Last week, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike made sweeping allegations against a former commissioner in Rivers State and APC spokesman in the state, Ogbona Nwuke. The governor accused Nwuke of abandoning a road in his Etche LGA, after collecting funds for the project.
In this online interview, Nwuke who was a member of the House of Representatives at a time, spoke on the issue.
What was the first thing that hit you when you first heard from the governor that you embezzled the money for road construction in your area?
The feeling that he has become desperate about my position on issues; a feeling that the governor had decided not to side with truth.
The truth is, my friend the governor knows I did not steal any money. He knows that I had a clean bill of health from members of his transition committee. He knows I was never invited to face any panel of inquiry set up by his administration.
He knows that money approved for the contractor after the APG (Advanced Payment Guarantee) was discharged was never released by the Amaechi administration because of pressure on funds: occasioned by the clamp down of the Jonathan government of which he, Wike, was part.
Is it possible I wore rings on all my fingers as he claimed in public? Who would do that? Who will believe these claims apart from his praise singers?
But he said so on television to the surprise of rational minds and went on to cap it with the claim on the road. I felt betrayed by it all but I have put it behind me. I have left it in the hands of God. He is the judge. I have been put on trial in the court of public opinion, not in the court of law, my dear friend. It is well. If I didn’t take from the coffers as commissioner for information as well as commissioner for commerce and Industry, how would I have stolen from a road project? Like I said in my statement, banks which were saddled with the responsibility of supervising payments after confirming the extent of work in the field would not have authorised payment for contractors who did not achieve milestones
So are you saying you are ready to face a Wike probe panel on the road saga?
In truth, I don’t know what it is you want. I have said they set up a probe when they did and I was never invited. Doesn’t that make any sense to you?
Some road projects have been initiated and completed by the Wike govt in the Etche axis. What does this mean to you?
It is the responsibility of government to provide basic infrastructure; to serve the best interest of the people. Wike is trying to live up to his obligation in this regard. We lived up to ours under the Amaechi administration. We opened up Etche. We provided roads, heath centres and schools. We sent Etche people abroad on scholarship. We even tried to tap the agricultural potential that Etche land offers. I have no further comments to make.
What does the future hold for the Rivers APC, given the resolution of the leadership crisis in the party on one hand, and the bickering by the Magnus Abe group on the other hand?
Going by the tone of your question, you cannot be suggesting on one hand that the leadership crisis within the APC has been resolved while at the same time inputting that there are bickering coming from distinguished Senator Magnus Abe. What is resolved is resolved and that should include the bickering that you are referring to.
Disagreements in politics are not new. They are as old as time. But we have overcome the most difficult time in our history as a party. We are moving on. We are talking about organising party congresses and the party convention. The future is bright, very bright and the Rivers people are happy with the APC.
We shouldn’t be talking about what the future holds for the APC. We should rather be talking about what the future holds for the Rivers people under the able hand of the APC leadership.
The party in government has brought Train 7. 52,000 new jobs would be created. That’s more than the size of the Rivers Civil Service. $10 billion in investments have been injected into a state that Wike swore the Federal Government would not do anything.
So the people know that the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail line would be built. They know soon the Bonny Deep Seaport would be delivered. They know the rail varsity is coming. They know that Railway Park project is not a mere fluke.
Wike was part of an administration that halted Train 7 and buried the growth of Rivers interests. Even now, Wike in continuation of that abhorable attitude still does not want any federal presence in Rivers State for his selfish reason.
Amaechi is part of an administration that has unblocked Train 7. Rivers State is being opened to business. Onne Port has come to life.The Bomu- Bonny road is progressing. Better days await Rivers people. That’s what counts.