•Claims ex-gov left white elephant projects as legacy
Tony John, Port Harcourt
Governor Nyesom Wike has challenged Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to mention his contributions to River State in his ministerial capacity.
The governor, who threw the challenge while reacting to Amaechi’s claim that he (Amaechi) was one of the best governors the state has ever had, said he would resign immediately as governor if Amaechi could mention just one achievement.
The state governor made the statement, yesterday, on a live television programme, after the Minister of Transportation, Amaechi, was credited to have described himself as the best governor Rivers State has ever had.
Amaechi reportedly made the claim at the funeral ceremony of the late Justice Karibi Whyte, former justice of the supreme court, at the weekend.
Amaechi also complained of rising insecurity, bad roads and intimidation of the judiciary in the state.
“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices,” Amaechi had said.
“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody could speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.
But in his reply, Wike said if the judges and judiciary have lost their voices, it was because Amaechi shut down the court for two years while he was governor.
He said he brought a lot of development to Rivers while he served as minister of state for education, but that Amaechi cannot boast of any achievement.
“Rivers people will ask you, what will you tell us. You’re doing rail to Niger Republic, which one have you done in your state? As minister of education, I brought faculty of law to Port Harcourt; I brought N500 million grant to Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, I built so many schools. As a minister, I’m proud.
“You’re a minister, tell Rivers people I brought this, mention one. If you mention one, I’ll resign now. Mention what you’ve brought to Rivers people to convince them. We’re too educated for you to go to Kalabari to incite them.
“He said judges lost their voice. He’s right, why won’t they? A man who shut down the court for two years, NBA didn’t say anything. So, if he is now saying that NBA lost their voice, he’s right. Today, nobody talks about it that’s why he has the audacity to tell NBA they’ve lost their voice,” Wike said.
“You went to a supreme court justice house to tell him the president is not happy with him, why won’t judges lose their voice?
“I also heard him say he’s the best governor. I have no problem about that, he’s very right. If a man can close the court for two years, why would he not be the best governor?”
Wike also said Amaechi wasted the state’s funds on many uncompleted and abandoned projects “when there was plenty money”.
According to him, if he was in possession of those funds, “I will turn Rivers State to paradise”.
He also taunted the minister, saying he is still being bitten by mosquitoes even after he (Amaechi) spent N12 billion to fumigate the state.
“One of the things that made him the best governor, for fumigation of a state like Rivers state, we paid over N12 billion so that there would be no more mosquitoe. Today, mosquito is still biting me,” he said.
“He is not one of the best, he is the best. Who would have done all he did without being the best?”
Asked if his government would complete the abandoned projects, Wike said he would only complete those with economic importance, not “political projects”.
Wike said his predecessor was more interested in awarding political projects to boost his personal ego than delivering services to Rivers people.