Your blackmail based on Fallacious Report, To Malign and character assassination attempts on Amaechi Is not only Wicked, Useless, Baseless but are mere whimpers, Eze tells Ude Jackson.. Says allegations are stale lies, already exposed as such in his new book undergoing serious scrutiny and editing by experts
In continuation of the media onslaught and campaign of calumny against Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his family and in search of relevance and dignified responses from credible Nigerians, the Publisher of PointBlank – an online news outfit, Mr. Jackson Ude, embarked on a wasteful voyage, to dig up and publish some damaging but groundless and trashed stale reports against the former Rivers Governor.
The latest jejune posts which are part of series of news publications lined up to demolish and impugn the reputation of Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, is traceable to the white paper report tailored to reflect the self-absorption of Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, in a bid to indict Amaechi and frustrate his confirmation by the Nigeria Senate as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
Jackson Ude, with the username, @jacksonpbn, in his latest tweetts said;
“Rotimi Amaechi sold Rivers state Gas Turbine for $308million to Tonye Cole of Sahara Energy. One week after, the money disappeared, laundered thru Sahara Energy account #1979738 to BNP Paribas 12-14, Finch Road, Douglas, Isle of Man a notorious for money laundering haven!
After looting Rivers, Amaechi goes about boasting to friends that he has access to $1billion to kickstart his 2023 Presidential campaign soon. Wondering where the money is coming from? We will take you through a journey of the fraud with his Chinese friends soon”.
Reacting to the tommyrot, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said Mr. Ude has been conscripted into the class of media agents hired to impugn and discredit all efforts made by the Minister in bringing the infrastructural revolution of the Buhari/APC administration into fruition.
In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, Eze described Mr. Ude as an avowed purveyor of falsehood whose constant preoccupation has remained blowing the whistle of mendacity and hypocrisy for malicious adversaries in the flourishing market of political vendetta and no more.
The party chief said Ude had spewed similar venom against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other reputable Nigerians thus, his aggressively malevolent media series against the Minister and his family is his stock in trade.
According to Chief Eze, “Ude is searching for relevance with the futile and erroneous stale report and such spite is to damage the good images and reputation of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi. He did same to some Nigerians with unblemished records including the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibanjo and so his scheme to resurrect a dead and buried report which was previously used by Governor Nyesom Wike to attempt to thwart the nomination and confirmation of Rt. Hon. Chibuiike Rotimi Amaechi as a Minister in 2015, is known and in the public place”.
“For the young man to unearth such an issue that have been extensively dealt with and pushed to the dustbin where it rightly fits, it shows that Mr. Ude is suffering from sudden dementia or he has chosen to be ignorant, dishonest and mischievous in a bid to honor the terms of his contract and justify the stipend he received from his paymasters.”
Eze admonished Mr. Ude and his propellers and financiers who prefer to grapple in the dark over an issue with which they are not conversant, to find time to read Chapter Eight (8) of his new book which is currently in process, where he explained all about Amaechi and how he prudently managed the resources of Rivers State during his eight years reign as the Governor of the state.
“On the fallacious, malicious and libellous allegations levelled against Amaechi above by Mr. Ude and his sponsors, a pip into Chapter 8 of my book titled ” AMAECHI: RIVERS STATE’S FOREMOST RESOURCES MANAGER”, still going through review by some seasoned Journalists, Lawyers and Academics will expose Mr. Ude as suffering from dementia attack and may need a medical attention as a matter of urgency.
“We are aware of all the plots to ruin Amaechi with billions of Naira kept to sponsor sinister reports like, garnished with video clips, by those who feel threatened by the towering political profile of the Minister in the politics of Nigeria, and to put things in proper perspective, I have, with an eye of hindsight and Spirit of God prepared a book that will soon be presented to the public, outlining most of what Amaechi has achieved in his public life thereby shooting the lip of Mr. Jackson and his likes who derive pleasure in pulling others down”.
While admonishing Nigerians to disregard Ude and his reckless media posts, Eze called on Nigerians to earnestly anticipate the unveiling of the new book, which is carefully crafted to put the records straight with very informative, educative, and inspiring contents.
Excerpt of the book on how Amaechi managed the resources of Rivers State to educate Mr. Ude and his sponsors accordingly
Eze’s Book On Amaechi
AMAECHI: RIVERS STATE’S FOREMOST RESOURCES MANAGER
Chief Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State’s desperation since 2015 to drag ex-governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, his kinsman, benefactor, and predecessor in office, in the mud in order to ruin and cast aspersions on his political future is no longer in doubt to observers of Rivers State politics. In any human calculation, Wike has exceeded every norm in propaganda warfare and strategies in striving to achieve his objective in that regard. Though I have made some efforts in chronicling most of Wike’s efforts in disparaging Amaechi’s person and personality in several of my past articles but permit me, in avoidance of doubt, to recall some ugly events in Wike’s sole agenda of destroying Amaechi since he assumed office as Governor of Rivers State. He has devoted so much energy, time and resource to this singular objective that analysts could not help but settle that Wike’s major project is ‘Operation Destroy Amaechi’. They may be unaware that Wike is very much abreast of the fact that as long as Amaechi, his benefactor, is in power, he (Wike) would continue to live in perpetual anxiety because Amaechi knows how he germinated in power.
At the time Amaechi was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Wike sold all decency in public office and embarked upon vendetta unknown to the history of politics in Nigeria. This was only to ensure that Amaechi became a public odium and ridicule. Even the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria played along by postponing on several occasions the screening and confirmation of this innocent man. This was a man whose only crime was his audacity in ensuring that a corrupt political system under the watch of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was duly voted out of power by Nigerians during the 2015 presidential election.
Some of Wike’s efforts suffice here:
In his efforts to achieve his aim of reducing Amaechi to nothing and impugning his character before Nigerians, he spent billions of Rivers State funds to assemble and sponsor a satanic documentary on Amaechi, aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT), well-noted for this type of job, after which they will tender public apologies asking for forgiveness. This satanic documentary, for which he earmarked billions of naira, was one of his plots to destroy and decimate the person and character of Amaechi. Other propaganda tools planned and deployed during this period, in the war against Amaechi, include sponsored publications such as advertorials, columns, editorials and Op-Ed articles in major international, national and local print media; sponsored personality discussion programmes in the electronic media and sponsored special documentaries on television and radio through independent groups and organisations, just to ruin and destroy a man without whom, he (Wike) may have ended up probably as a farmer or a big-time car dealer.
This insidious plot by Wike includes commissioning a team made up of persons within and outside Rivers State to ‘initiate, formulate and contrive’ false and damaging reports bordering on alleged corrupt practices by Amaechi. These were circulated to individuals and institutions within Nigeria and abroad, with a view to damaging the incorruptible character and rising profile of Hon. Amaechi, in order to blackmail and put pressure on President Buhari not to appoint him into his government.
Wike did not stop at these, but went further to set up Justice George Omereji’s panel to investigate the administration of Hon. Amaechi. Though the panel did not find any wrong-dealing or corrupt practices by Amaechi, Wike went ahead to issue a white paper indicting him of embezzling the sum of N53 billion. How on earth can someone in his right senses describe funds withdrawn with the approval of the legislature and spent as prescribed by the state budget to be missing? Wike, in his desperation to stop Amaechi’s appointment as a Minister, resorted to dancing naked in the market place.
Wike has not stopped his war against Amaechi, and will not relent until probably God calls him to order. At this juncture, let me state that my main aim of writing this chapter of this book is to, once again, present Amaechi’s financial scorecard when he held power as the governor of Rivers State, and leave you the reader to pass your own judgment.
Amaechi and the Resources of Rivers State: Testimony of an Insider
Having been privileged to study, monitor, and work with both Amaechi as Governor of Rivers State and Wike as former Chief of Staff to the Government of Amaechi, as well as Wike’s period as Minister of State for Education, I owe the world a duty to put records straight so as to avoid misconceptions.
A look at the financial allegations against Amaechi
The allegation of using Rivers funds to fund the APC presidential election;
Reacting to the ceaseless insinuation and allegation that Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi used and misappropriated Rivers State funds towards the 2015 presidential election of President Muhammad Buhari, Amaechi said and I quote, “I didn’t fund the APC. Rivers State government has no money to fund the APC. They have been accusing me of using Rivers’ money to fund the APC. The APC is a big party, so it can fund its activities. I do not fund the APC with Rivers’ money. I challenge all those who have been accusing me of funding the APC to show just one account through which I funded the APC with monies belonging to Rivers State?” Funny enough, Wike and those behind this falsehood, not minding that all the accounts under the watch of Amaechi then as Rivers State Governor are now with Governor Wike, have failed to produce any single Rivers State financial record, where Amaechi produced funds to sponsor the presidential campaign of the APC. Nobody till date has produced the bank account where APC campaigns were sponsored by Amaechi or the Rivers State Government.
2. The other three key allegations against Amaechi that have become a recurring decimal which Wike and his cohorts have continued to package and repackage in their efforts to run down and present him in black robe with the sole motive of rubbishing his political career the alleged fraudulent sale of Rivers State power assets and conversion of proceeds allegedly amounting to N60.48Bn; unlawful payment to and criminal conversion of N6,633,440,000 by Clinoriv Specialist Hospital, and unlawful enrichment of Messrs Collect Solutions (Nig) Limited with public funds to the tune of S1, 505,895, 698.70 (one billion, five hundred and five million, eight hundred and ninety five thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight naira, seventy kobo).
Addressing some of these bogus and unfounded allegations, George DN Feyi, former secretary to the Rivers State Government, and Chamberlain S. Peterside, former commissioner for finance, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari with attached bank statement and relevant documents debunking the allegations of corruption, and rendering the allegations baseless.
The ex-officials informed Buhari that the decision to sell 70 percent of the state’s equity in the power assets of the state was arrived at after an extensive deliberation by the Rivers State Executive Council on 15th and 16th August, 2012. The letter listed the reasons behind the sale and the leasing and concessioning of entities such as Risonpalm, Supabod and Olympia Hotel. “These entities were leased/concessioned and NOT sold as being mischievously and erroneously peddled by some individuals in Rivers State. At the end of the lease/concession period, these revived assets will revert to the State Government.”
Feyi and Peterside added that payments from proceeds of the transactions were lodged in the Rivers State Power Assets Sale Account with Access Bank, as well as the Rivers State Revenue Account at Zenith Bank. They also stated: “The companies that were erroneously portrayed as fronts for looting of funds were actually those that bought the USD and made remittances of naira equivalent into the Rivers State Revenue Account with Zenith Bank.” A table of the companies was also included in the letter to the president.
On the alleged unlawful payment to and criminal conversion of N4,633,440,00.00 by Clinoriv Specialist Hospital, the two officials also explained in details the efforts made by the Amaechi government on the matter to convince Buhari that Amaechi “did not maintain ‘a studied silence for seven years without making any efforts’ as claimed by the petitioners, and he is also not involved in any unlawful enrichment and criminal conspiracy to convert public funds to private use.”
The duo also dismissed the issue of alleged unlawful enrichment of Messrs Collect Solutions (Nig) Limited as bunkum. They concluded that the allegations of fraud and wrongdoing against Amaechi were baseless. “The authors of the petition are either ignorant of the true facts or deliberately misrepresented and twisted the facts in order to tarnish the image of the former governor Amaechi and his administration for the purpose of achieving some heinous political agenda”, the ex-SSG and former finance commissioner said in the rejoinder to Buhari.
Amaechi and management of Rivers State Finances:
To demonstrate the seriousness of Amaechi’s careful management of the resources of Rivers State, he immediately on assuming office in 2007, constituted his cabinet with men and women of integrity and seeing the decay in infrastructure in the state commenced his task by initiating and signing into law, Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency Bill No. 3 of 2008, Sustainable Development Amendment Bill No. 1 of 2008, Procurement Public Bill, Saving Public Fund Bill, and even a bill excluding the office of the governor from signing and awarding of contracts. The fact remains that no other state in Nigeria has such laws in operation, excluding the governor from interfering and awarding of contracts and saving part of its revenue for the proverbial rainy day. With the enactment of these bills, the governor demonstrated early enough the type of governance he intended to bequeath to the State: Governance premised on accountability, service delivery and people-oriented governance for the greater good of Rivers people.
According to Amaechi, “In order to lay a strong foundation for positive change in governance in the state, the administration has taken it upon itself to initiate very critical Bills on fiscal responsibility to the State House of Assembly and virtually all of which have been passed into law and assented to by me. The Executive arm of government so far has credit for having at least 60 per cent of all bills passed by the House of Assembly. Virtually all the bills were designed to deal with the age long problem of financial irresponsibility and rascality and as far as the existing laws on fiscal responsibility are concerned, anyone in government who tries to have an over sight of the due process mechanism in the state would surely run into problems.”
Amaechi believes in transparency and accountability. He was the first governor in this country to begin a Stewardship Account. He was the first governor to publicly and periodically summon town hall meeting and say to people, this is what we have received, this is what we have spent; this is where we have spent it. He was the first governor in this country to take over the payment of primary school teachers, which is a local government function, at a time when other governors were hijacking allocations meant for local council authorities. Rivers State under Amaechi was the first state to have its own Procurement Act. The World Bank not only commended, but asked other states to go and see the Implementation of the Due Process regime in Rivers State and adopt the great works of Amaechi, accordingly. He was the first governor to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Law to check government officials and exclude himself from award of contracts throughout his tenure as Rivers State Governor. This is the fellow that Wike is presenting in dirty robe.
According to Dr. Peterside, the former Commissioner of Finance, since they assumed office, efforts were relentlessly made to modernise the public finance architecture in the state to improve how they accounted for revenues and reported their expenditure. He stated; “It is on record that Rivers State remains the first and only state that maintains a dual international credit rating from Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s under Amaechi’s watch. This is no mean feat considering the rigorous process of not only obtaining the ratings but constantly sustaining and improving them. Compared to several other states in Nigeria or sovereign entities around the world, as can be attested to by these ratings, the state maintained an enviable record of accountability, financial prudence, and full disclosure. Our records are therefore verifiable and open from the regular rating reports and annual audited financial statements. One of the key pillars of transformation and modernisation of policies in the state is the enactment and operation of a transparent public procurement process that creates a level-playing field to all potential vendors and contractors in the state.”
Other steps by Amaechi in managing the resources of Rivers State:
Apart from initiating critical bills for the economic revolution in the State, the Governor inaugurated a high powered Economic Advisory Council comprising of the best brains in Rivers State that included Prof. Nimi Briggs as Chairman with Prof. Tam David West, Engr. Tonye Princewill, Barr. Ledum Mitee, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside, amongst others, as members. Speaking while inaugurating the Council, Gov. Amaechi said the task before the high-powered team was to make recommendations that would attract new investors and make old ones more profitable.
The governor said the responsibility of the State government was to abide by the blue print for economic development of the state because government alone cannot be the sole producer of funds and employment. He noted that the prevailing security challenges in the Niger Delta could not be an excuse for mass poverty in the state. He explained that the economic position of Rivers State was worrisome because a lot of companies had down-sized their operations while others had closed down completely.
The Governor hinted that the members of the Economic Advisory Council were chosen strictly on merit, as no consideration was given to where the person came from, adding that the challenges of the assignment which was remuneration-free, was enormous but that God had given the state competent, knowledgeable, and capable persons.
Prof. Briggs, the Chairman of the Economic Team, assured that they would examine the issues seriously and proffer solutions that would assist the State move forward while congratulating the Governor for the decision to find solution to the economic problems in the State.
Apart from the above, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi set up an agency called Bureau on Public Procurement alias ‘Due Process’ with the highly respected Barr. Franklyn Acho Nlerum, a UNN-trained guru of the Nigerian Law School, as its Director General. This is a man who due to his sterling and uncompromising attitude to corruption was hated by many of the government officials and contractors who saw him as an enemy of the system but most certainly loved by Gov. Amaechi, who saw in him the key to stopping corrupt practices in the State. This Commission was to monitor projects, ensure proper valuation and costing of contract in line with the market value thereby reducing corruption and inflation in the system and ensuring that credible and capable contractors executed government projects in the State.
He thus declared: “The policy thrust of the present leadership of Rivers State under the watch of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is to maintain a robust public financial management structure that could bring about efficiency and effectiveness. The position of government on prudent management and accountability were responsible for the successful execution of various ongoing projects in the State and the administrative policy of instilling financial discipline is appropriate and timely”
How Amaechi used the Resources of Rivers State and for what purposes?
That the administration of former Governor Amaechi had embarked upon many unprecedented projects, including setting up of the Songhai Farms and the N20 billion Agric Scheme that revolutionised agriculture in the state; starting off of the multi-billion naira Greater Port Harcourt City to decongest the present Port Harcourt City, and construction of one of the best stadia that hosted the last Sports Festival in the new city; building and equipping 160 health centres across the state; constructing many roads and schools; embarking on a mono-rail, first of its kind in Nigeria, which first two phases were completed by 2014. Upon completion, the mono-rail was to transport 40,000 passengers daily but Wike has sat on its completion for reasons only he alone will one day explain.
Others include offer of scholarships to over 2,000 students in Nigerian institutions of higher learning and spending of about N5 billion for students in foreign institutions; all these have been stopped by the Wike administration. Building a world-class university intended to produce world beaters (which was at its completion stage before Amaechi left office) to produce graduates that were to hold their own in any field; building in Rivers State University of Science and Technology a hostel that was to accommodate about 6, 000 students and accommodation for all the lecturers of the university. The university was to be fully ICT-compliant. It’s important to point out here that the Rivers State Government was among the few states in Nigeria that offered free education and free health delivery to its people, but stands apart as the only state offering free education, free sandals, free books and free uniforms in Nigeria. About 500 primary schools were built in 200 communities, a feat that no other state was yet to accomplish in the first term.
Wike has rubbished all these educational feats by turning most of these schools into hide-outs for rats and criminals.
The Rivers State Government invested over N100 billion per year from 2008 to 2011 in provision of roads, bridges and social amenities. In this regard, the government engaged in the construction of 800 km roads with most of them completed. Ten major bridges under construction, with three already completed; 20 minor bridges under construction, with four completed; two flyover/interchange under construction; six land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olombie-Owukiri Island, Oba Ama and Okirika, with 1,1400,000 km, with two completed; two major markets and a shopping mall under construction (Phase 1 of Mile 1 market housing 960 shops and two banking halls completed).
Apart from all these, the Rivers State Government unser the watch of Amaechi built three power stations at Omoku (150 megawatts), Trans-Amadi (130 megawatts), and Eleme (75 megawatts). By June, 2011, capacity was increased to 500 megawatts under the $195 million dollars 180mw gas turbine awarded to Saipem. Seven transmission stations (132/33 kilo volts) and seven distribution injection sub-stations 33/11 kilo volts built. The security and freedom the people of Rivers State enjoyed under the watch of Amaechi could only be appreciated if the scenario and state of Rivers State before Amaechi assumed office can still be remembered by our people.
International awards for Rivers State based on the financial prudence of Amaechi
It is on record that Rivers State was again been affirmed a ‘B’ international rating by leading international financial analysis agency, Standard and Poor’s (S & P) in a report released those days. The long-term outlook for the state was revised upwards from the previous year’s rating of ‘Stable’ to ‘Positive’, on the strength of significant then ongoing infrastructural investments (in roads, ICT, health care, education and urban renewal), and relentless efforts to transform the public finance framework. All this were to lift the state’s social and economic status in the long-run. The agency in its 2010 credit analysis report on Rivers State, noted that the state currently had a high credit quality, owing to its strong cash holdings, low debt and a healthy operating balance.
More importantly, the state’s efforts towards modernising public sector administration, which included information technology upgrade and an improved transparency and accountability in administration, was a plus to the administration. Standard and Poor’s also noted that Rivers had a strong liquidity base with no substantial debt burden. According to S & P, as of July 2010, Rivers continued to enjoy a very comfortable liquidity position. It had N43.9 billion in local currency and $11 million in US Dollars. By this overview, cash holdings in the state at the end of 2010 was expected to be around N50 billion, based on Standard and Poor’s assumption of N200 billion.”
In appreciation of all these feats, the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, was conferred with the prestigious “SERA’s” award for his contributions towards the social development of Rivers State, in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), especially in the areas of Health and Education.
Further Proof of Amaechi’s Prudence in Public Finance:
saves N134.4Bn for Nigeria in rail contract re-negotiation
As Minister of transportation, Amaechi has once again demonstrated his sagacity and prudence in management of public finance by saving a whopping N134.4 billion for the nation (using N168 to $1 as it was in 2014, when the contract was first signed), by negotiating downwards the planned 1,402km coastal rail-line project already approved by the administration of Dr Jonathan at a huge cost. Rt Hon Amaechi has by this singular act demonstrated to the entire world that he utilised the resources of Rivers State prudently and wisely during his tenure as the governor of Rivers State.
Apart from the above feat, Amaechi instilled financial discipline in the Ministry of Transportation and its agencies and provided safety measures at the nation’s airports.
To Dr. Chamberlain Peterside, “Amaechi was a stickler to due process, transparency and accountability. He took us to task a lot of times to ensure financial transactions were properly documented and our accounting practices were above board. That was reflected in the various reforms and automation projects in the public finance sector (ministry of finance and Bureau of Internal Revenue, BIR). His masterstroke was the monthly reserve fund savings programme. Without that to fall back on, the state would have got into real hard times from mid 2014 and things might have been even worse today”.
This is the man that the likes of Mr. Ude Jackson because of greed wants to destroy but if God is on his throne their efforts as it was done in 2015 will still come to waste no matter the odds.
Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,
APC Chieftain & former National Publicity Secretary, nPDP
23 – 05 – 21