Friday, June 21, 2013

Rivers PDP Crisis: When Opposition, Ethnic Nationalities, Stakeholders Reassures Amaechi, As Kalabari Monarch Sues For Peace

 Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.


~ By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze  


Few weeks ago, some group of people came out and tried to sell a dummy to Nigerians that they can prove how unpopular Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has become among his people and how in their estimation, unfit he is to continue to pilot the affairs of the crude oil and gas rich State. They came up with lot of plots, falsehood, intimidating strategies and boasted to whoever cares to listen that the days of the Ubima born politician as the Governor of Rivers State are numbered. Some took these threats seriously without reading between the lines and or looking at the whys and wherefores, hence they aligned themselves towards a directed end. Not minding that recent political developments in the State seem unfavourable to Amaechi, what was confusing both to those with Amaechi and those opposing him was that based on the celebrated antecedents of the ruling political party in Nigeria, the PDP of their ability to ‘undo’ whoever that comes her way and considering the amount of plots and scheming against the Government and people of Rivers State; the thought of many is that by now, Rt. Hon. Amaechi who was also re-elected as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) would have joined the league of ex-governors of Nigeria but how he managed to survive the onslaught against him and still stay in office remains a mystery to many watchers of political events in Nigeria. This prompted my latest attempt to unravel what makes this politician tick, loved by his people and the toast of progressive minded politicians all over the world and justice to some pretenders.

King Prof. TJT Princewill, CFR reciving his national award from President Goodluck Jonathan.


The assault against Amaechi in a manner of speaking stemmed from the fear of those supporting President Goodluck Jonathan that Amaechi may not support the candidature of the President come 2015 and the alleged possibility of Amaechi vying for the number one position in the land in the said election year. Based on this calculation, certain steps were adopted to ensure that his (Amaechi’s) wings were clipped, even if it entails suspending him from the party; annulling his election as the duly elected Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, allocating oil wells of Rivers State to neighbouring States as it were and dismantling the State PDP structure. Till now, all these efforts have proved futile not minding contrary to Amaechi’s thinking that calm will return to the State political scene after the NGF election, hell was let loose on him and the State as the outcome of the process was everything but satisfactory to the Presidency.

When the Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Most Rev. Camillus Etokudoh led over a hundred priests and 1,000 Catholic faithful in a prayer session in Government House, Port Harcourt before the NGF election, the Governor had said, “Pray for me for the chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) because that is what this entire (political crisis in the state) is all about. But whether I win or not, I will contest for the Chairmanship of the Forum. I believe in the power of prayers. If you look at my political history, you cannot divorce God and prayers from my political history, if you remember how I became speaker, it was through prayers. Before I became speaker, I was already married to my wife (Dame Judith Amaechi) and she knew how we prayed and fasted together to be speaker. You know the story of the governorship race. What I ask God is that, why should we I go through crisis like this all the time, why are people not honest in life? My political problems stemmed from my truthfulness and inability to tell lies and that people had mistaken that for pride, brashness and arrogance. 

When I’m asked a question, people expect me to tell a lie or bend it a bit, and suddenly it comes out straight. And when it comes out straight, people don’t like it. As a result, my Catholic priest told me that it is only me that will account for my soul before God, not even my wife will help me to account for my soul. So if because of you, I bend it a bit, how will I answer to my God?”

As if he was asking for the impossible, his election as the NGF Chairman with19 to16 votes to beat his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang aggravated his situation. Rather than exhibiting the spirit of a good sportsman by congratulating ones opponents, as it were, the Presidency and his party pitched tent with Jang who despite being drafted into the election in the last minute by the president’s men, lost to the chagrin of his sponsors. In what seem to be a fresh twist in the crisis, his party, the PDP The suspended him after few days of that election for reasons that cannot stand the test of time, although the governor who has a winning streak running in his veins approached the Court to ask the party to stay action on the suspension, while attempts to get the State House of Assembly to impeach him has being futile, following the decision by principal members of the 32-member House to stand by him in thick and thin.

Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State, winner of Vanguard Personality of the Year 2012 award with former head of state of Nigeria General Ibrahim Babangida (rtrd)  and Chairman of the occasion; Mr Sam Amuka, Publisher, Vanguard Newspapers.

To demonstrate the mystery of the survival of Amaechi till date, “Governor-General of The Ijaw Nation” former Bayelsa State Governor Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who has passed the same route before in an interview advised Amaechi to soft pedal, saying “I told him (Amaechi) face to face that it is unwise to fight the president because after God, it is the presidency...”. What Chief Alamieyseigha failed to tell his readers was that Timipre Sylva erstwhile Governor of Bayelsa attempted it and was burnt beyond recognition. That Atiku Abubakar the former Vice President of Nigeria tried it and up till now he is yet to recover from that battle. Former helmsman of Delta Chief James Ibori is currently cooling his ass at a British cell for pursuing that line. Former Governors, Rashidi Ladoja and Ayodele Fayose of Oyo and Ekiti states respectively have all tasted the bitter pill. That is why many people concluded that it is a matter of time for Amaechi to be disgraced out of office, but they are also worried that Amaechi appears unperturbed and unwavering in the midst of all these stating instructively that he was doing what he was doing to deepen democracy and that he has nothing to lose even if his detractors succeed to ridicule him out of office undemocratically. But to Mrs. Evang. Ada Chioma Henrietta Eze the President of Compassionate Ministry an Ebonyi State based Evangelist stated that rather than Amaechi becoming a prey he will be the fall and rise of many politicians in Nigeria, backing her claim with a quotation from the book of Luke Chapter 2:34 “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel”... but in this case, Nigeria she retorted.  


Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso the Executive Governor of Kano State in a recent interview disclosed the intrigues and how Gov Amaechi was re-elected against the thinking and plots of those that are playing god, According to Kwankwaso who claimed to be a Field Marshall in the acts of politicking in Nigeria stated that the election was a forum through which the group of 19 governors who voted for Amaechi, proved to their opponents that they were still at the elementary level of politics. “We decided to re-elect Amaechi because he had shown that he had the capacity to lead the forum and possessed the ability to galvanize their interests, a task which we didn’t believe Jang could do”. He also boasted that if another election were to be conducted today, Amaechi would still win comfortably. “It was a game and we were trying to prove to them that nobody could shave our heads in our absence. That was why we proved to them that they were still at the elementary level of politics. We were not expecting anybody to choose for us. What we did in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was that when we realised that we would not get Shema or Isa (Yuguda) elected, we decided to give them their Chairman. I nominated Jang and asked Suswam to support him. We gave them who should lead the minority group. If another election is held today or tomorrow, Amaechi will get more than 19 votes because all of us who voted for him are much more determined to support him now. Amaechi is a good man and he has our support. The leadership of Amaechi of the forum was beneficial to all of us. I must state that I am ashamed of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio as he needed to learn how to talk”. According to him, given his position as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF), Akpabio’s comments was not befitting of his office, adding, “I think he should better keep quiet. I began to say that if we don’t have democracy in the governors’ forum, I wonder where we will have it. Many of us joined politics before PDP. I was deputy speaker under SDP. We were in politics before many of them joined and the fact must be recognized and appreciated. We are field marshals”.


That there are exceptional cases in every human endeavour seem to apply to Governor Amaechi, as he has dared all attempts and calculations against him with tenacity and courage, even as he appears to be gaining more strength by the day. Not only has he become the most popular Governor in Nigeria, he has become a sort of an enigma in the politics of Nigeria as shown by his disposition to challenge illegality. One may be tempted to agree with the famous Charles de Gaulle who as if he had Amaechi in mind when he stated that, “The true statesman is the one who is willing to take risks”. Anyone who stays with the Rivers State Governor closely may be tempted to give him the name “MR. RISK”. Another definition of a politician is that by David Lloyd George when he stated that, “A politician is a person with whose politics you don't agree; if you agree with him he's a statesman”.

Rivers people tend to have agreed with the quote of David George above as they agreed wholeheartedly with his type of politics as most of them stated that apart from His Majesty King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, the first Military Governor of River State whose achievements are indubitable to date. Diette-Spiff is currently the Amayanabo of Twon Brass in Bayelsa State. After this rare gem, Amaechi is the only one that has shown genuine commitment, seriousness in the development and emancipation of the people of Rivers State since assumption of office as the Governor.

To the famous and great Philosopher, Edmund Burke, "a disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman". Base on this assumption and that Governor has distinguished himself as an achiever in the art of governance in the State, the opposition Political parties, youths, men, women, including nationalists in the State came in droves to demonstrate their love and support to the Governor.

1. First to react within the period of my observation of the trends of events in the Government House within the past week where the government house was turned into a Mecca of a sort to demonstrate that the seat of power was actually that of the people were the people of Ikwere ethnic nationality in Rivers State who during their visit condemned what they described as unwarranted attacks and campaign of calumny against Governor Chibuike Amaechi. They called on President Goodluck Jonathan to direct security operatives to stop what they called underserved embarrassment being meted out to the governor. The call was contained in a statement signed by the President- General of Ogbakor Ikwere, Prof. Augustine Onyeozu, member of the House of Representatives representing Emohua/Ikwere Constituency, Andrew Uchendu, and former Deputy Governor of old Rivers State, Dr. Frank Eke. The summit, which was attended by all the first class chiefs in Ikwere, traditional rulers, executive members of Ogbakor Ikwere Youth Organisation and women groups, among others, was convened following series of claims and counter-claims on Amaechi and his leadership of the state, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan. The statement reads in part: “We are very proud of the impressive performance of Governor Amaechi since his assumption of office in 2007, especially in conspicuous presence of basic infrastructure in all nooks and crannies of the state. “Governor Amaechi has every right as any other Nigerian to freedom of association and liberty as enshrined in the 1999 Constituting (as amended)”

2. Receiving thousands of delegates from Etche ethnic group, who had paid him a solidarity visit at government house, Port Harcourt, the Governor said that the process of selecting who governs the oil rich state would rotate among the different ethnic groups in the State. “Any area that has produced governor before should go and sleep and allow other areas to produce”. He called for the setup of Etche Enlightenment Committee to educate and mobilize the people on the need to exercise their franchise in the next general elections. He insisted that the people’s vote must count since that is one way the Rivers people will elect their leaders independently without external influence in 2015. The Chairman of the Etche traditional rulers’ council, Emmanuel Opurum said Governor Amaechi’s administration is godsend as Etche people has witnessed unprecedented development since the inception of his administration. Opurum stressed that the Etche people will ever remain grateful and will continue to support the Amaechi-led government in Rivers state. Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives Ogbonna Nwuke, representing the Etche/Omuma constituency, in his address commended the governor for defending the territory and property of the state, saying the Governor’s recent victory as in the NGF election clearly shows his popularity and acceptance by the people.

3. While attending the maiden edition of the Rivers State Council on Information, organized by the state Ministry of Information and Communications, with the theme; “Public Information Management as a tool for Good Governance,”; the Governor reiterated that his administration will mobilize the people of the state against his detractors through the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the citizenry. He also called on Nigerians to ensure that their votes count in the 2015 general elections. The governor also urged Nigerians to ensure that the general election is transparent, free and fair. He denied allegations that his administration has abandoned many projects and has also not done any meaningful project since his second term. When you hear of citizens’ rights, nobody will give you your right, you will claim it.Amaechi said his administration has completed more projects in his second. He said, “In our second term, we completed the G. U. Ake Road and by September this year, we will be commission 250 primary schools in 250 communities. Also by September, we will be completing six ultramodern secondary schools. In our first tenure, we completed only one, but just two years into our second tenure, we are completing six. “By September again, we will have a new conference Centre; the Cultural Centre is nearing completion and we also have a brand new School of Nursing coming. “I am happy that by December, we would have moved the students from the old School of Nursing to the new site

4. Addressing youths of Rivers State who paid him a solidarity visit, the Governor asked the youths that “all those from 18 and above should please stand up and they got up. He asked them to sit down, they did and he asked again, ‘all those that have voters’ cards should please stand up’ and a lot of them did and he said, we should punish irresponsible politicians with our cards.

5. While addressing the opposition political parties that visited him, he said that, “So what I expect from all of you whether you belong to APC, CPC, where ever you belong, start now to mobilise the state for one man, one vote. “We will not allow them to intimidate us with police or anything. Instead, we shall intimidate them with our votes.” He explained that any government that cannot attribute its victory to the people’s votes would not be responsible to them. According to him, government at all levels become transparent and accountable only when they fear they can be voted out for poor performance. The opposition political parties in their statement jointly signed by the coalition Chairman, Uchechukwu Ichenwo, and 17 others read; “We frown and resist the on-going subterranean moves to plunge Rivers State into greater crisis through the impeachment proceedings on the Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, by a minority group”.  


6. The courtesy visit of the Kalabari people to Governor Amaechi on the 10th of June at the Government House was somewhat different from the others, as they came with their Amanyanabo (King), Monarchs, Elders, political leaders clad in their traditional insignia. Notable among the Traditional Rulers and Opinion Leaders of the Kalabari extraction in attendance were HRH. Disreal Bobmanuel -Amayanabo of Abonnema, HRH. King Kroma Eleki – Amayanabo of Kula, HRH. A.B. Big Tom Tom- Amayanabo of Abalama, HRH. Chief O. C Harry, Chief Ombo Isokariari, Hon. Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte, Chief Ferdinard Anabraba, Prof. Nimi Briggs, Chief Paworiso Samuel Horsfall, Chief diamond Tobin West, Senator Denton west, Chief Dr. Charles Numbere, Hon. Opakirite Jackreece, Hon. (Mrs) Onimim Jacks, Bishop Nimi Fyneface, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Prof. Owunari Georgewill,Hon,Isobo Jacks, Hon. Paul Awoyesuku, Hon. Ben Orugban, Hon (Mrs.) Vivian Braide, Sir Ngi Martyns Yellow, Chief Dr. Ernest Karibo, Chief Adaye Omiete, Chief Denton Iboroma

Notable politicians that attended the great epoch making event were - Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree – Speaker, RSHA, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry – Former Speaker, RSHA, Member Representing Degema/ Bonny in the house of Reps, Hon. Sokonte Davies, Member representing Akulga/ Asalga in the House of Reps, Hon. Dawari George, The three LGA Chairmen, All members of the RSHA of kalabari extraction,

All commissioners in the state of kalabari extraction and all Special Advisers and Heads of MDA’s of the kalabari extraction. For avoidance of doubt, the Kalabari are Ijaw-speaking people found in three Local Government Areas of Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema with Buguma as its traditional capital in Rivers State and were among the first tribes in Africa to be exposed to the Europeans.

His Majesty, King Prof T.J.T. Princewill, CFR. JP, Amachree XI the great King of the Kalabari Kingdom, who is the first Professor to become King in Rivers State and the first King from Rivers State to be decorated by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Commander of the Order of the Federal republic, CFR and the first Kalabari King to Chair the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers led the great visit to the Governor. The unassuming warrior and a world acknowledged great Lecturer and scientist turned King wasted no time in presenting the mission of his kingdom to the Governor. “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 time. 

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.”, the famous King concluded!

In his response, Gov. Amaechi who seemed puzzled and elated of such an eloquent and wonderful presentation by the Kalabari Kingdom thanked them for the visit and support, saying “I will finish the projects that I have started in the Kalabari area. My administration will complete the Trans-Kalabari road that will get to Bakana.” He promised to build a primary healthcare centre in Bille and construct a model secondary school in Buguma and Akuku-Toru when the people provide the land for the projects. He said his administration would build a world-class referral general hospital in Degema also in the Kalabari kingdom when the people provide the land”.

When this writer commended King Prof T.J.T. Princewill for his brilliant speech and inquired why he wants to intervene on the frosty relationship between President Jonathan and Governor Amaechi, he thundered back thus: “Chief Eze, don’t you know that Jonathan and Amaechi are my sons. Besides I taught both of them as a Lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt. Do you want me to be silent while my two sons are quarreling? This two great sons of mine have done much in my life – Governor Amaechi aside attending one of my birthdays, offered me a special gift by appointing me as the first Kalabari King to head the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers. President Jonathan bestowed on me one of the Nigeria’s prestigious greatest awards, CFR. So, why should I stay and allow his (Jonathan’s) dream for our great country to vanish and allow him to have problem with his own kid brother. If as a father I can’t bring them together that will be a failure on me as their father and Lecturer”. Like a child who has taken his fill, I vanished from his presence while praying that God grant him the grace and wisdom to succeed in this onerous task that in which many have tried and failed.  


 Let us hope that the panel set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to look into the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party will do justice to the task assigned to them; though I doubt the success of such a panel if the characters in the panel are anything to go by. The counsel of the great Walter Lippmann maybe of use to the Presidency in this regard, “The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opposition than from his fervent supporters”.

To Governor Amaechi who have against all odds proved himself a great leader by ensuring that his detractors does not by any way distract him from his focussed vision to provide democracy dividends to his people by while the crisis rages on busy himself with inspection of his people oriented projects even at nights. And as a true statesman you are and in tandem with the stand of James Freeman Clarke that “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation”, I counseled you to march on as the future belongs to you and if you are a good student of the Holy Bible and a believer in the eternal verities (the supreme laws of God), feel good not only to peruse Psalm 34:19, "many are the affiliations of the righteous; but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” This is sanctuary!  

~ Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. E-mail: Tel: 234 08038199163.

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
21 Jun 2013
05:44 Prise en charge des fistules au Nigeria : célébrer la guérison et le retour à la dignité
20 Jun 2013
20:43 Entrepreneurs' Organization Recognizes Members for Outstanding Contributions
17:30 UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia statement on Mogadishu UN attack
17:05 The Prime Minister met with King Abdullah of Jordan in Downing Street.
17:00 Scotland rugby team holds coaching session in Soweto
16:52 Foreign Office Minister for Africa condemns latest terrorist attacks against students in the towns of Maiduguri & Damaturu in northern Nigeria.
15:57 $485 million now needed to save lives and build resilience in South Sudan
15:52 Progress in the migration partnership between Switzerland and Nigeria, also in the area of asylum and returns
19 Jun 2013
18:30 Tony Blair, Howard G. Buffett, And Ritu Sharma To Chair "40 Chances" Panel At World Food Prize
15:57 Saatchi & Saatchi launches 'Loveworks' at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity
15:35 Invitation: Plan/CEDPA and ExxonMobil Foundation host Strategies to Strengthen Women's Role in Developing Countries' Economies panel
15:28 Conflict creating unprecedented threats to children's lives
13:30 Burleson LLP's Elvis Angyiembe to Speak at International Law Institute in Washington, D.C.
13:00 iconectiv Deploys Third African Number Portability Clearinghouse
13:00 iconectiv déploie le troisième centre de redistribution africain pour la portabilité des numéros
09:24 Calling All Lovers: First Ever Worldwide Durex Experiment
01:55 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the signing of Mali Peace Agreement
18 Jun 2013
22:03 African Fashion Star Competition
18:07 McCann Health Hosts Dignitaries from UN Secretary General's Every Woman, Every Child Initiative at 2013 Cannes Lions Festival

  submit to reddit 


No comments: