Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike has lampooned the Minister of Transport and former governor, Rotimi Amaechi for rejecting and describing an award given to him by the state government as ‘Poisoned Chalice’.
Wike, in a statement signed by the Rivers state commissioner of information, Austin Tam-George, expressed much “relief on the news of the rejection of a proposed State award, by a former governor of the State, and current Minister for Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi”.
The statement clarified that the Rivers State Government never set out to “honour Amaechi for any meritorious service to the State during his time as governor.” it stated that “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.”
It said that “there is a category of the awards designated for former governors of the State. And as a former governor, Mr Amaechi fell automatically into that category.”
The state further read;
We wish to emphasise 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.