11th January, 2016
Former Rivers State information Commissioner, Mrs Ibim Semenitari has challenged the Rivers State Government led by Governor Nyesom Wike to produce evidence that N82 million was spent on dinner to host Prof Wole Soyinka.
She wondered how the total amount of N82 million could be spent on the dinner alone, as Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George, PDP and their cohort would want the world go to bed with.
Semenitari said it was not true that N82 million was spent on dinner alone and challenged him to release the entire documents as contained in “Mrs. Ibim Semenitari’s Memo REF: MOI/COM/C./82/Vol. III/227 to cover Dance Drama by University of Port Harcourt Arts Village; Great Singha & His Highlife Band; Set Design, Stage Lighting & Costume Design; Costume Design & Stage Property; Dinner; Transportation and Accommodation of guests from outside the country and those outside Rivers State; Decoration; Travels & Logistics, etc.”
According to the former Commissioner “Indeed, nothing can be more callous than the imputation that the dinner was because Prof. Soyinka “is a friend of Amaechi”. Having turned down several other overtures for an open honour to his enormous contributions to the growth of the literary industry in Rivers State, it was a decision of the State Executive Council to celebrate a man who had been a strong DNA in the birth of Garden City Literary Festival (later Port Harcourt Literary Festival) which catapulted the state to a global player in The Arts.”
“Rather than face his urgent job as Information Commissioner to see whether he can help reposition an administration that is fast losing credibility in the eyes of civilized people in Rivers State, Tam-George would rather prefer to smear the exalted reputation of Prof. Soyinka, a man whose shoes’ lace he would be unable to untie all his life.”