The face-off between Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike over alleged N82 million spent in hosting Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka to a birthday dinner has deepened.
Amaechi hosted Soyinka to a birthday dinner while he was the state’s helmsman.
Wike’s camp said yesterday that his administration would write to Prof. Soyinka to return the money, if he was given any cash during the birthday bash.
The governor, through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George, claimed details of the N82 million was made available to the state police command, adding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would be involved.
But Amaechi, through his media office in Port Harcourt, said his administration never misappropriated N82 million in hosting the Nobel laureate.
The minister warned Wike as well as his “coterie of court jesters and attention-seekers” to desist from peddling lies, making false allegations and criminalising legitimate government transactions in their desperate bid to discredit his person and reputation.
The former governor asked his successor to go to court, if he had any case of fraud or misappropriation of the state’s funds against him.
The N82 million allegation by Wike and his people, according to the Transportation minister, is aimed at “distracting Rivers people from the incumbent governor’s massive electoral fraud, which different tribunals and appellate courts confirmed, as well as Wike’s gross incompetence and abysmal performance in Rivers State”.
Amaechi’s media office said: “Wike must stop these silly distractions. Rivers people are not interested in his lies and witch-hunt. Rather, Rivers people want to know what will happen to their children that he stopped and cancelled the funding of their scholarships abroad. Rivers people want to know why the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) set up by law, is no longer functioning. Why, instead of quality education, a standard set by his predecessor (Amaechi), grasses and weeds have taken over the beautiful schools built by Amaechi.
“Rivers people want to know why the standard health facilities and services put in place by the Amaechi administration are rotting away. Not this petty rambling.
“Rivers people want to know why Wike’s government does not care about the security of life and property, as violence and criminals have taken over. Rivers people want to know why it feels as if there is no government in Rivers State, and this is despite the billions of naira accruing to Wike’s administration and the tens of billions of naira borrowed.”
Amaechi warned the governor against dragging the names of respected Nigerians, who had made the country proud globally and known internationally to be honest and forthright like Prof. Soyinka, into his attacks.
His media office urged the governor to go to court to prove his allegations.