Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, engaged in a verbal fight at the burial of a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, in the Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
While speaking at the funeral service over the weekend, Amaechi, who is the Minister of Transportation, lamented what he term the rising insecurity and political intimidation in the state.
According to him, Governor Wike has instilled fear in the people of the state, making it impossible for them to speak nor criticize him (Wike).
He said the state was back to the time of Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town in Okrika LGA of the state.
“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices.
“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 could 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 travelling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.
“If you knew Justice (Karibi-Whyte) very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored,” Amaechi said.
Wike on his part described the late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity, but noted that comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.
Governor Wike who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, then replied Amaechi, saying:
“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 (Amaechi) claimed to be his mentor.”
KanyiDaiky recalled that Governor Wike had berated Rotimi Amaechi and other political appointees who are working with President Muhammadu Buhari for deliberate marginalization of Rivers State.