WIKE’S MUD THROWING TACTICS
By: Edet Eyo Bassey
It was Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (1801 – 1809) who wrote that “nothing is unexpected in politics”. Me, including throwing of mud by Governor Nyesom Wike at his predecessor, HE, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. It is not surprising or unexpected that at the eve of the APC presidential primaries, Governor Wike has bent backwards to dig up a hand full of mud which he is now angrily throwing at Rotimi Amaechi, his predecessor in office. No doubt, this smear campaign is politically motivated and intended to jeopardise Amaechi’s chances of success in the Presidential race. Amaechi who is clearly a top contender for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is vigorously contending with other aspirants for the Presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The mud thrown at Amaechi by Wike stem from disputed financial transaction allegedly arising from questionable contracts award, purported sale of property of the Government of River state and diversion of various sums of monies said to belong to the government of River state into private pockets during the tenure of Amaechi as Governor. Governor Wike upon assumption of office in 2015 constituted a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to probe the probity of the disputed transactions. The former governor is reported not to have submited to the jurisdiction of the Commission of Enquiry but was nevertheless indicted alongside others who proceeded to challenge the probe panel report and government White Paper in court.
At both the state High Court and the Court of Appeal, the River state government won prompting the appellant to approach the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court recently dismissed Amaechi’s appeal against the judicial panel of enquiry report declaring that Amaechi or anyone else was not under trial. It further stated that the probe panel was a mere Administrative Commission of enquiry with no powers to impose punitive measures. However, the Supreme Court in its ruling did not exculpate the appellants from prosecution.
A statement dated 27th May 2022 issued by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistance on Media to Governor Wike, stated amongst others that government of River state was hesitant to prosecute persons indicted by the probe panel but with the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, Elders of River state shall determine whether or not to prosecute the indicted persons.
It is important to draw a distinction between indictment by a probe panel or commission of inquiry and conviction by a law court. A commission of Enquiry is precisely what it is; a fact finding and Administrative organ, no more, no less especially when government failed to promptly act upon its findings. Whereas, conviction by a court of law is punitive with its attendant consequences. It is therefore mischievous, if not foolhardy for Governor Wike to go public with misinformation to tarnish the image of Amaechi and brandish him as one without integrity and good conscience. Contrary to Wike’s assertion, the National Assembly had no reasons whatsoever not to clear and certify HE, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi fit and proper for appointment as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the basis of an indictment by an Administrative Panel of Enquiry without conviction by a competent Court of law. No doubt, a revisit of the matter and the scandalous media publicity given to it are part of Governor Nyesom Wike’s renewed political gimmick to paint Amaechi with a tar and thereby diminish his chances to grab the APC presidential ticket.
Interestingly, just as the National Assembly discountenanced Wike’s petition, Nigerians particularly APC National delegates who will determine the fate of Amaechi and others at the nomination primaries knows the truth and are well-informed to equally discountenance the mud thrown at Rotimi Amaechi in a desperate attempt by Wike to scuttle his emergence as the APC presidential flag-bearer and anticipated victory at the general elections.
Edet Eyo Bassey is a former State Publicity Secretary of APC, Akwa Ibom Chapter and state Coordinator of Rotimi Amaechi Transformation Ambassadors (RATA)
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