The Rivers State government has described the move by its immediate past governor, Rotimi Amaechi to reject the State Award during its Golden Jubilee celebration as a ‘moral relief’.
In a statement issued on Saturday, May 27, 2017 and e-mailed to The Trent, Austin Tam-George, the state’s commissioner for information and communication, said that “given Mr. Amaechi’s sanctimonious statement of rejection, it is important to clarify that the Rivers State government never set out to honour Mr. Amaechi” in the first place.
The statement noted that the current minister of transportation has been indicted for stealing billions of money belonging to the people of Rivers State during his 8 years in office by a court approved panel of inquiry set up by the state government and as such is undeserving of any honours.
“The Rivers State government has learnt with much relief news of the rejection of a proposed State award, by a former governor of the State, and current minister for transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi,” Dr. Tam-George said.
“Given Mr Amaechi’s sanctimonious statement of rejection, it is important to clarify that the Rivers State government never set out to honour Mr Amaechi for any meritorious service to the state during his time as governor.
“As part of the events of the State’s Golden Jubilee celebration, the state government accepted the recommendation of the organizing committee, that a variety of awards be given to different categories of individuals who have earned a place in the history of the State.
“There is a category of the awards designated for former governors of the state. And as a former governor, Mr Amaechi fell automatically in that category.
“We wish to emphasize that the award was never meant as a validation of Mr Amaechi’s horrendous administration.
“Mr Amaechi was personally indicted for stealing billions of public funds during his time in office, by a court-approved panel of inquiry set up by the state government.
“The government will soon initiate a prosecutorial process against him in multiple jurisdictions, in Nigeria and abroad. And no award would have stopped that process.
“We must confess that as a government, we wrestled with the moral horror of giving any kind of award to a man whose government was no better than an egregious syndicate.
“Mr. Amaechi may be a scoundrel of history, but he was once a governor of the state. The proposed award was to serve as a sad acknowledgement of the especially dark place he occupies in our State’s otherwise illustrious history.
“His rejection of the award is therefore a huge moral relief for the administration, and the people of the state,” the statement ended.