Abe Accuses Amaechi of Defamation, Says He Has Right to Contest

Magnus Abe

Martins Ifijeh

The Senator representing Rivers South East constituency, Magnus Abe, has accused the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of defaming his character, saying he has the constitutional right to contest elections.

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, he said Amaechi had in an interview recently, described him as a betrayer and an ingrate, noting that the name calling has been on for two years without a response from him.

“However, it has become imperative that I set the records straight on the issues raised by the minister so that Nigerians will know the truth,” Abe said.

He explained that “firstly, the minister said the Justice of the case today demands that the riverine part of the state should produce the governor. Let me again place it on record that it was the same Amaechi who called the entire leadership of the Ogoni nation to several meetings to promise them same governorship for the same reason.

“All spectrum of the Ogoni, including the supreme council of Ogoni traditional rulers, Mosop, Kagote, the church leaders’ council, the academia are all aware of the minister’s commitment. He has told the Ogoni people on several occasions that they were the poorest and most marginalised group in Rivers State.”

He said Amaechi simply changed his mind and made same promise to the riverine people.

“Amaechi in the interview said if I am popular why did I go to court? My response is that I learnt from the case of ‘Rotimi Amaechi Vs INEC’ such that when the rich and powerful are after you, it is only the courts that can help you. So I simply followed Amaechi’s footsteps. If that meant he was not popular, then that is what it still means today.

“Amaechi said I fell ill when he picked Dakuku over me in 2015. I did not fall ill. He will recollect that Rivers youths almost set the government house on fire, and that I came out to address them and went on air to appeal for calm. He can also remember that I arranged a meeting of Ogoni leaders who met with him in the aftermath of that decision. No doctor attended to me,” the senator further stressed.

The senator, however, said it was Amaechi who went into shock when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was announced as vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that he was placed on drip all night for stabilisation.

He said he was glad that Amaechi still remembers how himself and Governor Nyesom Wike attended meetings in an effort to support him to be governor.

“Whatever transpired between him and Dr Peter Odili, I am glad Odili is still alive and he is in a better position than myself to discuss Amaechi’s loyalty.

“Let me repeat once again that I was elected minority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly by members of the minority caucus of the assembly. I was appointed Commissioner of Information by Dr. Peter Odili. Odili called me after my appointment and told me in the presence of two witnesses (the then deputy governor and the secretary to the state government) that my appointment was one he made by himself out of conviction that I would do well and he was not influenced by anyone.

“Yes, Amaechi as governor appointed me as SSG and supported me to go to the Senate. I thank him for the privilege, but I did not lobby for the job, and I served with total commitment and discharged my responsibilities faithfully and to the best of my ability,” Abe stated.

He urged the minister to take it easy as all is too transient in life to harbour so much pettiness and hatred.