Immediate past Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has rejected insinuations making the rounds that he was averse to awarding Governor Nyesome Wike the Distinguished Award in Infrastructure Delivery by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former Minister also denied ever being prevented access to the Aso Rock Villa to see the President as is being peddled in some rumour mills.
Recall that it is being reported that Governor Wike is billed to be honour by President Buhari at a ceremony soon for the Rivers’ Governor strides in infrastructure.
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A message issued by Spokesman, Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council, Sogbeye C. Eli, on behalf of Hon. Amaechi, claimed that the former Minister was instrumental to the release of N75 billion as refund of expenditures the Rivers State Government under him (Amaechi) incurred in the reconstruction and maintenance of Federal roads in Rivers State and so he could not be opposed to the award to the governor.
Eli’s statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication in the New Telegraph newspaper with the above caption.
“Clearly, what the hatchet man behind that publication set out on is to deliberately disparage the person of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, former Minister for Transportation and immediate past Governor of Rivers State, and pitch him in battle against President Muhammadu Buhari.”
According to Sogbeye C. Eli, Spokesman, Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council, “We wish to state that at no time since the former Minister resigned to contest for the 2023 presidential nomination of the All Progressives Congress has he been denied access to Mr. President. There is no record whatsoever of his complaining about the Vice President naming the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, ‘Mr. Projects’ or howsoever.”
Mr. Eli in a rebuttal statement circulated to journalists said, “Suffice to say that Amaechi who has spent quality time in his political career between the Legislative and Executive arms of Government at both the State and Federal levels is fully aware of the prerogative powers of the President and Commander-in-Chief to honour any Nigerian or foreigner who in the President’s opinion is qualified for same. Thus, it is deliberate mischief for political mercenaries to churn out a script suggesting that the decision of the President to honour his successor with a “Distinguished Award in Infrastructure Delivery” at the forthcoming Nigeria Excellence in Public Service Award is not sitting well with him.
“Truth is, Amaechi was a Honourable Minister in the Government of the Federation when President Muhammadu Buhari approved over N75 billion as refund of expenditures the Rivers State Government under him incurred in the reconstruction and maintenance of Federal roads in Rivers State.
“He, in fact, worked for the refund which has in turn helped the State Government in further infrastructure development. That much the Honourable Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) made public at his commissioning of the Rebisi Flyover in the State capital. An Amaechi who worked for that refund could not be kicking against an Award to Wike by the President.
“We wish to reiterate that Amaechi has kept a relatively low public profile since the presidential primary of his party ended. He has sought and received presidential audience when appropriate since then. Amaechi committed no crime or misdemeanor as Honourable Minister and maintains a very robust personal relationship with the President and the first family.
“There is nothing wrong anywhere therefore to warrant the insinuation that he was denied access to the President and had to proceed to the National Chairman of the APC to lodge a protest against Wike’s award.
“The APC in Rivers State that Amaechi leads is not aggrieved howsoever by this award. In fact, we are delighted that a Federal Government led by our great party has risen above the petty partisanship that the Rivers State Government was subjected to by the PDP when Amaechi was Governor. Let the mischief makers behind that publication therefore ply their trade elsewhere.
“As we approach the 2023 general elections, we are taking our party in the direction it should go and do not need any distractions from any quarters.”