BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, PORT HARCOURT
Recently, the embattled Executive Director of Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiatives, popularly known as Integrity Group, Livingstone Wechie, went on a national television where he “confessed” amongst other things that he scripted the report of the Justice George Omereji-led Panel of Inquiry, which indicted the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
A statement issued by Wechie immediately after his appearance on the national television reads in part, “May we state that our organization in all honesty relying on those documents unknown to have been forged and fabricated by the Wike-led Rivers State government, subsequently advised the Rivers State government to set up a Panel of Inquiry to investigate these allegations among others accordingly as part of our quest to get justice for the good people of Rivers State.
“The Panel did its work in fairness to the Chairman, Hon. Justice George Omereji and the members and submitted their report to the governor unknown to the world that it was all politics and documents tendered were fabricated and forged out of sheer desperation to indict Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and paint him black at all costs for selfish reasons.
“This is one reason among others that the Wike-led River State government having mischievously achieved their aim of diminishing Amaechi, are still unable, two years after, to commence prosecutorial actions as of right against Rotimi Amaechi knowing that the documents will be challenged having been forged.
“Incidentally, Nyesom Wike and his government which rode on the wings of the politically fabricated corruption stigma on Rotimi Amaechi to become governor and continues to rule with same antics of abusing Hon Amaechi as state policy have violated and abused almost all sections of the Public Procurement Law of Rivers State including the Budget, a law and bible of fiscal administration which he continues to hide in his pocket (a most heinous crime) wherefrom he solely awards contracts at will including several unbudgeted projects from his office to his choice companies on behalf of the three arms of government in the state which have had no say for more than two years now, yet misleading the unsuspecting public with his lifeline of ‘Amaechi is corrupt’’’.
“For the records and fairly so, as it concerns fiscal policy, the Rotimi Amaechi administration during its eight years in power published its appropriation laws (budgets) yet days after the Wike government came on board, the state budget which the Amaechi government left behind was pulled down from the state website and since then, the state budgets, a Law have remain the classified document privy to only the Governor: a most criminal act of the highest order.
“Our organization as a mark of the highest responsibility owes the world a duty of honesty and trust; not being a political platform but strictly an anti-corruption watchdog to question and engage any government without fear in keeping with probity in governance.
“May we state that just as we questioned the Amaechi government on major fiscal matters during the life of his administration through our various platforms, we shall also not spare the Wike administration which has shown gross abuse of powers much more than the Rotimi Amaechi administration at an alarming degree. Little wonder why nobody appears to be asking questions or engaging the Wike led government on technical matters in the handling of public funds.
“We challenge the Wike-led government to immediately publish all budgets of Rivers State for the past two years plus, publish all procurement plans thereto, publish evidence of all competitive biddings and tenders on all projects and contracts executed so far under this administration including his security votes, publish evidence of every statutory allocation to the three arms of government in Rivers State and independent management of projects by these arms in line with relevant laws in force in the state to show that it is not a ‘’dishonest’’, extortionist, malevolent and criminal government.”
Already, the Integrity Group has disowned Wechie, saying he lied when he said that they agreed to disown a document they collectively signed and presented to the Senate, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other agencies, on alleged discovery of looting of the resources of Rivers State by Amaechi.
The group, in a statement signed by its secretary, Mishak Uyi, reads in part, “Mr. Wechie told a white lie that we agreed to disown a document that we collectively signed and tendered to the Senate, EFCC and other agencies, on the discovery of the looting of the Rivers State Treasury by the former administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“After, we tendered that incriminating document to the Senate and the legal fireworks that followed it, which is now, before the Supreme Court, we have never, ever sat to either withdraw the said petition, disowned it, nor discussed it further, since it would amount to subjudice.”
Also, the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in Rivers State announced the nullification of Wechie’s membership of the right group, following his decision to recant his allegations against Amaechi.
The CLO, in a letter of expulsion dated July 19, 2017, addressed to Wechie and signed by the state chairman, Sotonye George, accused him of trying to drag the CLO into his mess by insisting that he is the face of the organization.
The letter reads in part, “We are constrained to write and express our dismay and disappointment over your recent utterances, pronouncement and futile attempts to exonerate the former governor of the state from allegations of corruption, which you had earlier initiated against him. We are embarrassed by your sudden capitulation.
“While we recognise your right to opinions and association, which seem to have exercised, we take exception to your attempt to drag the CLO into the mess by insisting that you are the face and publicity secretary of the South-South zone of the organization.
“Based on the recommendation of the disciplinary committee, you are hereby informed that your membership in this organization has been nullified. We appreciate your contributions to the growth of the organization in the past and wish you well in your new found love.”
Before his expulsion, the South-South Zone of the CLO had berated Wechie, who was until his expulsion, the deputy director, Information, for recanting his earlier allegations against the former Rivers State governor.
A statement by the zonal chairman of CLO, Uchegbu Karl Chinedu reads, “The South South Zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation is dismayed by the statements credited to Mr. Livingstone Wechie during a live programme “Focus Nigeria” on African Independent Television (AIT) in Abuja.
“While not joining issues with Mr. Wechie on the various wild and scurrilous allegations he bandied about, we wish to state that he was not speaking for the Civil Liberties Organisation. We dissociate CLO from the said statements.
“We take exception to the claims by Mr. Wechie, that he was the face of the CLO in the South South. This claim is just a figment of his imagination, as he was merely appointed a Deputy Director on Publicity as a result of his closeness to the mass media (special assistant to the zonal chair), a position from which he has long since been removed.
“The face of CLO in the south south zone, as in other zones remains the Zonal Chairman, while the Zonal Director or Zonal Administrative Secretary, ZAS, takes charge of the administration of the zonal office.
“Mr. Wechie admitted in his live appearance that he told lies, on behalf of his Integrity Group and not on behalf of CLO. We therefore urge the relevant agencies to further investigate these lies and do the needful. It is important to state that we stand on the actions and interventions we made in the past as they were made in the interest of the public and the suffering masses.
“CLO has remained resolute in its campaign for enthroning good governance, protecting democracy and human rights. All our interventions have fallen under these mandates and we do not owe apologies to anyone.
CLO views the antics of Mr. Wechie and his paymasters as infantile and shocking.”
However, in its first official reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, said with the “confession” of Wechie, all the lies and falsehood perpetrated against Amaechi by Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had expired.
A brief statement by the APC publicity secretary in the state, Warisenibo Chris Finebone, reads, “It is always our position in Rivers APC that every lie has an expiry date. Today, all the lies and falsehood perpetrated against Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi by Nyesom Wike and the PDP expired with ignominy.
“No better vessel would have conveyed the message of shame than Livingstone Wechie himself having been the arrowhead of Wike and PDP on their self-appointed mission to destroy the impeccable image of Amaechi.
But to God be all the glory and adoration that the chicken came home to roost much earlier than later. What unveiled today can only be an act of God. It should serve as a great lesson to those who preoccupy themselves with plotting evil against someone like Amaechi who is God’s favourite son.”
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