Former Rivers state governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday said that his successor, Governor Nyeson Wike, is afraid to take him to court for financial mismanagement because of his secrets (Wike’s secrets) that he (Amaechi) knows.
Speaking with newsmen during a press briefing at the Millennium Plaze Hotel in New York, Mr. Amaechi said Wike would never take him to court for any trial because the governor is afraid that he might tell the whole world thousands of his properties everywhere in Nigeria.
“I want Wike to go to court if his Panel finds me guilty of corrupt practices. If he wants to fight me, let him go to court. He has to prove his case in court and he has not done that but yet, he has been shouting that yes, Amaechi is a thief. He has been saying i stole money while i was governor and i challenge him to show me just one property that he knows i acquired as governor of Rivers state.
“He cannot but i can show you thousands of Wike’s properties, and he knows that i know all these. He should come and show the whole world any property he can call mine. Am i that perfect or such a good thief that i must have been able to hide my properties without being noticed by the public. He cannot but i can show you thousands of Wike’s properties, and he knows that i know all these”
Amaechi pressed further that he would be glad if Wike can prove it in court that he was corrupt as governor of Rivers state. He added that he has a wonderful reputation as a former governor, stressing that he strongly believes that Governor Wike cannot destroy that reputation. “I will not let him destroy it because he does not have that kind of reputation and he will never have that kind of reputation” he noted.
Speaking further, Amaechi said: “I do not have a house in Port Harcourt and i wonder why Wike said that it is an irresponsible man that does not have a house in his village. I was expecting him to ask me if i actually had the money to build a house in my village. I thought he was going to attack me and say i am a thief, i had the money but i did not want to build a house in my village. He did not say that but he simply said that it is only an irresponsible man that will not build a house in his own town.
“Ask me, how much my salary was as Speaker of the House of Assembly. I want everyone to know that this same Wike was among those that contributed money for me to buy a land to build a house. The truth of the matter is that i do not have the money to build a house in my village. I always say it that any other sin can take me to hell but certainly not lie because i do not tell lies”
He also reiterated his firm decision not to appear before the probe panel set up by Governor Wike, saying that he wouldn’t get a fair hearing since the governor had already given them (panel members) an instruction to indict him.
“Apart from what the governor has told his panel, my lawyers had told me that the panel does not have any legal authority to do what they are doing. Even the Judge has said that they have no right to invite me because the panel is just administrative. They know that the job of a panel is just administrative and not to determine crime. It is only a court that can determine crime not a panel like that of Wike.
“Wike knows i have a good legal advocate and for him to be pursuing election petition matters instead of the corruption issue shows the whole world that he knows that he is doing the wrong thing. It shows that he knows the law very well that his panel has no legal authority to determine if i was corrupt as governor or not. Let Wike take me to court if his panel has the evidences to show that i truly stole from the treasury of Rivers state when i was governor” he said.
On the tension between him and President Mohammadu Buhari, Amaechi said there had never been such tension, adding that it was just a lie and propaganda from the camp of his successor that he was disappointed with the way the president had made appointments in the past.
His words: “Why should there be any tension between me and the president as a result of the previous appointments he had made. Those are fabrication by Wike and his people. The portrayed it as an interview that i or someone that is closed to me granted”
On the ministerial appointment, the former governor said he was not invited or vetted by the DSS because that is not the standing process of appointing a minister in Nigeria. “You do not need to go the DSS for vetting before being appointed a minister and that has never been in the constitution” he said.
On his problems with former president Goodluck Jonathan, Amaechi said: “We gave Jonathan more than two years to perform and it was when he didn’t do anything and we realized that we were heading for ruin of the country, we had to do something. We made sure that the whole world knew what he stood for.
“The level of corruption under Jonathan was so bad that we could not even pay salaries. As governor of Rivers state, i used to receive 25 Billion Naira monthly but by the time i left government, i was receiving only 6 Billion Naira and this made it impossible to pay salaries anymore but i had to look for money to pay salaries and all that. People were building houses, buying houses, stealing money here and there and the former president was either helpless or was encouraging corruption. And there was a need to save Nigeria”
He pressed further that the new administration wants to do is to save Nigeria. He added that the existence of the administration is an attempt to re-position Nigeria. “Don’t you feel happy now? Don’t you feel happy walking to the United Nations General Assembly now and you have respect. Others are coming to greet the president of Nigeria unlike before when nobody wanted to see us. To me, that is a sense of pride as a Nigerian” he noted.
On insecurity, the former governor said Nigerians should be impressed with the way President Buhari had handled the fight against terrorism in the country. “Two things will surely happen in the case of the kidnapped Chibok school girls. It is either they are recaptured and brought back to Nigeria or a negotiation is initiated for them to be released unharmed. The government is taking steps to return the girls back to their homes. I am positive we will find the girls because there is no way Boko Haram, no matter how mad they are, could have killed over 200 school girls.”