Sen. Magnus Abe, lawmaker representing Rivers south-east senatorial district, says Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, suffered a shock when President Muhammadu Buhari picked Yemi Osinbanjo as his running mate in 2014.
Reacting to reports that he fell ill after Dakuku Peterside emerged gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers in 2015, Abe said it was Amaechi who had such experience.
The senator said he does not owe Amaechi the kind of “unquestioning obedience” that the minister is demanding.
Taunting Amaechi, the senator said he neither lived in his boys quarters nor worked as his aide, stating that Peter Odili, a former governor of Rivers, was the one who brought Amaechi into limelight. The minister worked as his aide.
“He (Amaechi) will remember that when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was announced as Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, he went into shock and a Doctor had to be brought in to treat him.
“He was placed on a drip all night to stabilise him. That was why he assumed that I would have also required medication. We all react differently to shock… our political partnership started at the Rivers state house of assembly to which I sponsored myself but he was sponsored by Dr. Peter Odili. So I do not owe him the kind of loyalty that he owes Dr. Odili. How well he has discharged that loyalty in the face of power is between him, Dr. Odili and God.”
Abe said he never went to Amaechi to beg him for any job, taunting Amaechi not to be “so childish in his determination to stop him from contesting governorship election.
Abe added that the minister has no right to stop him from aspiring to the position.
He said after Amaechi reached an agreement that the Ogoni people would produce a governor, he turned around to block his aspiration.
“Nigerians are aware that Mr. Amaechi has been calling me names for the past two years and in keeping with my personal values and upbringing, I have refrained from joining issues with him in the public domain,” he said.
“However, it has become imperative that I set the records straight on the issues raised by the minister so that Nigerians will know the truth.
“Let me again place on record that it was the same Amaechi who called the entire leadership of the Ogoni Nation to several meetings to promise the Ogoni people the same Governorship for the same reason.
“All spectrum of the Ogoni including the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, MOSOP, KAGOTE, the Church Leaders Council, the Academia are all aware of the Minister’s commitment.
“Let me repeat once again that I was elected Minority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly by members of the minority caucus of the house. I was appointed Commissioner of Information by Dr. Peter Odili. Dr. Odili himself called me after my appointment and told me in the presence of two witnesses (then deputy Governor and SSG) that my appointment was one he made by himself out of conviction that I would do well and he was not influenced by anyone in giving me that appointment.
“I am glad Dr. Peter Odili is alive and he is in a better position than myself to discuss Mr. Amaechi’s loyalty.
“Yes, the Minister as Governor appointed me as SSG and supported me to go to the senate. I thank him for the privilege, but I did not lobby for the job. I served with total commitment and discharged my responsibilities faithfully and to the best of my ability.
“Most importantly, none of this was done on the precondition that I would not attempt to be governor. I really must appeal to the minister to take it easy. All is too transient in life to harbour so much pettiness and hatred.”
David Iyiofor, spokesman of Amaechi, was not available for comment, when this report was filed.
Amaechi’s dispute with Abe is responsible for the crisis rocking the Rivers chapter of the ruling party.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) barred the party from fielding candidates in the elections.