RIVERS CRISIS: DESPERADO POLITICS, IMPUNITY AND THREAT TO NIGERIA’ S DEMOCRACY

By
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

Gov Rotimi W Amaechi.

Gov Rotimi W Amaechi.

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton a Philosopher and the first Baron Acton of Aldenham must have had Rivers State in mind when he stated that, “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities”. Using the above statement, let us see if recent developments in Rivers State show that Nigeria is truly free.
“The state of anarchy, oppression, victimization and anomie is indeed here with us in Rivers State. This is just a dress rehearsal for 2015 general elections. The royal rumble continues with personal ambition superseding the will of the people. The outcome of setting a dry bush on fire can never be predicted”, Peter Negedu observed

“The governor however had a close shave with death when upon sighting him leader of the G5 rebel lawmakers Evans Babakaya Bipialaka, who had been proclaimed Speaker by four of his supporters, pointed at the governor and shouted instructions to the thugs and policemen allegedly brought to the premises by his group, saying: “Shoot him! . . . Shoot him! . . .” – News Express an international renowned Social Media said.
News Express went further to state after the above directive, “Amaechi reportedly walked towards Bipialaka, saying: “Shoot me?” He then ordered his security details to arrest Bipialaka, but the order could not be effected due to stiff resistance by the rebel leader’s orderly assisted by thugs and policemen”.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), while reacting to the shameful incident said that Rivers State was fast drifting into a state of anarchy. It warned that if urgent steps were not taking by government and its security apparatus, the state may return to the dark days of uncontrollable politically motivated gang violence. MOSOP regretted that such a development could cripple both social and economic activities in the state.
Last Thursday, Governor Amaechi, who is also Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF while receiving the Senate Committee investigating the fracas that broke out in the House of Assembly on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th July respectively said ‘We are under Siege’ referring to the state, even as he recalled how the Police alleged fired teargas into government house. According to the governor, “We are under siege here. For two months now, we have not met with security men. Security commanders in the state don’t come to me any longer. They are either scared or they don’t deliberately want to see me. They withdrew soldiers attached to me yesterday (Wednesday 10th and this morning, Thursday 1th July). They withdrew the APC attached to Government House”.
A journalist with ThisDay Newspapers, Mr. Ernest Chinwo aptly captures the situation in these words: “From the hallowed chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly, the brawling occasioned by the power tussle in the state chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) moved Wednesday to the streets of Port Harcourt, the state capital. A day after lawmakers loyal to the state Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, and those opposed to him clashed in the Assembly, injuring some legislators, supporters of the two rival groups took turns to settle their political differences with fisticuffs, leaving an unspecified number of people injured. Wednesday’s clashes between the rival groups roused security agencies to seal off the Assembly complex to prevent a total breakdown of law and order in the state”.
In another development, the Minister of State for Education Chief Nyesom Wike had in an event in Buguma the traditional

POLICE FIRE TEAR GAS INTO THE RIVERS STATE GOVT HOUSE

POLICE FIRE TEAR GAS INTO THE RIVERS STATE GOVT HOUSE

headquarters of Kalabari Kingdom where the Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, hails from urged his supporters to be ready to fight against those he described as outsiders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). According to Wike, “We cannot be intimidated. Do not allow anybody to provoke you. Rivers people have said enough is enough. If they say they want to meet us in the field, they should come to the field and meet us. We are not afraid of anybody. If you (Amaechi’s supporters) like, you should continue to put your own band there, we will continue to do what we are doing. What I can tell you today, Nigerians know that those friends from this state, they have lost control of the state. This is the first time that Rivers people are seeing that the National Assembly will be making laws for them. The National Assembly members (from Rivers state) should withdraw. They should all come back home. “This is not the time anybody will use police to arrest you. If they come for arrest, we will also arrest them back. This is the time for action. Let them know it clearly that we are not afraid of anybody. I have decided to come here (Buguma) to send the message to them. I am not going to be afraid of anybody”.
Dame Patience Jonathan Nigerian First Lady and a daughter of Rivers State in a statement noted that impoverished people, including women and children, always bear the consequences of the kind of impasse in Rivers State., “This office wishes to call on all feuding parties in Rivers State to spare a thought for the social, political and economic costs of the crisis, and consider an urgent way to resolve all political differences. It is our position that the greater consequences of the impasse is, as usual, reserved for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, especially women and children, who are usually innocent bystanders in all these. This derives naturally from the saying that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. On a larger scale, we subscribe to the fact that conflicts and violence are the most lethal threats to peace, which itself is the irreducible minimum condition for development. The situation must therefore not be allowed to degenerate to a level that can be hijacked by miscreants and hoodlums, thus exposing everyone to insecurity from which there may be no easy escape. We therefore call on elders of the state to position themselves appropriately in the circumstances, and continue to seek the highest good of Rivers state and its people, by stone-walling the activities of the few who would rather fan little embers into a consuming inferno. It is therefore incumbent on all people of goodwill to seek to restore peace, brotherliness and love in Rivers State, for the state to press forward in the direction of growth and progress.”
Sadly and maybe in defiance to the plea of the first lady some organized youths on 16th July, 2013 stormed Port Harcourt International Airport to embarrass and held hostage the governors of Jigawa, Kano, Niger and Adamawa that came to pay Governor Amaechi a solidarity visit creating the impression that some people from a section of the country is no longer wanted in the State which may scare away some of the investors that will like to invest in the State thereby crippling the economic fortunes of the State. One may be forced to ask the relevance of this type of politics in a State we have a performing Governor.

Reacting to the attack on the Northern Governors that paid a solidarity visit to Governor Amaechi on 16th July, 2013 by members of the Grass Root Development Initiatives a pro group of Chief Nyesom Wike the Minister of State of Education, the federal lawmaker representing Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal Constituency of Rivers State, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, described the incident as barbaric, sadistic and dangerous the hiring of thugs and ex-militants by desperate Rivers politicians to deliberately embarrass the northern governors who were in Port Harcourt to pay solidarity visit to Amaechi. “When did we degenerate to this Hobbesian and primitive state?” the lawmaker asked. He warned that those fanning the embers of discord must be ready to reap the whirlwind, adding, “They should reflect on the events of the Western Region parliament in Ibadan that eventually led to the end of the First Republic and the disputed Ondo State election in 1983, and decide if this is the path they want to go.” He expressed concern over the indifference of the police in the attack. “I wonder why the police in Rivers State under Commissioner Joseph Mbu chose to play politics with the safety and security of the people of Rivers State and tarnish the image of Rivers people.”_
In her reaction, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said members of GDI had mobilised hoodlums to disrupt the visit. She alleged: “Wike had boasted after the failed impeachment attempt at the Rivers State House of Assembly that he would set Rivers State ablaze and render it ungovernable. This portends grave danger and has far-reaching implications for our fledgling democracy”
On his side, Atiku the former Vice President of Nigeria described the escalating situation in the state as unhelpful, and advised that leaders of whatever hue be given the respect they deserve wherever they go. He reminded politicians to be mindful of “our political history” in all that they do. He said he was still vividly reminded of the chain of political crises that had disrupted democracy in the past.
Meanwhile, in a bit to whittle down the security of Gov Amaechi and maybe exposed him to grave danger, the Inspector General of Police, AlhMohammed Dahiru Abubakar through a press statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank E. Mba has summoned leading Pro-Amaechi and Security Figures that includes Rivers State House of Assembly Majority Leader, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, the Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to the Rivers State Governor, Ag. ASP Debeware-Semeikumo, and the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Governor, Tony Iwelu to report to Force CID, Force Headquarters, Abuja without summoning the Assemblyman Evans

Bipi who ignited the clashes by invading the House of Assembly with thugs in order to impose himself as the Speaker.
In another development, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has raised the alarm over the presence of Policemen not known to either him or officials of the Rivers State Government. Gov. Amaechi in a statement signed by Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Seminatiri alleged that one Inspector Bawa yesterday reported to the Government House claiming to have been posted from the Police Headquarters Abuja to “monitor the Rivers State Governor’s lodge.” The Governor noted that, “we are aware that on issues of personal safety, an official reserves the right to pick the security personnel to whom he or she may entrust their safety. This is more so in the case of a State Governor. We are worried that we can no longer guarantee the safety of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and wish to reiterate our call on all relevant authorities to ensure the safety of Governor Amaechi and the peace and security of everyone in Rivers State.”
REPLAYING THE UGLY PAST:
Records have it that before the incumbent administration came to into power in 2007, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital was turned into a war zone or aptly put a jungle where the fittest determines the fate of the lesser animals. It sounds pretty surprising, but not unexpected that this hitherto ‘garden city’ was at it were, ranked among the three most dangerous cities in the world. The human resources unit of New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos. had equated Port Harcourt with Baghdad, capital of Iraq, Sana in Yemen and Khartoum in Sudan, as the world’s most dangerous cities.
Going by the ranking published by Bloomberg, Port Harcourt ranked with Baghdad as one of the world’s most dangerous cities for foreign workers as criminal gangs and militia groups seeking greater control of energy revenue step up attacks.
Is this where these gladiators want to take Rivers State to, we are watching?
HOW DID THIS MADNESS BEGIN?
The genesis of the present crisis in Rivers State stems from claims that Governor Amaechi may contest the office of the President or Vice President with a candidate from the Northern part of the country come 2015, thereby truncating the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan who is from the same geo-political zone with him (South-South). To these people annihilating Amaechi politically by deploring any undemocratic machinery does not matter if their agenda can be achieved. While this assumption held sway, one day one problem became the order in Rivers State. With her oil-wells reallocated to neighbouring sister states, Rivers is

being denied billions of Naira, some of which would have helped to defray the cost of rehabilitating terrible and impassable Federal Roads in the State like the Aba-PH road where travellers have to spend three hours before entering Port Harcourt a journey of 20minutes. Apart from Ebonyi and few other States, Rivers is denied appointments into federal establishments; the state-owned jet has been grounded, even when facts points that it genuinely belong to the State. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF election where Amaechi defeated his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang with 19 to 16 votes is in a manner of speaking, in the state of invalidation. The Governor has been suspended from a party he has contributed so much in building even against the constitution of the party. Insecurity is all time high in the State, as investors who trooped to the state are now scared, due to the unfriendly atmosphere under the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu.
Mbu’s ignominious move to empower the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers: Chinda, Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Evans Bapakaye Bipi (Ogu/Bolo), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I) and Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) who are loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike to impeach the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, to pave the way for the eventual removal of the Governor (Amaechi) clearly bears this out. That the situation was resisted and the machinations of the five lawmakers failed is a thing of joy. Although, attempts to thwart the plan of the five dissenting voices resulted in the exchange of blows by the lawmakers and their supporters in the hallowed chambers of the Assembly, with both sides sustaining injuries, while the mace, the symbol of legislative authority was broken.
Though President Goodluck Jonathan hosted most of the key actors in this macabre dance in Rivers State few days ago at the State House, Abuja, while his wife and Nigerian’s first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan had spent about eleven days in Port Harcourt, where she allegedly met with the gladiators opposed to governor Amaechi but reacting to the futile attempt by the five lawmakers to impeach the Speaker of the 32-members State Assembly, the President described the Rivers PDP crisis as untoward and regrettable and called on all those involved in the crises to show greater respect for the constitution and the rule of law in a statement by the presidential spokesman, Reuben Abat”i.
Mr. Emeka Reuben Okala a Social Commentator who is based in United Kingdom asked, “If I may ask: What were the crimes of Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, the Speaker that drove a group of just five disgruntled lawmakers to hastily declare him impeached just like that? The last time I checked, before an elected officer is impeached in a democracy, charges are preferred against him or her for whatever alleged offences that they may have committed. A chance is given to them to defend themselves, even in a kangaroo court. I have waited patiently since yesterday as many versions of the story of this very disturbing, macabre incident unfold, but have not yet read anywhere about the offence(s) of the Speaker and the chance he was given to defend himself. Do you just get into the Chamber and pronounce the Speaker impeached just like that? I’m still struggling to understand the meaning of the madness of yesterday (9th July)! To make the whole drama look most idiotic, the ‘so-called’ lawmakers who carried out the ignoble act, were just only five in number out of a total number of 32 thirty-two, a far distance from a quorum. I don’t get it! To add insult to injury, the Governor of the state gave an order to a policeman to get the unruly and dangerous lawmaker [law-breaker] arrested and the policeman disobeyed, even in the very presence of the Commissioner of Police Mr. Mbu. This cannot happen even under a military rule. It happened once in Nigeria immediately after Gen. Aguyi Ironsi was senselessly wasted, and law and order totally broken, with the attendant near war situation. An ordinary foot soldier refused to take an order from Brigadier Ogundipe who was then the highest ranking army officer. The soldier told him (Ogundipe) in the face that he would only take order from his boss! Who was his boss? A far junior officer to Ogundipe.
Is Rivers State at a brink of war? Has Law and Order totally broken down in my State? The policeman who refused to carry out the Governor’s Order couldn’t have had the gut to do so without an instruction from his “boss” in that regard — a boss who should be reporting to Amaechi in the first place, being the Chief Security Officer of the state.
With what happened yesterday, the current Commissioner of Police in the state Mr. Mbu failed in his duty to provide security when it was most needed. Suppose Mr. Bipialaka’s (acclaimed speaker) supporters or thugs had obeyed their commander and shot the Governor; what would have happened could better be imagined than experienced. More so, with the CP present, but doing practically nothing!
For crying out loud, the CP’s duty should be reviewed as a matter of urgency, especially as there is clearly no love lost between him and the Governor, in the interest and safety of the State and its people.
If the account of Ibim Semenitari, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, is authentic, then Mr. Evans Bipialaka should be arrested and investigated for giving instruction to thugs to “Shoot him (the governor)”, and for engaging in and instigating an illegal action that threatened Law and Order in the state”.

Segun Adeniyi, Spokesperson of the late President, Yar’Adua and a columnist with Thisday Newspaper seems to have a clearer piece of this funny and strange happenings in Rivers State in an article he titled, ‘What a National Disgrace’. According to him, “Such is the level of chicanery in our system today that 16 is officially recognised as a bigger number than 19 while a “majority” of five is now enough to impeach a speaker in a House of Assembly where there are 32 members; and as a commentator pointed out during the week, since the Bible says “one shall chase a thousand”, those five lawmakers are more than enough to also impeach the sitting governor! The problem, however, is that a system that encourages these kinds of perfidy is clearly endangered”. The Conference of Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria through Mr. Inuwa Garba its Chairman and the Gombe State Assemble Speaker condemned the purported ousting of Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker Otelemeba Dan Amachree, saying it is unconstitutional and barbaric. “It has come to the notice of the Conference of the Speakers of State Legislators of Nigeria that five Honourable members of Rivers State House of Assembly with the aid of hoodlums allegedly invaded the Honourable House and announced the impeachment of the Speaker of the House, Right Honourable Otelemeba Dan Amachree and purported to have replaced him with Honourable Evans. “The Conference of Speakers do hereby condemns the action of the five Honourable members of that House in totality as it contravenes the Constitution. “Section 92 (2c) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that the Speaker could only be removed by the resolution of the House via the vote of not less than two-thirds majority of the entire members of that House. “In view of that Constitutional provision, five members alone cannot remove a Speaker of the House of Assembly of 32 Honourable members. This therefore, implies that the action of those five members is unconstitutional and null and void.” Garba urged the National Assembly “to declare action of the five honourable members as treason and commence process of taking appropriate constitutional action against them in order to save our democracy”.
NOW, THE QUESTION WE SHOULD BE ASKING IS THAT ARE THOSE ENGINEERING THE MESS IN RIVERS STATE ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN THE FUTURE OF THE POLITICS OF PRESIDENT JONATHAN?
In a previous article on the macabre dance in Rivers State, I have said Governor Amaechi is never the problem of President Jonathan actualizing his future political calculations, but some people who felt otherwise have continued to engineer one crisis or the other creating the impression that they are very interested in the future political feats of the President, while destroying all his democratic legacies and his feats these past few years. Today the institution of the Presidency in Nigeria has been reduced to an indecorous and unseemly status by those who feel that bringing down Amaechi is the solution to winning the 2015 presidential election not knowing that they are working towards bringing down the aspiration of Mr. President and can only said to have succeeded to bring his image and his person to scorn, if the statements by these great Nigerians and Institutions are anything to go by.

First to react to this macabre dance was the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who expressed regret that the failure to punish similar crude attempts in the past such as the Ngige saga in Anambra State in July of 2004 had encouraged impunity among those seeking to impeach elected leaders by means other than that enshrined in the constitution. “It is sad that those who are seeking to subvert our nascent democracy are some of those who never fought for what many laid down their lives for. These persons are advised to take heed to the festering crisis in Egypt following a forced change of leadership in that country,” Atiku said.
Second, in its Editorial of July 12th titled ‘Jonathan’s rivers of shame’ the Nation Newspapers stated thus: “THE theatre of the absurd unfolding in Rivers State should give any patriotic and peace-loving Nigerian a sense of foreboding. With impunity in the air, the constitution in peril and official stamp from the high office of the presidency, the moral legitimacy of this republic is fast sliding downhill. By the week and recently by the day, the conflict between Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and President Goodluck Jonathan, imbues the nation with nausea. Respect for law has swapped places with brigandage, and the average Nigerian watches as the President engages in a bestial war of proxies. The recent development has all the trappings of déjà vu. The first open show of power was the order to strand Governor Amaechi’s aircraft. The presidency failed to cloak it as a matter of technical procedure without political undertone. Findings from investigations have exposed not only the imbecilities of the aviation authorities but also revealed them as couriers of malicious orders. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election has showcased, more than any other evidence, the desperation of the president. After defying the rules of aircraft landing, the necessity for peace, he and his proxy governors defied the purity of arithmetic by making 16 superior to 19 votes. He executed that anomaly purely in bungled bid to remove Governor Amaechi as chairman of the NGF. He also inspired the factionalisation of the group such that his loyalists now formed a parallel forum”.
Third, Lagos State chapter of the PDP described the crisis in Rivers State as “highly embarrassing.” Speaking in an exclusive chat with Daily Independent on Tuesday, Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Taofik Gani, said the action of Rivers lawmakers was unbecoming because it is sending a wrong signal to the outside world about how democracy is being practiced in Nigeria. He added that politicians, as leaders and elder statesmen, must learn to resolve their differences amicably in the interest of the citizens of the state.

Similarly, the Action Congress of Nigeria, Accord Party and the National Coordinator of Northern Politicians, Academician and Professional Businessman [CNAPAPB] Dr. Junaid Muhammed have in their statements called for the immediate impeachment of Mr. President as a recourse to saving our democratic principles from further ignobility.
The Jigawa state chapter of the PDP condemned the political crises and fracas in the River state House of Assembly saying “it is real unfortunate and quick attention is needed to save the situation“.
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka while lending his voice on the matter, blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for the political crisis rocking Rivers State, warning that Nigeria was fast sliding towards monarchism; the system of government where too much power is vested in one person”.
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana said it was regrettable that exactly 10 years after a group of thugs attempted to abduct a sitting governor in Anambra State, another set of thugs attempted to undermine democratic institutions in Rivers State. Falana said the silence of President Jonathan on the unfortunate development in Rivers State was tantamount to an endorsement of the political crisis. “We have been through this route before. We must tell them that we are not a conquered people. The case of Rivers is more absurd, more odious, where five members of the assembly aided by the state invaded the Assembly chambers and chased away their colleagues”.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Governor Muazu Babangida of Niger State, Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Razak Atunwa and a non-governmental organisation, Stop Impunity Nigeria (S.I.N.) all deplored the mayhem in the State House of Assembly.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on their own side has threatened to suspend operations over the crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly.
To the National Labour Congress (NLC) the anti-Amaechi lawmakers are desperados; describing the acts as shameful. “While it is unimaginable and ridiculous in a democracy that five members of the House of Assembly would contemplate impeaching a speaker

who enjoys the support of 26 other members. It is a shameful tactics employed by the combatants in their desperation for power,” Omar added that the disturbing part was the ignoble role of the police in the crisis. “It is not helpful for the Presidency to continuously deny the stoking of crisis in the state. The travails of the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, in recent times and the reaction of stalwarts in government and the ruling party are apparent indicators that the Presidency cannot absolve itself from the crisis in the state. The threat to withdraw security to the Governor, which is guaranteed by the constitution, and the sour relationship between Amaechi and the state Commissioner of Police, whom he has called for redeployment and the request turned down, are clear pointers to the complicity of the Federal Government,” NLC argued.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), said Nigerians considered it embarrassing and appalling, the unfolding scenario that made members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to resort to uncivilised action and barbarism reminiscent of the jungle. “We are alarmed at the preceding events which indicated an attempt by five legislators in a house of 32 members purportedly impeaching the Speaker and replacing him. This act, which is a flagrant disregard of all laid down rules of the House and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not only illegal, unlawful and undemocratic, it is also immoral, retrogressive and a threat to
To Anthony Cardinal Okogie, Archbishop Emeritus of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, “I condemn the crisis in the Rivers State House of Assembly. More importantly, it is very disappointing to see our so-called honourables exchanging blows like gangsters.“Such an act, if not checkmated, is an invitation to terrorism and gangsterism. I call on every right thinking Nigerian to rise and speak against such unruly conduct by men who are supposed to be making laws of our land.
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his reaction stated, “However, we all know the truth but most are afraid to speak. There are no way the police and small number of five lawmakers would act so brazenly, unless they receive instructions from their high places, attempted to impeach the Speaker. Nigerians must ask: Is this way the President Jonathan intends to transform Nigeria? By turning it from an imperfect democracy into a perfect mess? “In some ways, this Rivers episode is not surprising. What happened in the Rivers House is one more reminder. PDP leaders hold democracy in contempt and will trample on it, if given the slightest opportunity. If they invert the relatively small numbers involved in the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Rivers State House, what they might do to general elections involving such a large population as ours is a hard piece of wood to chew.”

My question is, must we continue in these acts of impunity and continue to give the image of Mr. President a negative outlook without Mr. President intervening to stop all these inimical acts geared towards creating unnecessary enemies for him?
But not minding all these provocative acts, Governor Amaechi have demonstrated uncommon leadership making his detractors and those that want him out to look dumb and confused!
INTERVENTION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
Though the Senate has sent its Committee to visit Rivers State and investigate the matter the crisis in the assembly, the House of Representatives have in a resolution said it was taken over the affairs of the Rivers Assembly in a in bid to restore sanity to the State. In a unanimous voice vote, the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, invoked Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and resolved that the National Assembly should take over the functions of the crisis-ridden Assembly.
Also, the House resolved that the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, should as a matter of urgency re-deploy the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mbu.
The senator representing Rivers South-East in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, commended the timely intervention of the House of Representatives in the crisis in Rivers State. He said the unanimous position of members during the debate on Rivers Assembly crisis rekindled their commitment against undemocratic tendencies now creeping into the national polity. He said a situation where democratic institutions were abused and crippled by agencies established to protect democracy portended danger at the tunnel and urged other democratic institutions in the country not to sit and watch Nigeria’s hard earned democracy being wasted on the alter of political interest.
Anthony Cardinal Okogie, Archbishop Emeritus of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos in a statement commended the House of Representatives for declaring legislative emergency in the state stating that such a step was necessary in order to safeguard the integrity of governance in the country

Conclusion:
The fact remains that many Nigerians and institutions have cried out for Governor Amaechi to be left alone but sadly, the more the pleas, the more those who want to continue to disparage the President will continue in acts capable of undermining the image of the present occupant of such exalted office.
Even as I congratulate Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor on his well deserved re-election as CAN President, let me appeal to him to intervene and find a way out of this madness in Rivers State seeing that the two political leaders (Jonathan and Amaechi) have much respect for him and may listen to him as other pleas in this regard seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Also, the General Overseer of Redeemed Church of God, Senior Pastor, Enoch Adeboye need to intervene in this mater, as the present faceoff between the two is already threatening Nigeria’ s democracy, hence these respected men of God should not watch from the sides.
I will conclude this article by quoting Alan Barth (1906–1979) an Author and a journalist specializing in civil liberties and best known for his 30-year stint as an editorial writer at the Washington Postwhen he stated that, “Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent is the indispensable antidote to major delusions”.
While to Woody Allen an American film director, writer, musician, actor andcomedian must have foreseen our present sorrow state when he stated, “We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice”.

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt and could be reached throughezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com

An Address Presented By the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom His Majesty, King Prof T. J. T. Princewill, CFR, JP, Amachree XI On the Occasion of the Courtesy Visit on the Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Right Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON on June 11, 2013

 

King, Prof T. J. T Princewill

King, Prof T. J. T Princewill

Protocol 
On behalf of the chiefs and citizen of the Kalabari Kingdom, I thank
Your Excellency for making out time from your busy schedule to receive
us today.

At certain times in the life of a man, the public expression of the
love, goodwill, admiration and support of friends and relatives may be
highly desirable. For us as Kalabari people, this is a good time to
show our solidarity with our son, brother, friend and Governor,
Chibuike Amaechi. The last time we interacted with you with a full
house of our people, we were all distressed and left in perplexity by
what appeared to be a deliberate or inadvertent balkanization of the
Kalabari Kingdom. We were given the impression that Soku, an ancient
Kalabari Community was no longer in Rivers State. We concede that in
the natural course of growth, it is not impossible that the Kalabari
Kingdom may spread across State boundaries in the Nigerian Federation.
However, the precise location of Kalabari towns and communities across
states ought to be with our knowledge and consent; not by arbitrary
division, the rationale of which is lost on us.

May we use this opportunity to thank Your Excellency for the swiftness
and persistence with which you have committed to this battle to
restore Soku and other Kalabari communities to the Kalabari Kingdom.
It would be apposite, in the same vein, to join other men and women of
goodwill resident in Rivers State to tender our gratitude to you for
the growth and development in the core areas which your administration
is focused on. The investments in health, particularly primary Health
Care; in education, in infrastructure, enhancing the capacity of
teachers, and quality assurance; and in agriculture, especially fish
farming, compel us to say thank you.

It would be an oversight not to thank Your Excellency for sending our
children to study abroad under generous scholarships. Neither would it
appropriate for us to fail to say thank you for our brethren in
various positions of responsibility, especially the Right Honourable
Otelemaba Dan Amachree, the Honourable Speaker of the Rivers State
House of Assembly in whom we are well pleased. He has maintained the
principle of separation of powers while aligning the making of good
laws to a shared vision for development. It is our hope that the
confidence you have reposed in them will take you all to the finishing
line.

May we quickly congratulate you on your re-election as chairman of the
Nigeria Governors Forum, while appealing to your colleagues and indeed
all other Nigerians, including the media to see how all the contending
issues can be resolved amicably in the interest of the nation. For us
as Kalabari people, we can confidently say that despite all odds, you
have provided visionary and purposeful leadership for the state. We
cannot pretend that your administration has delivered on its mandate.
We align with all your pro-people initiatives and express our
unalloyed support to your administration. We will stand with you at
all times.

Our dear governor, we would not like to be associated with the
proverbial ostrich, which allegedly hides its head in sand, rather
than confront and overcome challenges. We have inferred that there is
a political crisis in which Your Excellency is in the eye of the
storm. Your Excellency, we might not know the background or the
dynamics of all these events but we perceive that all is not well
between you and His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, the
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President is your
brother and in-law. Brethren are bound to disagree but as the Holy
Bible informs us, we need not let the sun go down on our anger.

It is against this background that we call for reconciliation of all
the parties to the disputes, whether real or perceived. We are not
merely calling on you and the president to settle your differences; we
are offering ourselves as emissaries and mediators. We do not want
history to judge us harshly, as having stood by when two brothers had
a slight misunderstanding which we allowed to grow into a huge
conflagration.

When you are free from these distractions, we believe that you would
re-double your focus on delivering good governance in Rivers State.
Our expectation is that it would result in measured political,
economic and social empowerment for Rivers people, but especially
Kalabari people.

Finally, the Kalabari people as an ethnic nationality would continue
to work with you. We pledge our loyalty and unflinching support to
Your Excellency’s administration.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long live Rivers State of Nigeria!
Long live Chibuike Amaechi!

Thank you.

AMAECHI @ 48: AUDACITY AND REJECTION OF PDP’ S GREEK BIRTHDAY GIFT

   By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, ezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com, 08038199163

PREAMBLE

Gov Rotimi Amaechi of River State

Gov Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State

Audacity, according to Dictionary.com is defined as one being very bold or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions. A “Greek Gift” on the other hand is a gift given with the intention of tricking and causing harm to the recipient. On May 27, 2013 while Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, was celebrating his 48th birthday with youths and children of Rivers State in Government House, a ‘monstrous’ Greek Birthday gift was parcelled to him all the way from Abuja, the nation’s capital by the National Working Committee, NWC of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a party he and others of like minds, have worked tirelessly to nurture to its present status of a national podium and a party with the largest membership in Africa.

In previous articles, I have said that Amaechi’s tie with the destiny of Rivers State is mysterious and different with that of any other political leader from the State.  He is the only political leader so far who has played a key role in shaping the political future of the State who shares the same birthday with the State. Whilst he was born on 27May 27, 1965, the State was created two years after on May 27, 1967. This, somehow underscores why his commitment towards the emancipation and development of the State is total and unique.

Another unique aspect of this great leader from Rivers State is that he shares the same date with the day that Nigeria celebrates her children’s Day. Inspired by the United Nations Children efforts, the Federal Government of Nigeria decided in 1964 a year to the birthday of Amaechi to set aside the May 27 every year as Nigeria Children’s day. On this special day the whole Nation celebrates the Nigerian Child and the Federal Government declares a public holiday for public schools across the country. The day is usually marked by fanfare such as dances, singing by children in colourful dresses and youth parades considered by many as the highlights of the day.

To all intents and purposes, his massive investment in Education clearly shows his love for a better tomorrow for children, as there is no gainsaying the fact that education is the bedrock of development of any society. Today, his investment in Education in the State stands out in the country. The State and national awards the State has earned in this regard bears this out.

WHY AMAECHI IS AMAECHI!

The family of Amaechi in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State was blessed with the birth of a son who unbeknownst to all would become a force to reckon with in Nigeria’s political even before his 48th Birthday. He was named Chibuike which means “God is all Powerful” and “Rotimi” an abridged version of “Oluwadurotimi”meaning “the Lord stands by me”, while Amaechi means “who knows tomorrow?”. Remember the popular phrase, what is in a name? One does not need to be prophetic to know that all the meanings embedded in his name are playing out in the acts and arts of politics in Amaechi’s life.

Amaechi, as he himself has overtly said in several occasions was not born into opulence. As a child his family experienced real hardship and the young chap admits that he has gone through several challenges that have helped to shape his perception of life. His determination to ensure equal access to education for every Rivers child and bridge the gap between the privileged and underprivileged children in the state is unprecedented. Whenever the occasion demands, he (Amaechi) would not hesitate to point out that though he came from an underprivileged background; his was a modest family that inculcated in him the virtues of honesty, humility and sheer doggedness to succeed.

To give an insight into some of the experiences Governor Amaechi had to go through in order to be educated and which perhaps may very well be the reason behind his passion to provide free education for all children in the state, rich and poor as he says in a recent interview. “I don’t know how many people in my cabinet that could have experienced poverty like I did. I grew up at No.18, Chibu Street, I moved from there to Nnamdi Azikwe. Later, I live with one of my friends in one of the creek villages near Port Harcourt. And I knew that my parents suffered a lot. With tears, they were looking for money to pay for my school fees, buy me uniforms, bags and all that. When I was in the university, I used to tell the girls that none of you looked at my face because I was wearing one shirt, one pair of trousers almost every day with a sandal.’ On Fridays, we would wash it and we wouldn’t move out at all on Saturday to enable it dry; Sam Okah and myself. Then it would dry on Saturday, but on Sunday, we were back to life; wearing the same shirt and the same trousers. How many of those in the cabinet passed through that?” This is the pathetic story of the man that is driven with a passion in his drive for a better Rivers State.

He became Governor of Rivers State in October 2007, after his previous position as Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly from1999 to 2007. He successfully sought re-election and won as River State Governor on April 26, 2011.

An alumnus of the University of Port Harcourt and probably due to what he went thorough growing up; today, he is committed to ensuring that education is received without much burden in terms of finance to parents and guardians, as exemplified in the free education policy of his administration, including the provision of free uniforms, free sandals, free books, free hand bags and free tuition in the primary schools, while in the secondary schools, the government offers free uniform, free bags, free books and free boarding and free sandals. This may well be his own special way of living up to his birthday which coincides with the Children’s Day!

Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has also made massive infrastructural investments around the state, road projects, schools, health centres, rural electrification, ongoing monorail project, rural development, land reclamation, implementation of the Greater Port Harcourt Master Plan and most importantly the sustenance of relative peace and security evident in the continued attraction and influx of foreign investors to the State. Amaechi stands as the only African Leader to have constructed 60 health centres, donated the same to 60 communities in 60, a feat many within and outside the state describe as first of its kind. His astute leadership in striving for financial transparency, accountability and inclusive governance has earned the State a lot of accolades, numerous awards and recognition by international bodies and corporations including the ability to attract a B+/AA Fitch investment rating to the state, boost economic and structural development as well as enhance content development in all sectors of Rivers State.

As Speaker of the State House of Assembly, he was Chairman, conference of speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria (1999 –2000), Governor of Rivers State (2007 – date) and currently Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, a position he recent re-contested and won. He has received the prestigious national award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON.

Amaechi bagged the Sun Newspaper Man of the Year Award in 2007 and the Compass Newspaper Award for Security in 2008. The Governor of the year 2009 Award was presented to Governor Amaechi at the ‘Leadership Award for Excellence – 2009 and was the Vanguard personality of the Year for 2012.

AMAECHI AND HIS ENDLESS TRAVAILS

The issues around the governor’s forum and his desire to seek re-election and the eventual outcome are not new to Nigerians. Speaking manner of fact, Amaechi won the NGF election and the facts are there for all to see. The Rivers State Government plane was grounded in what was obviously a political action. Even after the House of Representatives has indicted both the Ministry of Aviation and its agency, the plane is yet to be released. The Police Commissioner in the State became a law onto himself – he is either threatening or withdrawing police orderlies of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly or that of the Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Government or locking up the Obio-Akpor Local Government Secretariat even against the order of a Court. The two day warning strike called by the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC in the State does not make any meaning to the Police. The duly elected PDP leadership under Chief Godspower Ake was ousted by a High Court in Abuja and the speed in which the Felix Obuh led Executive was inaugurated by the National leadership of the party lives a sour taste in the mouth. Some youths from neighbouring states were mobilised against Governor Amaechi, asking for his resignation for doing nothing not minding all his achievements to improve the lots of the State, while plots to get the Governor impeached by a minority in the State House of Assembly is still being hatched.

One starts to wonder if the Governor is being persecuted for performing as stated by an illustrious son of the State and former Minister of Petroleum Resources Prof. Tam David-West who described the unholy happenings in the State as “orchestrated travails” which is unfortunate in view of the fact that the governor has worked hard enough in restoring the glory of Port-Harcourt, known as the Garden City of Nigeria. To the University Don, Amaechi’s travails is “Nigerian paradox“where excellence is relegated and mediocrity is elevated. “I’m particularly worried about the trend, not only because I am a Rivers State elder, not only because I am a strong supporter of Amaechi without any regret, I am also worried as a Nigerian because what is happening to Amaechi underscores a terrible Nigerian paradox, which I call the paradox of excellence. We support him because those of us who grew up in Port Harcourt as a famous “Garden City” knew how the city changed to a rotten city. And Amaechi, who is also a Port Harcourt boy, returned the city back to its glorious “Garden City” status. Any person that does not realize this is not only blind but terrible.” This great Sage reminded Amaechi’s opponents that he who laughs last, laughs best, stating with emphasis that the governor would laugh last because his first name, Chibuike means “God is strength.”

Commenting on the perceived sins of Governor Amaechi to warrant all these attacks and plots against him; one of his closest allies, former Commissioner of Works and current Chairman of the Petroleum Downstream Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chief Dakuku Peterside in a recent interview said “Some persons also claim that he is too forthright and I don’t know what crime that is called. However, the biggest unsaid problem is the perception by certain persons in the presidency that Governor Amaechi has ambition to aspire to higher office. The attempt to criminalize ambition, if any, is the root cause of the perceived problem in NGF. The second strand is speaking truth to power as can be seen in Governor Amaechi’s comments on sovereign wealth fund, excess crude account, Rivers-Bayelsa oil well issue, fuel subsidy, East-West road, Adamawa PDP amongst others”.

THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS FORUM ELECTION

Not minding all the obstacles put on the path of Governor Amaechi even the leadership of the party was mobilised to tour some States to lure their Governors to ensure that Gov. Amaechi was not re-elected and surprisingly to all Nigerians and even the Chief Godswill Akpabio led Campaign Team, could stop the moving train which Amaechi demonstrated by beating their preferred candidate, Governor David Jang 19 to his 16 votes. In a well-documented and videoed election which was democratically conducted by the Director General of the Forum, with Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan the Governor of Delta State acting as the Returning Officer as reported by the Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi and funny enough Dr Uduaghan came out in public to denounce the election and his role as the Returning Officer not knowing that the free and fair election was filmed.

The election exposed to Nigerians the type of stuff some of our leaders are made of. Nigerians are aware how some of these people went about cooking up any known story to discredit the election and by the type of video showing how the election was televised on AIT all of them hid their faces in shame.

THE GREEK BIRTHDAY GIFT FROM PDP

In a manner that shows that Chief Akpabio and his cohorts were playing out a script, the NWC of the PDP was summoned to an emergency meeting on the birthday of Governor Amaechi, leading to his suspension from the party and an 11 member Disciplinary Committee headed by Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN) was inaugurated to investigate the Governor. According to the party the Rivers State Governor was being suspended for disobeying the party to recall the Obio-Akpor Local Council earlier suspended by the Rivers State House of Assembly on charges of corruption without the opportunity for fair hearing. But it would be recalled that the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and PDP BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih had in their separate visits to the State said Amaechi is one of the great pillars of the party and is doing very well as Governor.

It seems Charles De Montesquieu had the action of PDP NWC on Amaechi in mind when he stated that “there is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice. The party according to PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, that the party acted according to its constitution to suspend a man who did not commit any crime or abused the constitution of the party thereby undermining the motto of the party ‘JUSTICE, UNITY AND PROGRESS’ with the relevant sections of the party particularly Article 7 section C subsection iv which states that they should‘promote self-respect, self-reliance and human dignity’ and section vii ‘promote an egalitarian society founded on freedom, equality and justice’ just because he contested an election and won in assumed democratic culture. It is sad that this development is contrary to vision of the founding fathers of the party – how a governor could be suspended without fair hearing.

GOVERNOR AMAECHI REACTS

Reacting to his suspension, Amaechi said it was political witch-hunt and I intend to agree with him as he was not invited by the National Working Committee of PDP neither was he given fair hearing. It may interest all to note that contrary to what the Governor was accused of, he did not suspend Obio/Akpor Council (executive) not minding that he has the power to dissolve the Council if the need arises as he said. “I can dissolve Obio/Akpor Council (executive). But I have not done that. What the assembly is doing is that they are investigating corruption. But the party said they should not investigate corruption, is it fair? If they are not guilty, then they will re-instate them, but if they are guilty, then we will ask for the dissolution of the council. We have not even gone half, and the party (PDP) says re-instate them. It means that the party likes corruption. Let the assembly resume and commence investigation, let’s see what goes on. Whether there is corruption or not, it is the business of the assembly. I have been a speaker, and I know the powers of a speaker and the legislature. I used it when I was a speaker”.

He urged the youths and people of the State to pray for God’ s intervention, stating that there is nothing wrong as governor and a PDP member for him to ask for his rights, which the PDP is now describing as anti-party. “I will not leave the PDP. I will go to court…. The plane issue is same politics, pure politics. For one year plus, a minister refused to sign import permit. I’m sure you are aware of the House of Representatives Committee report on the plane issue,” he said.

On the NGF election, Amaechi said: “You will see it on the internet when the governors were voting. All the governors were there and you will also see the counting. We (governors) agreed to voting, and all the governors voted, so any governor who said he didn’t vote is lying to the nation because all of us are on oath to govern properly, so we should not lie. Every governor voted, you would see the video. If we leaders of Nigeria today are refusing to accept the results of a properly organised election supervised by the director-general of the governors’ forum, it is bad. And somebody brought a paper that was signed in April. If you check that list, it was signed in April and you brought it on May 24 after the governors have finished voting their chairman into office. That list is not part of our election. There is a rumour that they want to go to court to stop me as NGF chairman. We are ready to meet them in court but they should not go through the back door to get an order”.

NIGERIANS REACT

Worried by the abnormality of his suspension, Nigerians from all work of life cried foul and wonders what such a scenario portends for her democracy.

Speaking on the axe on Amaechi, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and one of the founding fathers of the party who suffered a similar injustice like Amaechi in the past, when the party leadership ensured that he was deregistered from the party and not minding that for many years he was paying the rent of the National Secretariat of the party said, I am particularly disturbed by the worsening polarisation of the party and internal divisions which might weaken the party structures at the state and deepen the crisis between governors and the president”. He lamented the failure of the National Executive Council (NEC) to meet in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution and the inability of the Board of Trustees (BoT) to arrest what he termed ugly development. He warned that if the crisis was not properly managed, the PDP might find itself weaker and politically vulnerable.

According to the National Chairman of the de-registered Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa described “the suspension of Amaechi as a desperate action. I am not talking as an opposition, but as a politician with greater interest in the democratic dispensation of the country. He said that because of the political future of Nigeria, every politician must see the action as a warning signal which must not be handled with sentiments. PDP has a big problem and as a ruling party, they have to show good example, rather than heating up the system all the time”.

In his reaction, the national secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mallam Buba Galadima, said the suspension was a minus for the PDP, adding that the party had now polarised itself.

Galadima said the party stood to lose many of its members, stressing that “it is obvious any member, who is loyal to the governor, will go with him and it will be a big minus to PDP.”

A constitutional lawyer, Mr Fred Agbaje, said the PDP had only shot itself in the foot, as the suspension was bound to bolster the popularity of the embattled governor. “PDP has succeeded in cutting its nose to spite its ugly face. The suspension can never demean the political ruggedness, popularity, astuteness and the ‘iroko-ness’ in Amaechi. PDP leadership is jittery and acting politically demagoguery and a clear case of infantile puerility”

Similarly, renowned constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor Itse Sagay, said the action of the anti-Amaechi governors violated democratic norms, because they were trying to upturn an election that was widely believed to be free and fair.

According to Sagay, “What the anti-Amaechi governors are telling Nigerians is that losers should refuse to accept the loss. (Jonah) Jang lost, (Godswill) Akpabio lost. Whatever mandate he was given, he could not defend it, they lost,” he said.

For a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Sokonte Davies, “It is unfortunate that this is the only time I have heard that somebody is punished for winning”.

According to Hon. Chief Dakuku Peterside a member of the House of Representatives, Governor Amaechi’s Suspension is a bad omen. According to the lawmaker, “this is an inauspicious moment to suspend a popular governor who is not only marking his 48th birthday today but was also a few days ago, re-elected by his colleagues in Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF as Chairman. This news is baffling and a major blow to lovers of democracy because it violates the right of an individual to associate freely, to vote and be voted for in any democratic process. The NGF is not an extension of PDP, thus not governed by the constitution of the PDP. This is also a major impediment to PDP’s future as a party as Governor Amaechi is seen in Nigeria today as one of the most outstanding governors. What would it benefit a political party to suspend its most performing governor,” he asked with awe.

CONCLUSION

Taking it all round, all these reactions condemning the persecutions and embarrassment Amaechi is currently being subjected to and seeing the bad image such an act is creating for our democracy and great party. The way it is now; only President Goodluck Jonathan, the leader of PDP can call off this bluff and attempt to smear his revered status as a true democrat by wearing the statesman toga and call for a truce before this madness goes too far, particularly going by claims by the presidency that he (Jonathan) has no hand in all these macabre dance. Perhaps Mr. President should read a recent issue of ThisDay editorial which partly read, “Ordinarily, this outcome ought to make the governors themselves proud in the sense that those who supported Amaechi and those who were opposed to his re-election freely cast their votes in a secret ballot and produced a result that is clearly a reflection of the wishes of the majority. However, the response of a handful of them led by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio is not only disappointing, but disgraceful.

First, the disgruntled governors participated in the election. Second, they fielded a candidate to counter Amaechi. Third, they witnessed the tallying of the ballot and the announcement of the results. Unfortunately, because the outcome did not favour their candidate, the unhappy governors are playing up the existence of some pieces of paper conveying the intention of some governors, and signed before the election, as a more legitimate indication of their electoral choice at the expense of a ballot they themselves designed and participated in. To worsen matters, these renegade governors have continued with their impunity and dis-ingenuity to hold a meeting affirming Jang as the NGF Chairman in a rear guard plot designed to divide and kill the NGF much like the Biblical story of two women claiming one child. One of them, like the Akpabio-led Governors, wanted the child cut into two if she would not have him. President Jonathan -who has shown promise in upholding free and fair elections – must distance himself and his presidency from these bad losers by first congratulating Amaechi, and then going back to the drawing board to heal the deep divisions within his party and putting his house in order. His supporters may have lost this battle, but the political war ahead is even more important”.

In another editorial by one of the most outstanding online media – Huhuonline.Com titled, “Governors Forum and Presidential Impunity” said, “It has been said that those whom the gods want to destroy; they first of all drive them mad. This time-worn expression best describes the Presidency in their running battle with Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who has been ignominiously suspended from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What began as a disagreement on policies such as the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the location of some oil wells between Bayelsa and Rivers State has now become an ego-tripping battle over who has more powers between Abuja and Port Harcourt. This is unacceptable and must stop forthwith. It is not what Nigerians voted for. As president, Goodluck Jonathan must at all times aspire to statesmanship and be presidential. He has a duty; both in his public conduct and private thinking not to act in a manner as to invite odium to his high office, or allow the public to hold him out as anything other than the President of Nigeria. Preserving order, peace and harmony is the highest objective of statecraft. Available accounts indicate that all the 36 governors, except Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, were in attendance for the election conducted by the NGF Director General, Asishana Bayo Okauru. The election was by open-secret balloting, whereby each governor was handed a ballot on which to write the name of his choice and drop in a box. Amaechi polled 19 votes to Jang’s 16, to win a second term as NGF Chairman. In a bizarre display of political imbecility, the sore losers led by Governor; Akpabio proceeded to create a rival faction with Jang as chairman. This is pig-headed and wrong. To make an already bad situation worse, Amaechi was suspended from the party without good reason. Even with the flagrant display of absurdities assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians, this unfortunate development in the unfolding NGF saga is one bizarre event too many.

Governor Amaechi in his acceptance speech solicited for the support of his brother and leader of PDP, President Goodluck when he stated, “Today our democracy was tested and proven. Democracy is about participation. The aim of democratic governance is for everyone to partake in winning. Today the governors have spoken with one voice reaffirming our faith in democratic governance as the hope of Nigeria’s future. I must thank my colleagues for their tenacity and determination to ensure the unity of the forum, but more importantly of our nation. We remain committed to supporting our leader, the president and commander in chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to realize the development dream of all Nigerians by reducing tension, uncertainty and insecurity in our beloved country. We want to pledge our steadfastness and resolve working alongside Mr. President to better the lives of our people as we render transparent and accountable stewardship”

I will like to conclude this treatise by quoting the great Charles Spurgeon who said, A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble”. Mr President I love you because you are so enlightened and I know you still remember your good old friend, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt  Jr. the 26th President of the United States (1901–1909) who was noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and particularly his quote, If there is not the war, you don’t get the great general; if there is not a great occasion, you don’t get a great statesman; if Lincoln had lived in a time of peace, no one would have known his name”. My beloved President, the ball is now in your court to seize this day and become the true Statesman that God has destined you to be, by righting the wrongs against an innocent man who wants to exercise his democratic right by ignoring the wise counsel of those who truly love you and continue with an act that will bring odium to all your great efforts to be an exemplary democrat.

To Amaechi, I hope you still remember the great Henry Alfred Kissinger the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977 particularly his quote which you have without knowing lived all your life? Listen to what he said about you, “A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone”. My brother, no matter the result, even if it cost you impeachment, which you have said you were not afraid of or disgraced but bear in mind that you have made your point and with God on your side, you will not be humiliated!

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt

PDP considers Amaechi’s expulsion from party

PDP considers Amaechi’s expulsion from party

•Gov denies knowledge of query

•Outrage greets alleged impeachment plot

•Sagay, Agbaje, rights groups flay President

By Donald Ojogo (Abuja), Temidayo Akinsuyi, Tunde Opeseitan, Akinwunmi King, Grace Edema (Lagos) and Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt)

In the wake of the ongoing cold war between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, indications emerged on Wednesday that the leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was already plotting to expel the Governor from the party.

This is coming on the heels of reports that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had already given its support to the recent suspension of the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“The party just decided to keep mute over the issue of suspension of the lawmakers, but it is taken as approved by the national leadership of the party,” a credible NWC source told Daily Independent on Wednesday.

The court-installed Rivers State Executive chapter of the PDP on Monday announced the suspension of 27 lawmakers over the Assembly’s refusal to recall the suspended Obio/Akpor Local Government Chairman, Timothy Nsirim, together with his councilors.

The 27 suspended lawmakers are loyalists of Amaechi, while five others not affected by the suspension are loyalists of Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike.

The suspension order affects the Speaker, Otelemaba Amachree, the Deputy Speaker and the Leader of the Assembly, who are all pro-Amaechi lawmakers.

Chairman of the controversial Rivers State PDP executive, Felix Amaechi-Obuah also gave Governor Amaechi 48 hours to explain the controversy surrounding the state-owned jet that was allegedly registered under a private name in the United States of America.

The plane has been grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

But as the 48-hour deadline expired on Wednesday, the Obuah-led PDP in the state has reportedly been under instructions to suspend Amaechi as a prelude to his eventual expulsion at the national level.

Obuah, according to the source, is expected to forward a report of the suspension order, as well as the query to the Governor on the Bombardier private aircraft to the national leadership of the PDP.

Amaechi has, however, denied knowledge of the query, saying “it was a strange story.”

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, David Iyofor, told Daily Independent that there was no such query before his principal.

“As I am talking to you now, there is no such letter or query as you might want to say. I, like others, including you, just heard of the said query on the pages of newspapers; it was a strange story, we are not aware of any such thing,” Iyofor said.

In spite of this, the source told our correspondent that the Governor would be invited to the national headquarters of the party once the state forwards its report to Abuja for “appropriate action.”

“We are awaiting the submission of the report from the state; under normal circumstances, such steps emanate from the state, but the national headquarters of the party should be notified.

“There are reports that the Governor will not honour our invitation to him but that will be too bad for him because the consequences of such an action are very grave and he knows this,” the source added.

It was further gathered that the leadership of the PDP might hurriedly constitute the party’s Disciplinary Committee in the next two weeks to facilitate the onslaught on Amaechi.

But as the party considers the next line of action against Amaechi, prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta have expressed divergent views on the face-off between him and the President.

Both the founder of defunct Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari, and Niger Delta female activist, Ann Kio-Briggs, claimed that Amaechi was being used by the North against Jonathan.

But renowned constitutional law professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Itse Sagay, disagrees with them.

He believes that Jonathan is an “emerging despot.”

But Dokubo on his part quipped: “I can tell you categorically that Governor Amaechi will lose out at the end of the day. He is being used by the powers that be in the North to rubbish the only opportunity we have in the South-South.

“This is a lifetime opportunity for our people in the Niger Delta region, an opportunity that has eluded our people for over 50 years.

“Has Amaechi won any election before? In 1999, the man used the court to become a member of the state Assembly. In 2007, the same man was imposed on our people by seven Justices of the Supreme Court.”

Ann Kio-Briggs also said: “The tussle is not just about two PDP leaders; I see beyond the issue of PDP in the matter because when a man takes solace in rubbishing his fellow kinsman just because of some selfish politicians from elsewhere, then something is amiss.

“I say this because latest developments concerning the private aircraft are to the effect that there is the need to unravel the true ownership of the aircraft but people are just casting aspersions on the person of the President that he is behind the travails of Amaechi.

“Now, there are reports that the aircraft we thought was owned by the Rivers State Government was registered in the name of a bank and nobody is saying anything concerning this.

“Let me also add that it is disrespectful on the part of Amaechi to continue to show disdain for the person of the President.

“By extension, Amaechi is gradually forcing the issue beyond politics and this is not good for our people because as Governor, he is living in the illusion of equality with the President”.

Sagay, however, disagrees with both activists.

“This is real gravitation towards despotism. What the Presidency is doing, and they cannot deny it, is a breach of the nation’s Constitution and a clear display of dictatorship by the President.

“The Constitution is clear on the nature of relationship among the tiers of government; Amaechi, like the President, is elected by his people, none is superior to the other and as such, there is no question of disrespect.

“We are gradually getting to a dangerous level where Jonathan is almost becoming a Governor-General; democracy is at the brink of collapse because the President is going too far on this matter,” the lawyer said.

Another Lagos lawyer, Fred Agbaje, also faulted the Presidency over the continued war with the Rivers State Governor.

He believes the Presidency was being jittery “because they have not performed creditably well to the admiration of Nigerians.”

Executive Director of Campaign for Democracy (CD), Joe Okei-Odumakin, equally described the ongoing feud between Jonathan and Amaechi as politically dangerous to democratic rule in Nigeria.

Okei-Odumakin, who reacted in a telephone interview with Daily Independent, said anarchy looms in the country because the judiciary has also been used as a political game.

“What we are seeing in the polity portends danger and it is the making of a civilian dictator.”

Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP) and frontline Lagos lawyer, Ebun Adegboruwa, also criticised the posture of Jonathan against Amaechi, saying the action of the President portends grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy.

Adegboruwa, in a telephone interview with Daily Independent, urged the President to “stop playing politics with the Governor and respect his right to aspire to any political office he so wishes.”

“You see, I cannot picture the reason why the NCAA just woke up now to say the plane was not registered in Nigeria.”

On his part, CDRP National Coordinator, Amitolu Shittu, said Jonathan has history of moving against his perceived enemies at the expense of doing the right thing.

Deputy Whip of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rotimi Abiru, on his part accused the President of “playing school-boy politics” with the grounding of the Rivers State Government aircraft.

Abiru, who spoke in a telephone interview on Wednesday, wondered why the President would “descend so low to the extent of giving an order that the aircraft of the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, should be stopped from operating in the country’s airspace.”

Another lawmaker, Mufutau Egberongbe, representing Apapa Constituency 2, expressed disappointment at the President, saying “he should not have gone to the extent of giving an order for the grounding of the Rivers State aircraft.”

But Rivers State chapter of the PDP denied any plot to impeach Amaechi as state Governor.

This is contrary to a statement by Speaker of the state House of Assembly on Tuesday that there was a grand plan by some politicians to use five members of the Assembly to impeach Amaechi.

Reacting to the “rumour” of the purported impeachment on Wednesday, state Chairman of the PDP, Obuah, said there was no such plan among the members of his executive council, or anybody for that matter, adding that his administration was set to unite all aggrieved party members.