The Governor of Rivers State, southern Nigeria, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that he incurred the wrath of President Goodluck Jonathan because he was seen to be exposing a lot of corrupt activities going on in government.
Amaechi also gave the impression that the President and his wife can never keep to their promises, recalling how they held several meetings with him begging him to deliver the state to Jonathan during the 2011
presidential election with the promise that they would never trouble him again, a promise they did not keep.
Governor Amaechi, who spoke exclusively with TheNEWS magazine, our sister publication, listed many instances where his actions infuriated President Jonathan and his wife, Patience, who he described as a de facto President.
First among the reasons for the battle to bring him down, according to Amaechi, is the desperate ambition of Dame Patience Jonathan to see herself and be addressed as the political ‘lord’ of Rivers State, her home state despite the fact that she is even not recognised by the constitution and is not occupying any elective office.
This seeming bottled-up anger culminated in the incident that occurred in Okrika, Patience’ hometown, in which she snatched the microphone from the governor and reprimanded him for saying he would buy off some buildings around a school and demolish it so as to create enough space for extracurricular activities for the school.
Governor Amaechi attributed the crisis to three things: “the first was the attempt by the wife of the President to control the Rivers State government. I remember when female senators came to me after she met with them.
“She said to them: ‘I am the highest ranking officer from Rivers State and I wonder why the Governor of Rivers State does not accord me that respect’.
“I said in law, I don’t see the office of the wife of the President being superior to that of the governor…The resistance is what you are seeing.”
During Jonathan’s campaigns for 2011, he said the President and his wife pleaded with him since he (Amaechi) wanted to be assured that if Jonathan emerged, there would not be a multiplicity of presidents where “you have the wife manipulating power, everybody doing one thing or the other.
“I wanted to make sure that I and the Rivers people are fully protected. I wasn’t convinced.
“Now, within the period, the President had called me and the wife and we sat together and made peace. There again, they promised that nobody would hurt me, nobody would do this or that. That’s why this is a bit difficult because there is nothing new that they can tell me that they did not tell me in 2011 and they did not keep to their promise”.
He said the meeting was just between him, the President and Mrs. Jonathan and he secured their promise to protect him, but “we had hardly won the 2011 elections when the wife descended on me and the Rivers State Government.
“Basically, the only way you can survive is if you then wake up in the morning to say: ‘Good morning, ma. My name is Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers State. Do I greet this person or that person’?
“If she says no, then I don’t greet you. But if you need to run the office of the governor the way it is supposed to be run, then you would certainly have a disagreement with the wife of the President
“It is about power and control. She appears to be somebody who loves power.”
The governor also said part of the problem was that the President took about 41 oil wells from Rivers and handed them to Abia and Bayelsa, the President’s state.
He also said the President was not comfortable with the fact that he (Amaechi) speaks his mind whenever he had the opportunity.
For example, he said he had complained many times about the rising poverty and corruption among public office holders in the country to no avail even as the country’s economy is in bad shape.
Another incident that pitched Amaechi against the President was that the former accused the World Bank, during an event abroad, of aiding Nigeria’s lamentable corruption.
He also lamented the increasing activities of oil thieves, adding that attempts by his government to subdue the thieves have also been scuttled by the President because of the problem between them, thus making the country suffer the consequence.
“My colleague, the governor of Benue State, told me that teachers are on strike in his state because of salary. And you would see more in the next few months. The country is broke.
“The amount of money being stolen is enough to run this economy. They set aside 455,000 barrels per day for local refining. We don’t refine in Nigeria. Crude is refined overseas, brought back to Nigeria and then we pay subsidy on it,” he said.
The governor made a lot of other revelations as published in the current edition of the magazine.
Source ; PM News.