Former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has said “the people that know me in Rivers State know that I don’t like money”. Besides, he added saying, “But I am not angry with them. My anger is that in Rivers they know I don’t like money and I expect them to defend me that I don’t like money.”
The ex-governor spoke at a reception organised in his honour in Abuja on Sunday night where Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Aisha-Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu represented by Mr Dele Alake, Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai, House Leader Femi Gbajiabiamila, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, former Bayelsa State Governor Timipreye Silva, among others were present.
Amaechi noted that since Wike and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state were jittery that his appointment would be the main determinant of the state politics, they have moved to tarnish his image in the eyes of President Buhari, who detests corruption.
He said: “Let me tell you what is currently going on in Rivers State. The governor and PDP are afraid of me getting an appointment to the national executive council because that will determine what the politics of Rivers State will be.
“And they know that the current President abhors corruption and the only way they can stop me from getting the appointment is to paint me with corruption.
The same Wike, according to Amaechi, who used to advise him that merely executing project without wasting money on people would not earn him a second term in office, has sponsored newspapers’ adverts to undermine his reputation.
Amaechi added: “Governor Nyesom Wike has again sponsored one advert in a bid to undermine me. Only God knows that if there is one thing I don’t like, I don’t like money. Anybody close to me knows that I don’t like money. Even Nyesom Wike told me you will not win second term if you don’t use money. So all this wasted projects will not deliver us. And I said let us do it once and for all.”
On Wike, he said “may God not give me the kind of ambition of Nyesom Wike; he can sell anybody.”
He said besides disagreeing with Jonathan on his management of the economy, “I never insulted him.”
Amaechi explained that he incurred the wrath of Jonathan when he decided to contest for the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The former governor added that Jonathan got angrier with him when he rejected the fraudulent N1.9trillion Petroleum Support Fund (oil subsidy) claim.
Amaechi recalled: “One day I was in a meeting with Mr. President (Jonathan) and the argument was the $1.9trillion for oil subsidy. I told him as the chairman, Governors Forum I will not support it. I said your Excellency, we are already in court on the issue of oil subsidy. Since that day the ex-President abused the hell out of my life.”
According to him, people misconstrued his strict adherence to principles for stubbornness because he disagreed with the former President on the management of the treasury.
He went down memory lane: “I can tell you how my trouble with the former President started. As chairman of Governors’ Forum, the oil subsidy was N300billion under President Obasanjo. Under President Yar’Adua subsidy was N300billion. Six months of president Jonathan oil subsidy rose from N300 to N1.9trillion.
Is it that we now doubled our population or bought more machines, began to manufacture things? As chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I was in a position to get my own share of the N1.9trillion. I chose the path of honesty and truthfulness. You cannot catch me doing such a thing.”
He said some of his colleagues in the forum, including the former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu and the former Jigawa Satate Governor, Sule Lamido were also against Jonathan’s style of leadership but they failed to pullout of the PDP with him and other governors.
Amaechi attributed the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the integrity and popularity of President Buhari, noting that his instincts never ceased to tell him that his party would be victorious.
Being the Director General of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, he hailed his team for their tenacious struggle and success throughout the campaign.
Recalling how a crowd followed their campaign train, especially in the North, he said “it got to a point I became afraid because of the over two million people (crowd) around us in Kano.”
He reassured the electorate that in order not to be voted our of office as the PDP in 2019, “we will not disappoint voters in Jesus name.”