Sunday, December 13, 2020 4:43 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Two former Commissioners in Governor Nyesom Wike’s cabinet who recently defected to All Progressives Congress,APC, have taken a swipe at their former boss, Wike, for accusing them of embezzling public funds while serving. They waved the Governor off as visionless.
John Bazia, former Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs in Rivers state, not only denied the Governor’s allegations, but accused Wike of playing “area boy politics and a dictator who does not take other people’s ideas”.
Bazia who disclosed this on a radio programme in Port Harcourt said Governor Wike lacks credibility to talk about another person’s integrity.
He said he left the PDP to the APC due to the visionary leadership of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
On his part, Michael West,who was former Commissioner for Transport who also defected to APC and was accused by Governor Wike of allegedly diverting State revenue into his private bank account, challenged the Governor to make public the private bank account as alleged.
He explained that the revenue generated by his Ministry was paid into Government account provided by the Chairman of the board of internal revenue of the State. West threatened legal action against the Governor if within 24 hours he is unable to show proof of his allegation.
A two- time member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, and 2014/ 2015 Governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, West has dumped the party.
West, who served as Commissioner in the Nyesom Wike administration, in a letter dated November 24,and captioned “Letter of resignation of my membership of the PDP”, said his decision was based on gross relegation and humiliation..
He also accused the Governor of dictatorship and lack of vision and blueprint for the development of Rivers State.
“I still stand by the accusation that Governor Wike has no vision for the State, unlike his predecessor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Just because of Wike’s petty politics, he abandoned sustainable projects (like the Songhai farm that was capable of generating revenue and employment), schools, hospitals and healthcare centres etc, built by Amaechi”.
West further asserted he still stands by his criticism that it is wrong for Governor Wike to build six flyovers on Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway while other local areas lack social amenities.
Earlier on television, the Rivers Wike described Bazia and West as political neophytes with slippery characters. He said the two men who served as Commissioners in his cabinet during his first tenure, became disgruntled because he did not retain them.
The governor said the decision of Bazia and West to decamp to APC was of no political consequence because they were politically irrelevant.
He further said: ” You knew the position of Chidi Llyod when he was in APC. Ask the former Commissioner of Transport (Michael West), he contested PDP primaries with me and got only three votes, but because of politics of carrying everybody along and the money he spent, I decided to accommodate him. He was Commissioner of Transport, ask him his contribution to the administration.”
The governor explained that during his first tenure, he almost sacked West as a Commissioner for taking 13 luxury buses belonging to the State government to Calabar for a spiritual programme and also diverting funds generated by taskforce on transport into his personal accounts.
The governor had alleged that the reasons given by West for his resignation from the PDP was that they didn’t allow him to head his ward executive committee of the party.“So how can we give somebody we know that will be leaving the party party EXCO? So that when he is defecting, he will say he has defected with the entire EXCO. He thinks he is smarter than anybody? These are neophytes in politics.”
Speaking on former Commissioner of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, John Bazia, Governor Wike revealed that while serving in the State executive council, Bazia caused him much embarrassment.