Governor Amaechi’s N1.406B Ebola fund

On October 15 2014, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State stole the show at the formal declaration of former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, to run for president in 2015. Amaechi surprised many onlookers, not because he was at the occasion, but because he swaggered that his government spent N1.406billion to curb the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the state.

He did not see N1.406billion as too much money to restrain the EVD that barely was noticed in Rivers State; he nagged that President Goodluck Jonathan government should stop making mouth that it also fought to humiliate the disease in Rivers State.

In the words of the governor: “I hear PDP and Mr. President claiming the glory of having fought Ebola. I asked one simple question: Rivers state government spent 1,406 billion to fight Ebola, the Federal Government brought N200m just last week. If we were waiting for that N200m, Ebola would have spread round Rivers State.”

To me, this is an amount bloated too high that one might wonder if the governor was saying that he used N1.406billion to fight against the EVD in the whole of West Africa. Amaechi did not see that amount as seeming too bloated for fighting EVD that was not upto a month we heard about its emergence in Rivers State.

It wouldn't be wise to say that such money has shown that sleaze is the benchmark of our leaders. However, Amaechi did not give us the statistics of how he spent the money. How many hospitals, health villages, health centres did he build to fight the EVD? Even the USA that had flown about 6 patients in private jets to best hospitals, the logistics for flying those patients and their medication might not be upto $4, 000, 000. Amaechi cannot take all Nigerians as fools in this matter, thinking that he was drawing the public sympathy at mentioning such an outrageous amount while fighting Jonathan.

For one, I have supported many of Amaechi's sentiments against Jonathan, but I beg to disagree on this amount, because it is really annoying that our politicians have taken Nigerians for a ride too long. We are talking about nearly N2B that Amaechi said that he used to fight the EVD in Rivers, and I see that he was taking his politics too far that he might thought that we were fools that would swallow his boast lead, hook and sinker.

This amount is suspicious, revealing what perhaps had happened even at the federal level: some persons might have found the EVD as a vital issue to launder money that they are now watering down our throats to accept the figures by fire, by force. Do politicians like Amaechi care about the common man in the street?

It behoves on Nigerians to know that the difference between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congresss, APC, is just in name. Party affiliations do not matter again till Amaechi tells Nigerians how he spent N1.406B to fight the EVD that barely came to Rivers State. Till then, his statement that Nigerians should, “Line up behind APC, go back home and get your voters card, we will punish this people with voters' card” remains as balderdash..

We would see other of his comments thus that PDP was banking on using security against the APC, but the members shall teach PDP the Osun lesson as a mere hypocrisy. According to him: “We will fight with our body and our lives, because there must be change this time; there is no aspirant in APC that is not better than the aspirant in PDP; APC stands for anti-corruption and the money being diverted to private pockets now can be used to provide light; Mr. President said to us on Live TV that he is the most abused leader in 2012 and that by 2013, there will be so much power in Nigeria, that citizens will be dancing for him on the streets, are you dancing now? Do you have Power?”

Notwithstanding, it has become a common knowledge that Amaechi, like other leaders in the country, would run to the press to outline how he spent such a despicable sum on the EVD and hardly would any person or group be probing further to sieve the truth from lies. This time, Amaechi cannot fool us in Rivers State with the pretence that he was fighting Jonathan.

Let him not make us see the APC as a house of revulsion. Not even the Lagos State, where the world noticed the EVD to be significant has come out with such shocking sum that Amaechi came out with that he used for fighting the EVD; then, if Governor Babatunde Fashola should behave as Amaechi has done, his own amount would be above N5B. Let Amadioha have mercy for us!

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere