Rivers crisis: I begged Jonathan to appoint Wike minister - Amaechi

By The Citizen
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Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, yesterday, opened up on the role he played in the emergence of Mr. Nyesom Wike as a Minister in the country, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan, initially rejected Wike, but he (Amaechi) persistently appealed to the President to consider Wike for the job.

Wike is the supervising Minister of Education.
Amaechi, at the convention of the apex Ikwerre body, Ogbako Ikwerre, in Emohua Local Government Area of the state, said President Jonathan, initially rejected Wike when he recommended him for ministerial appointment.

Amaechi said his reward for his efforts at creating political visibility for his kinsmen in the country had been gross betrayal. He also recalled that he made Austin Opara Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He said: 'When you see Nyesom Wike, tell him I nominated him to be a minister. And I have one witness sitting here today (yesterday). Chief Sampson Agbaru is my witness. He led other prominent sons and daughters of Ikwerre to see President 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 (Jonathan) rejected Wike and I begged President Jonathan several times and consistently because I wanted Wike to be appointed a 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 cannot be two captains in a boat, if I make Austin Opara, Deputy Speaker, I might not be the political leader in Ikwerre. But I said, I want my people to benefit and I picked Austin's name and we battled to make him Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives in 2003.'

'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 Prof. Achinewhu, Vice-Chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology. Achinewhu was sick and at the point of death, when 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 media.

As for those I gave contracts, they are so many for me to mention. But, if they deny, call the Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention and summon them, I will go there and mention them one after the other. For instance, Paul Nwonodi is one of them. He is now fighting me, writing and signing all sorts of petitions against me.' On development of Ikwerre areas

The governor also spoke extensively on the impact he made in the development of Ikwerre areas in the state, adding that he also awarded  scholarships to several Ikwerre sons and daughters as part of his empowerment programme for the people.

He said: 'Gradually, we are beginning to wind down in government and I have started counting either my blessings or losses as governor of Rivers State, not just for all Rivers people but for those from Ikwerre ethnic nationality. I have started asking what I have done for Ikwerre people and I am 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 Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, I ensured that most parts of Ikwerre had roads. The ones that didn't 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 the Ogbakiri Road.' - Vanguard.