Amaechi, Wike disagree on contracts for model schools
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike have disagreed on the award of contracts for model schools and roads.
During a tour of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area at the weekend, Amaechi accused Wike, his former chief of staff, of diverting over N2 billion meant for the building of 14 model primary schools in the area.
He also accused Wike of depriving Rivers people of good governance.
Amaechi said: “What I did when I assumed office as governor in 2007 was think of how to put food on the table of our people as an alternative to militancy. I built economic infrastructure and you can see it yourselves. In every model school we built, we employed 50 persons and we have built about 500 model primary schools. For every health centre we built, we employed a minimum of 50 persons and we have built 140 model primary health centres. When we came, hospitals had only 200 doctors. We employed 200 more to make it 400. We knew 400 will not be enough and we employed 200 more to make it 600 doctors. With these plans, we were able to reduce poverty and unemployment.”
The governor, who chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), said he would soon “expose Wike for who he is”.
In a telephone interview yesterday, the Chief of Staff, Chief Tony Okocha, told reporters that Wike was desperate to be Rivers’ governor in 2015.
Okocha said: “I am surprised that Wike is displaying ignorance. He ought to know that Amaechi does not award contracts. The governor is the chairman of the State Executive Council. Contracts of up to N50 million are presented at SEC meetings and the contractors would be invited to defend the contract, while the line commissioner would liaise with the contractor.
“Wike is concocting lies to disparage Amaechi. Wike is unnecessarily ambitious. He is a drowning man. He is desperate to be Rivers governor next year. Wike is showing Nigerians who he is. He cannot be trusted. He is so unreliable and can betray anybody. Wike has demonstrated to Rivers people that they should not allow him to take them to the dark ages.
“The junior minister of education is putting touts and attack-dogs together in his Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) to unleash mayhem on peace-loving Rivers people, as witnessed in Rumueprikom and Rumuigbo (Obio/Akpor LGA) on Wednesday. Wike’s quest for power is driving him mad.
“Wike had a terrible background and was very disrespectful of elders while growing up, such that his family members did not give him a plot of land because he was the black sheep of the family. You know what land means in Ikwerreland. Wike went to the Nigerian Law School in 1996 and finished in 1997. He joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998 and became the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council in 1999.
“He has never practised as a lawyer. Let him tell Nigerians where he has worked, outside politics. Everything Wike has today he stole from the government. The then Environment Commissioner, Okey Chinda, is now working with Wike. Let Chinda explain what he did with the funds for the landscaping of Port Harcourt.”
Okocha alleged that Wike allegedly “cornered” funds meant for many model schools and roads through his cronies and companies.
He urged the people not to take the minister seriously, describing him as “a jester, who is seeking attention”.
Wike denied the allegations and accused Amaechi of diverting over N3 billion meant for the landscaping of Port Harcourt “through his friends in Ghana”.
While hosting people from Evo Kingdom, Obio/Akpor Council, in Port Harcourt, Wike said he had nothing to do with the alleged N2 billion school scam and the N7.5 billion for the construction of the 1,000-bed Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital at the Greater Port Harcourt City.
He said: “Amaechi has never given me any money to build a school. Let him mention those schools and communities. Assuming he gave me 14 schools, am I the commissioner for Education? If he gave me the contract and the job was not done, why didn’t he arrest me? If he gave me the job and I refused to do it, why did he recommend me to be appointed as a minister?
“Amaechi should account for the N7.5 billion ($50 million) contract for the construction of the 1,000-bed Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital. The $50 million was released to the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, without due approval. I wonder why the hospital has not been built, despite demolishing the old one that was in good use. Where is that money and where is the 1,000-bed hospital?
“In Amaechi’s government, a Ghanaian contractor was hired for the landscaping of Port Harcourt City for about N3 billion, which was abandoned and the contractor fled. On the fumigation of Port Harcourt City against mosquitoes, over N3 billion was paid to Cuban contractors but the job was not done and the money is yet to be recovered. Are you not seeing mosquitoes where you live?”
On his governorship ambition, the minister said nobody could intimidate him, adding that the people would hear from him soon.
The face-off between Amaechi and Wike (both Ikwerre) was as a result of the governor’s statement that no Ikwerre man would succeed him.
He said the position should go to another senatorial district/ethnic group, but Wike insists he is qualified to be the next governor.
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