Amaechi, Wike clash at burial of former Supreme Court Justice

Amaechi: Rivers back to the time when Ateke Tom held sway…

Wike: Amaechi has lost touch with development in the state..

Okenyi Kenechi

The fight between the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi resurfaced on Saturday at the burial of the former Supreme Court Justice, Godwin Karibi-Whyte in Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area.

Amaechi who is the current minister of transportation lamented the rising spate of insecurity and political intimidation in the state, saying that the state is back to the time of Ateke Tom, the ex-militant who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town.

According to him: “You have lost your voice. The sage has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was Governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices.

“I was happy with the sermon, the Bishop indicted us. If you are a Governor, have you governed well? If you are a politician, have you carried your people along?

“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody can speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.

“We are all here because we need to bury a man God has blessed. I have stopped traveling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.

“If you knew Justice very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored. He taught me that character was essential to life. I was a Governor at 42, and he told me, even in my 40s, I was the oldest person in Rivers State and that I must behave like a father to all”

But Wike who described late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity said comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.

He said that the minister has lost touch with developments in the state, adding that since the launching of Operation Sting by his administration, the security situation has improved greatly.

“It is unfortunate for Amaechi to come to Kalabari Land and accuse former President Goodluck Jonathan of not developing the area six years after he had left office.

“I wonder why the former Governor will choose to make such embarrassing remarks at the funeral of Late Justice Karibi-Whyte, a man he claimed to be his mentor,” he stated.

He said that for five years as a minister, Amaechi cannot boost of attracting any project from the Federal Government to his state.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke, wike said Justice Karibi-Whyte was a prominent son of Rivers State and a great jurist who dedicated over six decades of his life to the service of the nation.

“Justice Karibi-Whyte was a man of many great parts. As an academic, he taught, published, and mentored many young ones to success. As a public servant, he was dedicated, professional, and result-oriented.

“As a jurist, he was devoted to the cause of justice and always defended the dignity of the legal system.

“He wrote precisely and simply as he spoke with juristic elegance and his judgments were models of deep forensic thought anchored on sound legal logic”, he said.

Governor Wike noted that the nation and the state lost a superb jurist and hero who would forever remain an inspiration to many.

He said the State would take solace in the fact that he would be remembered for his brilliance and scholarship.

“His consummate dedication to the rule of law and extra-ordinary passion for undiluted justice for all will remain evergreen.

“As we bid farewell to a devoted husband, a loving father, a brilliant scholar, a fine public servant, and an exceptional jurist, let us all renew our faith in God and commit ourselves to building a more peaceful, just and progressive society,” he added.