A furious Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has warned Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers to desist from denigrating his family, as a lingering political face-off between the duo grows even more vicious and personal.
At the inspection of a dry inland port in Kaduna Tuesday, the minister said he had had enough of his successor’s diatribe. He said if the provocation does not cease, he may open up about Eberechi Wike.
“If Wike does not close his mouth and talk about my wife anymore, I will bring out his wife,” theVanguard quoted Mr. Amaechi, immediate-past governor of the state, as saying.
The paper said the minister was responding to an earlier assault which Mr. Wike directed at his wife, Judith.
Mr. Wike allegedly accused the former First Lady of receiving a monthly financial gratification from commissioners and local government administrators while her husband held sway in Rivers.
The governor reportedly put the figure at N3 million for commissioners and N2 million for local government chairmen.
But Mr. Amaechi, who described Mr. Wike’s governorship as an accident inflicted on the state by former President Goodluck Jonathan, rejected claims that his wife ever ran such a racket.
“My wife and family, including my younger brothers and sisters, no one had access to government when I was governor,” he said.
“Even as minister, nobody will have such because it is not a family business. It is government business.”
Mr. Amaechi said he had hitherto refrained from dragging Mr. Wike’s family into their political rancour, admonishing the governor not to provoke him.
“You see, I’ve been very matured not to talk about his wife.”
The Rivers State Commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, held back offensive language against Mr. Amaechi’s family when PREMIUM TIMES sought his take on the latest spat Tuesday afternoon.
“Our analysis of him has always been in his capacity as a public administrator, and there’s a lot to hold him to account in that official sphere,” Mr. Tam-George told PREMIUM TIMES in a statement.
The commissioner said the Wike administration will continue to target Mr. Amaechi as an individual, but not his entire family, which he described as highly respected.
“As a leader, we invite him to account for what he did with the N4 billion agriculture grant he took from the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2014,” Mr. Tam-George said. “There is no single surviving beneficiary in Rivers State.”
Still, the commissioner said it would be “of legitimate public interest”, if there are specific claims of financial impropriety arising from Mrs. Amaechi’s role while she was the First Lady.
The latest confrontation came barely a month after Mr. Wike penciled Mr. Amaechi down for the state’s top award for service, a honour the minister subsequently dismissed as “a poisoned chalice.“