful who joined their Christian brethren to pray for the state for the next 50 years of her existence.
Â Addressing the congregation, Wike called on the people of the state to work together for the rapid development of the state.
Â He said the people of the state have a lot to celebrate as previous administrations contributed to the development of the state, pointing out that his administration is building on the achievements of the past.
He said: â€œIrrespective of our affiliations, we should come together. It does not matter the party that we belong, let us work together to move Rivers State forward.
â€œOf importance is that we should use this period of our Golden Jubilee as a time of reconciliation.â€
He faulted former Rivers leaders who tell the media that there is nothing to celebrate after 50 years of the stateâ€™s creation. According to him, the events that led to the creation of Rivers State and the ensuing benefits indicate that the people have a lot to celebrate.
He said: â€œI concluded that they were not quarrelling with the celebration of 50 years. They are just not comfortable that I am the one in charge during the Golden Jubilee of Rivers State.Â There is nothing anyone can do about it and we give God the glory.â€
The governor reiterated that Rivers is a Christian state. He stated that the people will ensure that the next 50 years witnesses more development.
He assured the people of the state that he will stand for them at all times, adding that he would never succumb to intimidation or blackmail in the service of the state.
Archbishop of Niger Delta Province of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev Ignatius Kattey, in his sermon, said God has placed Wike at the helm of affairs as a divine arrangement to prosper the state.
He called for the reconciliation amongst all groups in the state to create the environment for Wike to re-position the state.
Prominent Rivers leaders attended the dedication service. They include Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili; first military Governor of the state, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; former Deputy Governor, Dr Gabriel Toby; Senator George Thompson Sekibo; former ministers; membersÂ of the National Assembly and officials of the state government.