Chris Steven, Abuja
Former Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, yesterday disclosed why some of the executive members of the immediate past administration of the state went with their official vehicles.
Parker told journalists in Abuja that the administration of immediate past governor in the state, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the cars to cabinet members (upon their assumption of office) to manage with their individual funds while in power, which he said was the reason they went with the cars after the expiration of their tenure.
He said: “The people in Rivers state and my friends know me, I don’t drive bullet-proof car; I drive myself. Till today, I drive myself. I used official car. The official car I had is with me. It is now my personal car; it was converted to me as my; you know there is this thing we call transport allowance.
When you come into government, instead of paying you transport allowance every month, you go and buy fuel, you collect money to do similar thing, the Executive said ‘it is your car; go and do whatever you like with it. If you smash it, it is your business. Go and do whatever you like with it.’ I don’t know whether they call it monetization.”
It would be recalled that the incumbent Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike, had threatened to recover government vehicles and other government property in the state allegedly taken away by the past administration.
Parker however cautioned that the Governor must be mindful of his utterances in the public.
He said: ”Chief Nyeson Wike is Governor of Rivers State now. I always say that he is our friend. He is a member of the Amaechi family. I am always conscious what I talk about my brother. It is not that today, things are not good that we start pouring cheat on one another. I try to avoid being pulled into that kind of thing.
“But, suffice it to say that I will advise him that he is now governor and his temperament, his behavior, his utterances should be that of a governor and not that of what he was before he became a governor. He was a very gay fellow, he could say anything in those days, he could yab, he could bring up things like that. But, he is no longer that person. He is now governor of Rivers State. Before he speaks, he should think and speak less,” he stressed.
Parker also debunked the allegation of diversion of N4.5 billion Karibe Whyte 1000-bed hospital, by Wike.
He said the governor was part of the Amaechi’s administration when the decision to build the hospital was taken.
According to him, whatever enquiry that is to be made over the hospital and other matters in the ministry he superintended should be made at the ministry leadership in the state, while pledging to make himself available if called upon by any anti-corruption agency.
“Karibi Whyte hospital is a project of us all, including Nyesom Wike because he was a member of a cabinet that awarded that contract to the person. Everything about that hospital, he was a member of the cabinet. And, he knows about it.
There is nothing he does not know. He also was aware, although in his own old self, I will not insult my governor for any reason. He is the governor today. But, before he became governor, he liked playing to the gallery and he would become a jester, but he is no longer that person. He is now a governor,” Parker said.