Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has reacted to the rejection of a State award, by former governor of the State, and current Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Amaechi had in a statement by his media office, described the purported award and honour by Wike as “a poisoned chalice”.
In his response, Wike through the Commissioner for Information, Austin Tam-George, said giving Amaechi’s “sanctimonious statement of rejection”, it was important to clarify that the Rivers State Government never set out to honour him for any meritorious service to the State during his time as governor.
He said: “As part of the events of the State’s Golden Jubilee celebration, the State government accepted the recommendation of the organizing committee that a variety of awards be given to different categories of individuals who have earned a place in the history of the State.
“There is a category of the awards designated for former governors of the State. And as a former governor, Mr Amaechi fell automatically in that category. We wish to emphasize that the award was never meant as a validation of Mr Amaechi’s horrendous administration.
“Mr Amaechi was personally indicted for stealing billions of public funds during his time in office, by a court-approved panel of inquiry set up by the state government.
“The government will soon initiate a prosecutorial process against him in multiple jurisdictions, in Nigeria and abroad. And no award would have stopped that process.
“We must confess that as a government, we wrestled with the moral horror of giving any kind of award to a man whose government was no better than a criminal syndicate.
“Mr Amaechi may be a scoundrel of history, but he was once a governor of the state. The proposed award was to serve as a sad acknowledgement of the especially dark place he occupies in our State’s otherwise illustrious history.
“His rejection of the award is therefore a huge moral relief for the administration, and the people of the state.”