Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
A former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, has described allegations leveled against him by Governor Nyesom Wike, that he embezzled money for meant for construction of a road project in Etche part of Rivers State as ‘baseless and unfounded.’
While reacting to the allegation, Nwuke, in a statement of Friday said “My image is being maligned by a Governor who has become incensed with the credible role that I am playing as Spokesman of the APC in the State.”
“Let me dwell on the Chokocho-Ozuzu Road Project. Governor Wike was the Chief of Staff in the administration that I served as Commissioner. The Governor is well aware that no contract under the Amaechi administration was executed without an APG.
“The Governor also knows that banks could not have released funds put under their care by the Rivers State Government to contractors who did not achieve approved milestones set out by the State Ministry of Works.
“At what time did this man or the contractor who handled the job tamper directly with funds meant for the execution of the Chokocho – Ozuzu Road? The Governor who has decided to embark on the trial of a citizen in the court of public opinion should explain this to Rivers people.
“Funds approved for the continuation of work on the said project which Governor Wike accuses me of as an individual, were not released to the contractor by the Rivers State Government.
“To the best of my knowledge, those funds approved but not released were still left in the coffers of the Rivers State Government after the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration handed over the reins of power.
“It is difficult to understand what drives the emotions of the Rivers Governor. It appears from his utterance that the articulation of his views and the coordination of his thoughts is depreciating dangerously.”
“A Transition Committee was set up after Governor Nyesom Wike won the 2015 General Election. That Committee took inventory of the assets and liabilities of government.
“It is on record that the Transition Committee found nothing wrong in my conduct or management of the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as a Commissioner.
“The same Government set up a panel of Inquiry to take a closer look at functionaries who purportedly embezzled government funds. It is also on record that I was never invited to answer any question relating to sundry abuses in office.
“Why was I not invited to answer queries before a panel of inquiry? The answer lies in the fact that I was never found culpable in any way.
“For sometime now, the Governor who should be glad he won has remained fixated on the Etche nation over an election outcome that is clearly in the past.
“He did not carry the day the way he would have expected. I can understand his frustration over the volume of votes cast for him in an election that the APC did not take part in 2019.
“The election results that the Governor is complaining about prove that he was not the preferred candidate of the Etche people and those of us in the APC who are from the area. No amount of grumbling, blackmail and curses can change all that”, the statement stated.
“Wike is targeting me because I am an Etche man. Look at the way he speaks despicably about Etche voters and the effort of Etche PDP members who toiled night and day to secure a marginal victory for an unpopular candidate”.