BY: HILARY UNAWU
It has become celebrated news that the Rivers state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has decamped to the “progressive” All Progressives Congress (APC), it is also celebrated his stance against the present central government and his claimed intolerance for corruption and misrule. However many do not know that this and all other theatricals by the expert actor are a gimmick to hoodwink common Rivers state folk and Nigeria at large while he loots unstoppable.
Rotimi Ameachi before his glorious self-elevation to the celebrated position as savior of Rivers and friend of the masses, this double faced governor has always been the green serpent in green grass like his co-travellers. He served as speaker Rivers State House of Assembly from 1999-2007 where he proceeded to become governor after bitting the fingers that elevated him- Gov. Peter Odili (with whom they now suffer a severed relationship).
Little wonder his closest associate turned bitter rival (because of the latter’s love for Rivers), Mr. Nyesom Wike stated thus in his challenge to Amaechi over the self-acclaimed purist’s stance, ‘Governor Amaechi is not as transparent as he claims to be. He wants Nigerians to see him as a social crusader, who is always ready to expose and criticise officials and agencies of the Federal Government at any given time…He is not a saint. Governor Amaechi knows that I know he is corrupt and he knows that I know him very well. Most people forget that I was Governor Amaechi’s Chief of Staff for four years; from 2007 to 2011. Most people also pretend to forget that I was also Governor Amaechi’s Director of Campaign for the 2011 governorship election. So, I can conveniently claim to know Governor Amaechi more than most people. I will expose Governor Amaechi at the appropriate time. I will expose the level of corruption in his government at the appropriate time. Governor Amaechi’s aides know that I am not unaware of the shady dealings in his administration. I challenge him to speak up”.
It will be rather apt at this point to raise certain questions like, prior to his exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where were these anti-corruption fangs bared today by Amaechi. Let us quickly quiz him thus: how come PD has become demonic after his unsavory attempt to dictatorially takeover the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF)? If PDP has all of a sudden become a synonym as shown by Ameachi and co, what happens to his 199-2013 stay in PDP? Was he not also a demon?
It will also be wise to revisit the N20billion case against the Governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, which he allegedly embezzled in 2006 while serving as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Also begging for answers is the illegal acquisition of Reliance Bank Building (N400 million), Fleet House (N650 million) all on Olusegun Obasanjo Road, Port Harcourt and other choice buildings in the highbrow Old GRA of Port Harcourt. Also inclusive is his official Guest House while serving as speaker.
On assumption of office as executive governor, Ameachi has not proven to be better either. This self-indulgent has not proven any different even as his assumption into office was an act of divine intervention.
Since assumption of office the Rotimi Amaechi administration has spent a whooping over 2 trillion naira being a total of billions accrued monthly from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and another over N145,791,169, 261.66 in just five years as allocation from the Federal Government as allocation, not to mention, excess crude sharings. Critical minds will do well to ask where has all these gone?
The state government claimed to have purchased the Bombardier aircraft with $57m, records available to the EFCC have since showed that it may have been bought for $47m, thereby creating room for suspicion on how $10m was spent. Also questionable and worrisome is the fact that the state House of Assembly approved the purchase of the controversial aircraft within 24 hours.
Questions should also be asked about how two aircraft purchased by the Rivers State Government under former Governor Peter Odili were managed.
One of the aircraft was alleged to have been sold to the Cross River State Government while the other aircraft manufactured by a Brazilian firm, an air ambulance, was said to have been phased out.
It is pertinent that the following posers be raised in his quest to sainthood; where was all the monies used to fund the port Harcourt APC rally which witnessed the highest paid crowd in Nigerian history? Where did Amaechi get funds to sponsor the Ameachi solidarity rally in Lagos? What was he doing in Ekiti election eve with millions of Rivers state money?
A master of the art of propaganda, Amaechi has wittingly refused to answer to a plethora of other issues to which Rivers state common wealth is used to service media and propaganda exponents to harangue the law and confuse common Rivers citizens. This include the about 200 school buildings built at a cost of N110 million each totaling just over N22 billion that has accounted for the over N2 trillion that he has so far received. Governor Amaechi should explain clearly claims to have awarded the contract 10 km Trans Amadi road for the sum of about N47 billion and the over N30 billion new stadium at Port-Harcourt awarded to an acolyte of a former governor of one of the States in the south-west who is also a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC. It will be wise to probe into alleged full payment of $39 million to Kleenotech, a construction company for the building of Karibi Whyte Specialist hospital that has not taken off till date as well as the initial payment of over N30 billion to Horman Engineering Ltd for the construction of the Rumuokwuta – Choba road, which was later re-awarded to another company, MCC for over N30 billion.
Is it not laughable the disagreement between Governor Amaechi and his Commissioner of Transport when they bandied differing figures of N36 billion and N16 billion respectively as current project cost.
Questions should also be advanced about the disposal of gas turbine power projects of former Governor Peter Odili as well as over N37 billion savings from compulsory levies in the coffers of the State government.
Now the question remains, how can Rotimi Amaechi, a public servant, who was unemployed in 1998 become a billionaire overnight in 2007?
Unawu is a public affairs analyst and anti corruption crusader based in Trans Amadi Ordinance, Port Harcourt.