Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has described two former Peoples Democratic Party members, John Bazia and Michael West, who recently decamped to All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, as political neophytes with slippery character.
He said the two men who served as Commissioners in his cabinet during his first tenure, became disgruntled because he did not retain them.
The governor while speaking on a live television programme in Port Harcourt on Friday, said the decision of Bazia and West to decamp to the APC was of no political consequence because they were politically irrelevant.
“What are the qualities of people that defected? The two people, Michael West and John Bazia who knew them in my cabinet? Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of PDP before? Have you ever heard them speak on behalf of our administration? “
He further said: " You knew the position of Chidi Llyod when he was in APC. Ask the former Commissioner of Transport (Michael West), he contested PDP primaries with me and got only three votes, but because of politics of carrying everybody along and the money he spent I decided to accommodate him. He was Commissioner of Transport, ask him his contribution to the administration.”
The governor explained that during his first tenure he almost sacked West as a Commissioner for taking 13 luxurious buses belonging to the State government to Calabar for a spiritual programme and also diverting funds generated by taskforce on transport into his personal accounts.
“I called the Commissioner for Transport and asked him of his whereabouts. He told me he was in Calabar to see his father, the Olumolumba. I was amazed, and said; you took our 13 buses to Calabar without permission. I would have sacked him that day. People prevailed on me to manage him till after the election.
"Taskforce were collecting money and paying into the Commissioner for Transport private accounts. I called in the State Executive Council meeting and ask him; how would you pay state money into your private account? I managed him till the end of my first tenure . You expect me to bring this kind of person to my cabinet ?
The governor said the reasons given by West for his resignation from the PDP was that they didn't allow him to head his ward executive committee of the party.
“So how can we give somebody we know that will be leaving the party party EXCO? So that when he is defecting, he will say has defected with entire EXCO. He thinks he is more smarter than any body? These are neophytes in politics. We all kept eye on them.”
Speaking on former Commissioner of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, John Bazia, Governor Wike revealed that while serving in the State executive council, Bazia caused him so much embarrassment.
"During the 2015 presidential campaign, the President brought Kola to the Traditional Rulers. You can't believe what happened. The Chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council called me that the chiefs are waiting for their Kola. I was amazed and said which Kola, you have not received it ? They said no. The then commissioner of Information who was the chairman of the Sub committee of our campaign said they gave the Kola to John Bazia . Do you know what Baziadid ? He took Eighty percent (80%) and brought 20 percent of the Kola to the traditional rulers.
“The then Commissioner of Information got angry and slapped him and called him armed robber. Everybody was angry and compelled him to bring the Kola . What an embarrassment.”
Governor Wike, also narrated how he had to personally intervened and pay off 40,000Euro debt Bazia was owing.
He explained that his administration has done several projects in both Tai and Asari-Toru LGAS where the two decamped Commissioners hail from.
The governor described as laughable the allegation that he was constructing seven flyovers in Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor LGAS. He declared that he will be constructing additional three flyovers in Port Harcourt to ease traffic congestion.