Hours to Saturday’s aborted Presidential and National Assembly Elections, Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, spoke in an interview in which he claimed that his successor as governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike lived in fear of him even as he accused the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of working in cahoots with Wike to undermine the APC in Rivers State.
By Egufe Yafugborhi
On threat of violence
Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like violence. I always believe that you can replace houses and other properties when you destroy, but when you kill you can’t replace life. APC just lost 17 persons, not again. I was touring people’s houses, identifying with their pains. If Wike was aware when the President came to the state and we lost Nigerians in Rivers state and he was still campaigning. How could it be?
Why is Wike using Magnus Abe to avoid elections? It is not over until it is over. We are going out on Saturday to vote Buhari. If INEC decides to obey the stay of execution, we are ready to vote on Saturday. If INEC Chairman is working for PDP and will not obey the order because he was Director of TETFUND under Wike’s ministry when he was minister, so be it. We will continue to pursue the right of the people to choose who their leader would be. You can’t force leaders on the people.
Relishing Wike’s fear
Wike talked about violence. In my government, how many persons were killed? You were free to go out at night. I drove out one car at night and came home safe. Now nobody can go out. Now, as minister I can’t drive without loads of policemen, soldiers and he is happy to be a governor in that kind of state. As a minister, no governor can threaten me. Wike has the executive powers to stop a minister, so he should stop me if he feels threatened.
Security of Rivers between my administration and Wike’s
There is a difference between boys and men. I never opened my mouth to abuse Goodluck, to threaten or tell the world, oh Gooodluck is facing me with violence, they are arresting my people. I never did. Then, when I call for Security Council meeting, nobody will attend. The then Director of DSS, will come on face cap at 12 midnight with a taxi as disguise, just to brief me about security of the state.
Now the Director of SSS walks into his office, the commissioner walks into his office, Brigade Commander, GOC walk to him. Why has he stopped complaining about these people? Because they are with him, briefing him. As Rivers Governor, Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan superintended over security council in her house. I was governor and a married woman, not a staff of government was superintending over security.
Now, the governor of the state superintends over security council, so what is he looking for other than to accuse the APC in Rivers? We reassure Nigerians and the governor to come out and vote people they want. We expect the police, army to provide the necessary security.
We will not allow Wike repeat what he has been doing. When we were fighting criminals in the state, I use to drive out with the Brigade Commander. We slept 5am and woke up 9am to go to work, but Wike sleeps at night. The campaign at that time was you can sleep with your two eyes closed, while we open our eyes.
Those we sent on scholarship he brought back, saying they are not Rivers people. Business has collapsed in Rivers. That is why crime rate is high. People are moving back to Lagos. NLNG must be regretting now because we assured them of security, reason they agreed to move their headquarters here.
Now their headquarters is here, they are not safe as we promised them. I joined politics in 1987. Let one politician beat his chest and say there was a meeting I attended in which we hired thugs. I believe the formal security is enough to protect lives and property.
Knowing who is betrayer among me, Wike and Abe
Wike has been negotiating with APC that he will help us deliver presidential votes, we should help him deliver governorship. I said to our people, when they became very worried, that I won’t even talk about it. How would they implement it? If Wike is powerful enough to deliver at the Presidential, he should be powerful enough to deliver himself.
If Wike is negotiating to help us deliver presidential and then we help him deliver governorship, just imagine that kind of negotiation. If we have power to deliver governorship, shouldn’t we have same power to deliver presidential? If Wike has power to deliver presidential, shouldn’t he also have power to deliver governorship? I asked them, what are they afraid of?
We talk about betrayal. Wike, first, second terms as Chairman of Council, Dr. Odili didn’t support his coming back. Ask him. I went on campaigns in the villages in Obia Akpor to return him as chairman of council. When I became governor, I made him Chief of Staff. When as they asked me as Chairman, Governors Forum to nominate a second minister, I nominated him.
As soon as he got his hands on Mrs Goodluck Jonathan, he sold us out. Once they get a pot of porridge, they started making noise. So, I have no personal quarrel. It’s about power. The justice of the politics of Rivers today is that power should go Riverine. You can’t because you have population, deny the others. But then, if he were so popular, why go to court? Why not allow people to vote, since you say you an Ikwerre man?
Magnus fell ill when we picked Dakuku over him
To address Magnus Abe, as a betrayer, this was somebody that followed me all the days in his life. I made Minority Leader of the House. From there I made him Commissioner for Information, got him to SSG, got him to Senate. Tell me, who is the betrayer? I said 80% of Rivers politicians who have held positions in recent times, passed through me. Magnus is among them.
Magnus makes me laugh on his desperation. I was in a meeting with Magnus and Wike when they asked me if Dr. Odili stops us from being governor, what will happen? I said I give up. Wike said no, we will die, we have the support. I said no, that would be betrayal of goodwill. If you come forward and say Amaechi you won’t run, I won’t run, but Magnus is desperate.
Magnus fell ill when we chose Dakuku Peterside. Ask him if he didn’t. When I wasn’t chosen, I never fell ill. I went to Dr. Odili to say I want to leave the country. He said I should leave and I left very hale and hearty. I came back a strong man, but Magnus fell ill the day we said, you are not the candidate, but Peterside.
If Magnus says he’s not a betrayer, take the case of NDDC. He came to me, sobbing that Ogoni people have not had any position in NDDC. I said Magnus, Okay, we give you the nomination from Rivers. As soon as he got it, he grew convoy, declaring he wants to run for Governor. So, who is a betrayer. I want to sleep knowing I am an honest man. If Magnus is not ashamed of himself, let me be ashamed on his behalf. My son will worry if they hear their father is slippery.