Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor, and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday engaged in a verbal fight at the burial of a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, in the Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said his predecessor, former Governor, Rotimi Amaechi should not be walking free if Nigeria truly practices democracy.
Amaechi, who is the Minister of Transportation, while speaking at the funeral service, lamented what he termed the rising insecurity and political intimidation in the state, saying the state was back to the time of Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town in Okrika LGA of 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.
“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.
“We are all here because we need to bury a man God has blessed. I have stopped travelling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.
“If you knew Justice (Karibi-Whyte) very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored,” Amaechi stated.
Wike on his part described the late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity, but noted that comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.
Responding to Amaechi, Wike who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, said the minister had lost touch with developments in the state, adding that since the launching of Operation Sting by his administration, the security situation had improved greatly.
Wike said, “It is unfortunate for Amaechi to come to Kalabari land and accuse former President Goodluck Jonathan of not developing the area six years after he had left office.
Wike said the shutdown of Rivers State Judiciary under Rotimi Amaechi’s administration as Governor of the state was a violation of the rights of the people of the state.
The Governor continued his reaction on a live television over the weekend in Porthacourt.
He stated that in civilized climes, Amaechi should not be walking free or be appointed as a government official because of the closure of courts.
“With due respect to President Muhammadu Buhari, I think he shouldn’t have had such a man as a Minister. He (Amaechi) should be in jail for violation of human rights.
“How can somebody oversee the locking up of the judiciary? There was nowhere for people to ventilate their anger. Contracts were breached and people cannot go to court. People relied on police to settle their differences.
“A woman was detained the day she was to be given bail. A pregnant woman was to be given bail right on the day the courts were shut down. The woman gave birth in prison. Imagine that kind of a harrowing experience.
“And that is the man they say is one of the best Governors. No, he is not the best Governor,” Wike said.
On Amaechi’s investments in education, especially the building of model schools, Wike said the funds were wasted, adding that much more could have been achieved, “with the billions of naira”, spent on building new schools.
According to him, “What we are trying to do is that with the little resources we are getting, we are trying to renovate old schools through SUBEB.
“You know my former Governor; I worked with him, so I know him too well. When he is flying with people in the helicopter, he will be pointing his fingers and telling them see that school there, I built it. He is that kind of man. If he hadn’t started something, he would kill it.
“But when I see a project that will impact the lives of the people, I complete it. The Degema General Hospital which he started has been completed but when I see a political project, I have no business. So many roads he (Amaechi) did not do and the once he did not complete, I completed them.”