Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, Saturday, said he was responsible for the emergence of his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, as governor, describing himself as the engine room of the former Rivers State governor.
Wike stated this while speaking with journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, explaining that he was teaching those in Amaechi’s camp the way to play the game of politics, because “there is no polling booth in the state that I do not know or do not know anybody.”
Continuing, the governor faulted those who criticised his election as governor, adding that he was prepared adequately for it.
“I was a council chairman. There is nowhere in this state that I do not know. There is no ward I do not know one person.
“As I sit down here, I can mention one person from each ward. I know the politicians in this state. I know who has strength and who does not have strength.”
Wike further said he was strong and healthy all through the campaigns. “I never emaciated one day, the truth of the matter is that if you do the election 100 times in this state, I will win,” he said.
Dismissing claims that he received the sum of N108 billion from former president Goodluck Jonathan as a refund for the rehabilitation of federal roads by the past administration of Rotimi Amaechi, Wike said the allegation is a frivolous one that should be disregarded by well-meaning Nigerians and the people of the state, maintaining that he met an empty treasury in the state.
He explained that it was impossible for such a huge amount of money to be released to him without anybody being able to trace it.
“It is not possible for me to receive N108 billion. Did Jonathan pay the money into my account or gave me cash?
“Was I paid the money before or after I was sworn-in as governor? Did Jonathan have the power to sign for such money after President Mohammadu Buhari was sworn-in?
“Is it possible that nobody can trace the money (N108 billion) if it was given to me? It is unfortunate how people have trivialize governance. So such stories should be discountenanced,” Wike added.
He further explained that he met an empty treasury when he assumed duty as governor, with the state Ministry of Works having N200 billion debt from the past administration.
On the controversial recovery of government property from officials of the last administration in the state, the governor insisted that the vehicle seized from the former Commissioner for Information’s residence belonged to the state government.
“The bulletproof Lexus 570 is the property of the state government and it is worth between N60 million to N70 million. I personally impounded three Rivers State Government vehicles in Abuja from the Liaison Officer,” Wike said.
On the state’s scholarship programme, Wike said it was a scam because Rivers students, who were beneficiaries of the scheme, were suffering abroad, describing the use of consultants to execute the job that would have been done by the State Scholarship board as untidy.