by Dare Lawal
The Scoop carried a report yesterday on comments made by the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, during a church service to mark the 60th birthday of a top Rivers lawyer and former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, OCJ Okocha.
Some statements made by the governor, which we did not include in our report yesterday, are however raising some dust.
Amaechi was directly asked certain questions on the politics and intrigues within the PDP in the state and the Governors’ Forum which he chairs by the officiating priest, the Bishop of Anglican Communion, Niger Delta Diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kattey.
In his response, he talked about the possibility of him leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if he’s pushed to the wall and confirmed that the battle is between him and the presidency, stating that even the governors publicly opposed to him, secretly tell him that it is as a result of pressure.
But Amaechi also directly tackled some top politicians from the same Ikwerre ethnic group as him, who he said betrayed him despite the help he rendered to them. He singled out his former chief of staff and now minister of education, Nyesom Wike, as well as the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Austin Okpara.
He said, “This will be the first time I will be talking about my former Chief of Staff in public. My former Chief of Staff is too small for me to talk about. I don’t want to discuss him and I have never done that before. Today will be my first and last day.
“There are men with character and there are men without character. I don’t believe that money can solve all problems and I don’t worship money.
“My greatest fear is that where am I going after here on earth? Let me also tell you that I have been betrayed several times in politics and majority of those who betrayed me are from my Ikwerre ethnic group.
“Before I became a Speaker, can we look back at Ikwerre history? We were crying; we wanted governor, we wanted this and that and the last ministerial appointment was Chief Emmanuel Aguma, a long time ago, and that was the last Ikwerre ministerial appointment. I became Speaker and by the Grace of God I got the Deputy Speaker seat in the House of Representatives to an Ikwerre son(Austin Opara), all with my sweat, I struggled for it. Now rather than support me when I need him, he has betrayed me.
“Again, you can ask Mr. President, I submitted his name (Nyesom Wike) as minister. Where is he now? I, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, submitted his name as minister to President Jonathan. But where is he now? You must have character, you must be known for something,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi’s comments in church has generated mixed reactions, but going by discussion threads and online forum, it seems quite a few people are upset with his statements because they were made in church. The reasoning is that Amaechi was wrong to describe others as insignificant in the presence of God.
One commenter, Dele, said, “Calling a human beign too small in d present of God is a serious issue. Is like him (amaechi) making mockery of hIs (wiki) creator. God forgive him (Ameachi) cos he spoke out of annoyance. Ur excellency reverse or withdraw ur statement publicly for Gods forgiveness and pray for his intervention. Also respect ur elders has u ar going out of hand wt Mr president Pls ,God bless Nigeria.”
“How do u make such vainglorious comments in church, the house of God!! Naija politicians are sick,” said another person.
Another commenter who identified himself as ‘Truthbtold’, said, “Amaechi calling Wike insignificant just shows the kind of personality this man has. If Wike is insignificant, who then is significant, mr Amaechi? From all indications, this is synonymous ro your late arrival to the presidents dinner (or whatever it was). The Wike man himself is another one of those two faced politicians bred in nigeria today. But you really cannot blame him cos he learnt big time from his formal boss, “Mr Insignificant”. Both of you should take a cue from GEJ and ask for advise on humility.”
Another commenter said, “Hope you have learnt your lesson, “YOU ARE TOO PROUD” Mr governor! Alas, you were not suppose to behave like other naughty governors, but you joined them, not knowing that you were brought in to that seat for the sake of the poor masses.
You can still do better as you have just 2 more years to go….
1. Swallow the humble pie and beg all those you have offended.
2. Leave NGF chairmanship issue.
3. You are too proud and you regard noboby! Please be calm!
4. Ask God to guide you on the next line of action. Let Apostle Suleiman who seems to have been carried away by the murdane activites join you in prayer and be guided aright.
May God help you..”
Some also said that Amaechi’s accusation of Wike as a betrayer is hypocritical as he is guilty of same charge.
“Amechi dis Wike that brought u frm Ghana after he suffered in court to make sure you get ur ticket as PDP flag bearer.You must pay dearly for your deeds,” one commenter said.
“If i remember well…u amaechi betrayed odili..right back at u,” said another.
“Hypocrisy in the highest order. When pdp help you to win election in the court aftward u dump pdp for apc an u are crying foul. The law of sowing and reaping, what u sow u will reap. Amechi is reaping what he sowed,” said yet another commenter.
Of course, as with all online discussions, the Rivers governor had his own supporters as well, who defended both the propriety of his statements and the fat that he made them in church.
“I don’t think that is egoistic. He was only making a clarification, and of course it is true. He did not lie about Wike’s appointment. With all due respect to Wike, I think he needs to apologize to Amaechi for betraying his benefactor. However, I am not saying Wike is not entitled to take side of the Presidency,” said a commenter.