I use the term Integrity Challenged Charlatan with due apologies to the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. The proprietor of Integrity Group of Companies , Mr Livingstone Wechie appeared on Focus APC where he struggled in vain to exonerate indicted immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr Rotimi Amaechi .
Like I said shortly after Gbenga Aruleba’s Focus APC featured the former majority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, the programme has metamorphosed into Amaechi’s image laundry outfit. Recall that Gbenga Aruleba served Amaechi as media consultant for eight years.
Before I proceed, let me make this abundantly clear. Mr Livingstone Wechie was never an employee of the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. There was no time that Mr Wechie acted on behalf of the Rivers State Government or the governor. There was no need for the merchant of blackmail to work for the administration, since he runs a private company.
Mr Wechie, himself, on his different television and radio appearances, stated unequivocally that he was not on the sponsorship of the Rivers State Government. With the benefit of hindsight, the interviewers helped to keep everything in the right context. Whatever Livingstone Wechie said on Focus APC is unfounded falsehood. His thoughts on the programme are the baseless concoction of a blackmail trader who hides under the cover of activism.
It is obvious that Mr Wechie lacks integrity. He is one of those integrity challenged charlatans that the Former Minister of Finance referred to when she used that term. I expect to see more of Wechie on the media as has found sponsorship in Amaechi.
Let nobody be deceived, the Former Rivers State Governor and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is working round the clock launder his image. Wechie is just of his recently hired hands.
It is obvious that Mr Wechie imagined that Governor Wike would use state resources to fund his activities. He is horribly mistaken. Governor Wike is a transparent leader who will never be drawn into the sponsorship of integrity challenged charlatans under any guise.
This administration is built on the rule of law. Nothing is done outside the prescriptions of the law. Long before Governor Wike won elections in 2015, it was public knowledge Mr Amaechi misappropriated funds that accrued to Rivers State. Mr Amaechi on May 27, 2015 declared Rivers State broke, stressing that Governor Wike will have no resources to pay salaries or do projects.
With overwhelming evidence of the corruption that soiled the immediate past administration, Governor Wike established the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the Sale of Valued Assets of the State. The Minister of Transportation instead of appearing before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, rushed to Court. The Court ruled that the Rivers State Governor was empowered by law to investigate the Former Administration.
Amaechi rushed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the constitution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the Sale of Valued Assets of the State by his administration. The Appeal Court also upheld the constitution of the commission.
The former governor has approved the Supreme Court on the investigation of his failed administration.
It is imperative to declare that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that investigated the Sale of Valued Assets of the State sat in the public. All the documents about the fraud of that administration were circulated in the public domain with journalists writing about the activities of the commission, publishing tendered documents. Nothing was hidden from the people of the state.
The Chairman of the Rivers State Commission of Inquiry into the sale of Valued State Assets and other related matters, Justice George Omereji informed the governor that the commission received 442 exhibits, 27 memoranda while 25 witnesses testified before it. It confirmed that N53billion was diverted by Amaechi and his officials.
The above statistics are relevant for the public to understand the scope of work by the commission of inquiry. It received 27 memoranda while 25 witnesses testified. These memoranda came from different organisations and individuals who were directly involved in the issues that were investigated. They had nothing to do with the Integrity Group of Companies.
According to Justice Omereji : “Government should act fast on the report and Rivers people will be better for it. If government acts fast, we will be able to recover billions stashed into where they kept them. That money belongs to the Rivers people and I hope government would act fast to recover it, so that it would be used for the people of Rivers State”.
Justice Omereji noted that the commission’s work was delayed by two suits filed by former governor Amaechi and Mr Augustine Wokocha. He said the commission only started sitting after the dismissal of the suits.
It will be recalled that Governor Wike set up the commission with the mandate to investigate the sale of the following :Omoku 150 MW gas turbine, Afam 360 MW gas turbine, Trans-Amadi 136 MW gas turbine and the Eleme 75 MW gas turbine.
The panel also investigated the sales of Olympia Hotel, the execution of the Mono-rail project, non-execution of the Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital after the payment of Thirty-nine million and two hundred thousand dollars to the contractor.
The Commission also investigated the disbursement and use of the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture credit guarantee scheme fund of N2billion and the withdrawal of N96 billion from the State Reserve Funds. The panel was also mandated to ascertain the circumstances of the sales of the four gas turbines and to identify the purchasers and also confirm whether the transaction was conducted with transparency.
A white paper has been issued on the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry. After the court processes, implementation will take place in line with the rule of law.
If Amaechi has struggled to stop the investigation of his failed administration and failed thus fair, resorting to merchants of street trading will be of little help. He may enjoy transient television and social media euphoria, but the reality remains that Amaechi has been indicted by a court-approved Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
Amaechi’s indictment has nothing to do with the Integrity Challenged Charlatan he has conscripted to launder his battered image.
Anybody who expects Livingstone Wechie to be the last hireling of Amaechi is not conversant with the techniques of desperate blackmailers. With the finances at Amaechi’s disposal, more hired hands will file out in television and radio stations and also post falsehood on social media.
Like the Rivers State Governor said during the Special Thanksgiving Service for PDP Supreme Court Victory, insults and falsehood will not be an impediment to the development of Rivers State. Insults will not stop good governance. Insults will not distract the governor from his commitment to the rule of law and delivery of quality projects.
Governor Wike believes in using the resources of Rivers State to serve the people. The resources are for the greatest number. To execute projects in line with the budget duly considered and passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. That same bugdet is in the public and can be freely accessed by well meaning persons.
Therefore, nobody should expect gratification on the altar of blackmail. The governor will never involved in activities that are untoward. Street traders can feel comfortable in the bossom of Amaechi, afterall his administration squandered N3trillion. He has excess funds to feed “human rice activists ” like this Integrity Challenged Charlatan.
What Sahara Reporters, Nigerian Police, DSS and Amaechi’s media consultants could not achieve in several sponsored editorials and documentaries, cannot be achieved by a hunger ravaged “human rice activist”. Livingstone Wechie sounded like Amaechi during his 52nd Birthday all through his drama with Amaechi’s Media Consultant in the course of the Focus APC programme on AIT .
An online dictionary defines integrity thus: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. An individual who holds a position for over two years, issuing countless statements on the same facts , only to turn around after a huge dose of “stomach-quine” is bereft of integrity.
This is a mindless sponsored act of criminal blackmail. It reeks of conspiracy to help embattled Amaechi. A Otherwise, the EFCC and that the ICPC that Livingstone Wechie wrote countless petitions to, ought to arrest him and prosecute him for lying on oath.
But one thing is certain, this will also fizzle out like the DSS sponsored protests in Abuja, where they accused Governor Wike of sponsoring activities to destabilize the Federal Government. The Wike administration is built on the mandate freely given by the Rivers people. These winds of mischief can only strengthen it.
By Simeon Nwakaudu