Prior to the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, financial crimes did not attract so much attention. The birth of the EFCC and the resolve to strengthen the law was therefore the creation of his government.
Today, the anti-corruption fight is being fought with renewed vigour by the Buhari administration.
It is strange that Wike is alleging political victimisation. If most Rivers people insist they are in the dark about what is happening to the state of their finances, how can Wike claim people are hounding him?
If Rivers budgets cannot be hosted on sites that once held them, what message is Wike sending?
The Rivers people don’t want a voodoo government. They want an open government. They want to know what the coffer of the State holds in trust for them, and they do have a right to know.
My expectation is that Wike would demonstrate character in proving he has run a transparent government. Let him open the books to scrutiny.
Facts don’t lie. Those officials who have an invitation should be armed with appropriate documents to exonerate his administration from charges of corruption.
It is possible that the Zenith official who is a guest of the EFCC may have started singing like a canary. It is possible that the only way Wike can convince Rivers people is for him to present the facts as they are.
The River has changed. It is flowing and its current is swift and strong. Wike needs to understand this very fact before he drowns. To appeal to mere sentiments is not something he should do at this.
One of his commissioners had told the world on a live radio programme monitored in Port Harcourt that he had no idea how much was placed in his Ministry’s budget. Except the commissioner was being miscievous, that is the greatest indictment on the openness of Wike’s era in government.
Wike and I served in the Amaechi administration. It is said we were appointed the same day. Wike knows how much government tried to put the people in the know of their financial standing.
He may still remember how we were made as a government and as a team to explain to the masses how funds were appropriated and spent.
Those who were heads of MDAs had to face the procurement agency before bids from their MDAs scaled the hurdle. So, they all learnt what it meant to follow due process.
Three years have passed by since that era when frugality mattered most. Gone too is an era when the Rivers people were on the same page with their government.
Now that the EFCC is here, it is not difficult to understand why the commission paid a visit early in the life of the administration of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. It is also not hard to appreciate why the EFCC suspects Rivers people may have lost N117 billion through scams perpetuated by key elements in a government that came into inception in 2015.