By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Ahead of Saturday’s legislative election rerun in Rivers state, the immediate-past Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Sampson Tamunoiyoriari Parker has dismissed reports that the former governor of the state and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was once a psychiatric patient under his care.
Parker who disclosed this in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja said although such had been rumoured in the past, he is now compelled to react following what he said has now been used as a campaign tool by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in the state.
He said he was not aware of any episode of mental ill-health over the 15 years of working closely with Mr Amaechi as a friend and later as his Commissioner for Health.
“Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was not my patient at the Psychiatric Hospital when I worked there. I have never diagnosed or treated him as a psychiatric patient. I am not aware he has any psychiatric or mental health issues”, he said.
He berated those fuelling the rumour which he said is now being used as political slogans at campaign grounds and even radio stations in Rivers State.
The statement reads in part : ”On May 29, 2015, my service as the Rivers State Commissioner for Health came to an end after 8 years. I was one of the longest serving Commissioners in the Amaechi administration.
“As I was leaving the office of Commissioner I also retired from the Rivers State Ministry of Health as a civil servant. Just a little diversion: Due to policies we initiated in the Ministry, most of my contemporaries were earning more money than I made as Commissioner for Health. I may not have been assigned to any medical facility but I still practiced medicine even while serving as Commissioner for Health.
“While it would have made sense, at least financially, for me to remain as a staff of Ministry of Health, I chose to leave. I left for the main reason that I wanted to take a break from politics. I knew that my continued stay in the RSMOH would open me up to being used as a political fodder for and against Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. In that atmosphere it would have been impossible for me to work as a civil servant.
“However, I have decided to speak now because my name is being used in the social and electronic media for inordinate political purposes.
“Rumours, half-truths, innuendos, silly allegations and outright lies are being elevated to the level of facts. I don’t know how we arrived at this juncture in the politics of Rivers State, where nothing is sacred; everything and everyone can be sacrificed just to score cheap political points.
“The first time I heard this silly rumour was from Gov. Amaechi just before we left office. I saw the allegation as a joke. I was amused and did not take it seriously since we both know the truth. He knows I have never made any diagnosis of mental illness concerning him and I thought my energies were better applied to looking for daily bread for me and my family”, he said.