By Ehi Ekhator, Colombo.
The Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has revealed during the weekend that the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike and a Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, Chief Austin Opara, betrayed him.
Amaechi revealed this on Sunday at the 199th Convention of the Ikwerre Cultural Organisation, Wat A
He also revealed that after fighting and standing behind them to get to top positions, they ended up planning with others to make his life miserable for a personal and selfish reasons
The two of them are Ikwere men, the largest ethnic stock in the state. Wike was Amaechi’s Chief of Staff.
Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), spoke on Sunday night at the 199th Convention of the Ikwerre Cultural Organisation, Wat Ahai Ogbakiri in Emohua Local Government Area.
The Rivers governor told the Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention, the socio-cultural body of Ikwerre people in Rivers state, that both Wike and Opara were now leading the fight against him in the state.
His words: “Gradually, we are beginning to wind up in government and I have started counting either my blessings or losses one by one as governor of Rivers State.
“I have started asking what have I done for Ikwerre people and I’m convinced that the Ikwerre history cannot be complete if my name is not mentioned.
“I am not saying this because I am the governor. As the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, I ensured that most parts of Ikwerre have roads. The ones that did not get then, when I became governor they got roads.
“Only a few communities may not have roads in Ikwerre now, and before we go, I will make sure they have roads like most parts of the state. We will ensure that those communities have roads. As Speaker, I asked for the grading of this Ogbakiri road.”
He added “You will not recognise it, until you take the list of our scholarship programme in the state and know how many of our children are overseas studying. They are quite many and I have met them at different airports.
“How I know them is because they greet me in Ikwerre when they see me. I have asked myself apart from those who are fighting me, many Ikwerre sons and daughters have one way or the other benefitted from me.”
He revealed that he nominated Wike to be the minister, the position governor said Wike is enjoying today, he pointed a witness to his assertion.
His words“When you see Nyesom Wike, tell him I nominated him to be Minister. And I have one witness sitting here today. Chief Sampson Agbaru is my witness. He led other prominent sons and daughters of Ikwerre to see President (Goodluck) Jonathan and the President told them that he had not known Nyesom Wike from Adam, that when Amaechi brought Wike’s name, he (Jonathan) opposed it. The President opposed the appointment of my former Chief of Staff as Minister.
“He (President Jonathan) opposed him (Wike) and I begged President Jonathan severally and consistently because I wanted Wike to be minister. But today, Nyesom Wike has betrayed me for selfish reasons.
“Also, by the grace of God, I made Chief Austin Opara, Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives. God used me. Prominent politicians met me and told me that there could not be two captains in a boat, that if I made Austin Opara Deputy Speaker, I might not be the political leader in Ikwerre. But I said I wanted my people to benefit and I picked Austin’s name and we battled to make him Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2003.”
He accused Opara of being behind his arrest and detention in 2006 after assisting him to the top.
He said: “In 2006, I was arrested through the machinery of Austin Opara and was detained for one day. Meanwhile, he was supposedly one of my supporters to be governor. Among those, I have also helped who are now fighting me is also Prof. Achinewhu, as Vice-Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.
“Achinewhu was sick and at the point of death. I flew him out of the country for medical treatment, but he is now one of those accusing me and writing against me in the papers. For those I gave contracts, they are so many for me to mention.
“If they deny, call the Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention and summon them, I will come here and mention them one by one. For instance, Paul Nwonodi is one of them. He is now fighting me and writing and signing all sorts against me.
He said: “We will survive the federal might and the way to survive it is to mobilise our people. We must prepare now to chase away those against our people. The President says he is an Ijaw man, he should not take the oil wells from the Kalabari people.”
Prof. Augustine Ahiazu, the President-General of Ogbakor Ikwerre said that the current problem of politics in River State is worrying, he added that if not properly looked into, it could create a permanent problem to individuals and various communities.
He said: “Bitterness in politics can result in undue hatred among friends and relations. It can breed division and polarisation. It can also bring conflict and destruction.
“Ikwerre sons and daughters should come together to fight any plans for violence in Port Harcourt, because any violence in Port Harcourt is violence in Ikwerre land.”
Contrary to Amaechi accusation, Wike, the Minister for Education denied betraying Amaechi in an interview in PortHarcourt. He said that he supported the governor to be in his current position in 2007.
He debunked the assertion made by Amaechi that he nominated him to the President to be appointed minister.
Opara also stated that the people from the crude oil and gas-rich Southsouth zone prefers supports President Jonathan relection to Amaechi interest in being the vice-president in 2015, hence, change became necessary.