Former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said his refusal to support ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s bid to secure the support of governors for an upward review of subsidy payments was one of the reasons why the they fell apart.
Amaechi added that the former President asked him not to seek re-election as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum because of his principled stand against the unjustified depletion of the nation’s resources.
The former governor said this in Abuja on Sunday night at a dinner organised in his honour by his friends in Abuja.
The committee of friends, which is chaired by Ex-Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, also has Senator Magnus Abe, Dakuku Peterside, and the governors of Plateau and Bauchi States among others as members.
According to Amaechi, the former President also superintended over the taking away of oil wells belonging to the people of Rivers State, a situation which adversely affected the state’s revenue base.
He said, “When the trouble between me and the former President started, as Chairman of Governors Forum, the oil subsidy was N300bn under President (Olusegun) Obasanjo. It remained the same under (the late President (Umaru) Yar’Adua. Six months of President Goodluck Jonathan (administration), the oil subsidy rose to N1.9tr. Is it that the country now doubled its population or bought more machines or started manufacturing?
“As chairman of Governors Forum, I was in a position to get my own share of the N1.9tr but I chose the path of honesty and truth; you cannot catch me being dishonest.”
He said at another meeting, where the issue of increasing fuel subsidy payment was tabled, he had to disagree with the ex-President and others.
Amaechi added, “There was a time I walked into a meeting with the president (Goodluck Jonathan) and in the meeting, the argument was that they wanted more money for oil subsidy. As the chairman of governors’ forum, I stood my ground and told the president I was not going to support that.
“He asked me why and I explained that we are already in court with you on the issue of fuel subsidy. The (ex) President abused the hell out of my life. I have huge respect for the President, but the only thing that made me disagree with him was on the issue of the management of the country’s treasury.”
The former governor challenged those who claimed that he betrayed the South-South with his support for the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari to tell the world how Jonathan’s presidency benefited the region in particular and Nigeria in general.
He pointed out that by his own admission, the former President while seeking re-election, appealed to the people of the zone to give him a second chance because he did nothing for them in his first term.
Amaechi noted that the looting of the nation’s treasury was done by people from all the geo-political zones, saying such act was superintended over by a President from the South South.