The weekend burial of an elder statesman and ex- Minister, late Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, has renewed the hostility between former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and his successor, Governor Nyesom Wike.
Amaechi stirred up a hornet’s nest during the burial in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state when he lambasted Wike for not giving the late Douglas a state burial.
Following this, Wike on Monday fired back at his main political enemy saying he was playing politics with the burial of Douglas instead of mourning the deceased.
He queried Amaechi’s whereabouts when the man was sick, saying his administration committed over N50m on medical expenses to keep him alive.
Wike said while the government was preoccupied with saving the man’s life, Amaechi was only interested in his death saying the former Transport Minister had a vested interest.
The Governor said Amaechi turned down all the demands Douglas made during his administration but that his current government fulfilled all of them.
Describing Amaechi as a “failure as far as Rivers is concerned”, Wike said his predecessor made promises to other departed elder statesmen on their immortalization when they were alive but that they died without witnessing their actualisation.
Wike said he pulled out of the burial when he discovered that the likes of Amaechi wanted to use it to play politics, adding that he honoured the man when he was alive with the Distinguished Service Star award of Rivers.
The Governor, who spoke while inaugurating a world-class seven-storey office complex built in Port Harcourt by his government, said Amaechi’s poor leadership style was the reason for the mass exodus of prominent politicians in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said: “People like to use the deaths of some prominent people to play politics. If you go for burial and you are going to honour a man that had died, you honour the man and not use the man’s death to play politics.
“I am disappointed that the former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, will still come to this state to talk about this government not giving late Alabo Graham Douglas a state burial. It is unfortunate.
“I asked him when Alabo was sick where were you? This state government committed so much amount of money to make sure Alabo survived. I want to challenge anybody. We didn’t spend less than N50m to make sure our elder statesman survived. It is the survival we want.
“We wanted him to be alive. When his son, the late son, had an accident and was flown to London, this state government took the cost of it. We didn’t need to say all these. They like to eulogise the dead.
“Why will I give him state burial, when I saw you people had brought politics to the man’s burial? I decided to withdraw myself because I didn’t want to be involved in politics. But we spent such an amount of money to save our leader when you could not bring one naira.
“All of you claiming to be Port Harcourt Boys and donating money, why didn’t you donate money to save the man that time? We like to eulogise the dead. We don’t want to eulogise the living. When Alabo was alive, how did you eulogise him? When I came I honoured him and gave him the Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State. He was not dead when I gave him
“Amaechi when Alabo was alive, he told you to honour him by elevating the stool of Amayanabo of Abonnema. You didn’t do it but I came and elevated the stool to a first-class stool. Amaechi Alabo told you ‘please, help me and do the ring road in Abonnema so that we won’t be having problems of people being trapped on one road’. But he refused to do it. I did it.
“When Alabo was alive, he told Amaechi, please, do the Trans-Kalabari road, but he didn’t do it. I am the one doing it. So, who is the man who loves Alabo? Because the man is dead, you went there. I know why you went there. You have an interest. Everybody knows that you have an interest.
“The only way is to go there when the man has died. When the man was alive you couldn’t do things that would make him happy. Before Karibi Whyte died you went and pulled down our General Hospital that you are going to build Karibi Whyte Hospital, but the man died without seeing one block you laid. But when the man died you went there.
“Before Captain Elechi Amadi’s death, you said you were going to build the Faculty of Humanities. That one you tried to lay block but you abandoned it. I came and completed it. That is the kind of life you live.
“When Elechi Amadi died, there was no road to his house for a man you said you love. I came and did that road and that was how he was buried. You should be ashamed of yourself. You come and open your mouth and talk politics in this state. Some people should know that there is a limitation to everything. If you didn’t say what you said on Saturday, I wouldn’t have exposed you. Some people should be quiet”.
Wike, who boasted that the PDP had taken all Amaechi’s key APC members challenged him to show his scorecard in Rivers as a former Minister of Transport.
The Governor said when he was a junior Minister during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he brought tangible projects to Rivers.
Wike said: “We have taken all your people. Nobody in your party again. They are leaving because of your poor leadership. Tell Rivers people, as a Minister of Transport what did you do for your people for seven years? We haven’t seen any guage in Port Harcourt.
“Show Rivers people what you did for them. When I was a junior minister, I brought Faculty of Law, University of Port Harcourt. As a Junior Minister, I brought oil and gas Polytechnic in Bonny. I gave grants to higher institutions. I renovated most of the secondary schools in this state.
“Tell us as a grade A Minister, what you brought. You think you can deceive Rivers State again? This should be your last time to open your mouth and talk about this state. You are a total failure as far as this state is concerned. Even things that were supposed to come to us, you blocked it. We didn’t bother”.
The Governor mocked his predecessor saying he could no longer enter Aso Rock villa since he resigned as a Minister.
He said: “You thought you would not finish as a Minister. But you have left. I heard you can’t even enter Villa now. All those period you intimidated the police and army people is over. When you used to tell them, ‘the president is angry with you’. Now go and tell them and they will ask you ‘which president are you seeing. You are seeing no president’.
“I am proud of myself and my team. I am proud that I have done something in this state. I may not have satisfied everybody, majority of the people will say my administration had done a lot to improve our state. So, don’t distract us again. If you do I will say more things that when Nigerians see you they will pour you hot water. So, be careful”.
Wike said Amaechi was running helter-skelter to stop his ongoing prosecution, but he vowed that nothing would frustrate the trial.
“We are prosecuting you but you are running around mounting pressure on the Inspector-General of Police that they should not allow them to testify. But you said your hands are clean, why not come to court so that they will ask you question?
“Stop doing everything to ensure your trial doesn’t go on. It will go on. Even if I leave office, the incoming governor will make sure that the trial goes on. You can’t run away from it. You told people lies. You don’t like money, meanwhile, your eyes don’t see money at all”.
Speaking on the seven-storey edifice, the Governor said the former structure in the area was abandoned and became a den of armed robbers and marijuana smokers.
He said after visiting the site, he decided to turn it around by building an office complex, which he said would be valuable for firms in financial businesses like banks.
Wike, who named the edifice, Senator John Azuta Mbata House, appealed to Herbert Nwigwe to purchase the edifice and turn it into a regional headquarters of the Access Bank. The Nation