Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, of “sponsoring” militants against governors in the Niger Delta State.
Mr Wike, who spoke on Friday in Port Harcourt during the inauguration of the Trade Union Congress secretariat building, said Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, was unfairly taking on the governors of the region “just because they did not attend the inauguration of NDDC headquarters building”.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) headquarters was inaugurated by Mr Akpabio, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, in Port Harcourt on Thursday.
Apart from Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, no governor from the NDDC operational states participated in the ceremony.
Mr Akpabio, in his speech, said some governors who could not account for what they were doing with the 13 per cent derivation funds were frequently making demeaning remarks against Mr Buhari, “for the region to move forward”.
“There is no need for people to have the paraphernalia of security – you have the police, you have SSS, you have all. And those are the ones that help you to sleep in the night and then you come out to say that the presidency is deceiving people.
“Without even the president, you can’t sleep (at night) even if you are a governor. Some of them have not asked themselves what have we done with the 13 per cent derivation, yet they will open their mouth(s) and talk about the presidency in very demeaning terms,” Mr Akpabio said, while appealing to the Niger Delta people to cooperate with Mr Buhari’s administration
“I want Mr President to ignore those things,” he added.
Mr Wike, in response to Mr Akpabio’s remarks, said the former Akwa Ibom governor did not have the moral right to question what the governors were doing with the 13 per cent derivation fund.
“We knew when Akpabio was governo – what he was doing,” Mr Wike said.
“In fact, he saw himself as a god then. Now, he has the temerity to insult Southsouth governors. We will meet one day. If he did well, why did he fail the Senate election? If his people love him, why did he fail the Senate election? Ordinary Senate? And you will come and talk to us!”
The transcript of Mr Wike’s remark is contained in a statement from the Government House, Port Harcourt. The statement was issued on Friday by Mr Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri.
“You (Akpabio) went and started sponsoring so-called militants that we (governors) should render account of N55 billion. Where did we get the N55 billion? If we got N55 billion, then he (Akpabio) got N200 trillion. You cannot insult people.
“I have told him (Akpabio) to ‘take’ less. Now, he is taking on South-south governors, we will tell him that when he was governor, he was acting as a king. There was money as at that time. What was the exchange rate? N150 to a dollar. Today we are almost having N500 to a dollar.
“Akpabio had money and he had the temerity to say ask Southsouth governors what they are doing with 13 percent of their money,” Mr Wike said.
“I am not a sycophant. I am not an inconsistent person, I don’t give a damn. He cannot say he has been seeing me in his villa. So if he wants to talk, let him concentrate in his state, not to venture again and talk about Rivers State.
“If he does it again, he will regret meeting Rivers State. People should say what they practice. I will show a video where Akpabio said the President should come and learn from me what I am doing here. I will show a video soon.”
Governor Wike said the reason the minister defected to the All Progressives Congress “was because he was afraid the government might unleash the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on him”.
“That is why Nigeria cannot move forward. Everybody is running away, because when they send EFCC, you run to the other party, then they protect you. That is the party! That is the government that is fighting corruption! Akpabio is now moving around happy. He no longer takes his blood pressure medicine.”