2015: THE BIG UNIPORT FOUR (JONATHAN, AMAECHI, WIKE & PRINCEWILL) AND WAY OUT OF THE RIVERS MACABRE DANCE
May 22, 2013
By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British Prime Minister in history to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was also the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States. It is to this great man’s quotes that I want to start this piece with. According to this great leader of all times, “There is no limit to the ingenuity of man if it is properly and vigorously applied under conditions of peace and justice”. In another breath; he stated that, “Battles are won by slaughter and manoeuvre. The greater the general, the more he contributes in manoeuvre, the less he demands in slaughter”. After testing great wars and the results of diplomacy this great Statesman who has both British and American citizenship declared and I quote, “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”.
THE ONGOING MACRBRE DANCE IN RIVERS STATE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
The main aim of this treatise is to critically examine the present macabre dance currently going on in Rivers State and possibly offer suggestions on the ways out of the avoidable imbroglio in the State if adhered to. But before embarking upon this venture, permit me my dear reader to take you a bit back on the State of Rivers State prior to the coming in of the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. According to the Human Resources Unit of New York based Marsh & McLennan Cos report of 2006, “Port Harcourt the capital of Rivers State is the world third most dangerous cities in the world to live in ranked after Baghad, Yemen’s capital of Sana’a and Khartoum in Sudan for foreign workers as criminal gangs and militia groups seeking greater control of energy revenue step up attacks against the State”.
Whenever I have to write on the security situation of Rivers States or whatever that may prompt it again, three great minds’ descriptions of that period will always come to my mind, Mr. Ogbu of Thisday Newspapers, late George Onah of Vanguard Newspapers and of course Prof Okey Ndibe of Sahara Reporters . Ahamefula Ogbu described one of the scenes in the State at this period in these words ‘Rambo could not have done better. With automatic rifles in their hands and hate, revenge and murder hanging around their necks, warring cultists took Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by storm yesterday for the second day running. Pandemonium broke out as residents ran for safety. It was sorrow, tears and blood. At the end of it all—or, more aptly, at the interval, for no one knows the end yet—15 persons had been dispatched to their early graves’.
But if Mr. Ogbu’s description is not okay by you then listen to late Mr. George Onah, “For many residents, the capital of Rivers State, hitherto the Garden City where life was lived to the fullest is no longer the place to live in as rivers of blood flow ceaselessly following an unending siege by militants, kidnappers, cultists, and criminals of other hue. Violence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has gone full circle and the guns are still booming. The casualties are pilling, even as blood of defenseless citizens’ flow endlessly. Neither the Police nor the government has answers to the brigandage. Security outfits do not have official figures, record or reliable estimates of casualties in the Rivers State orgy of killings. Even the number of deaths during the Nigerian Civil War had a consensus of informed opinion on the number of deaths, on both sides, which hovered, realistically around 600,000 and below. But the rapidity of casualties in the onslaught by gunmen on Rivers State cannot simply be pigeonholed. The currency of killings is alarming and the growth of the economy of the state is heading for the deep”.
You may wish to listen to Prof Okey Ndibe incase Onah and Ogbu failed in their descriptions of what Port Harcourt used to be; according to him in his article titled ‘A BLOOD SOAKED CITY’; ‘That the once idyllic Port Harcourt was now a scarred place, a war zone, a city soaked in blood; the city under siege with thousands of citizens displaced; that its once quiescent boulevards and avenues were now ruled by marauding militiamen and by the fierce soldiers deployed to dislodge them. Sudden death by bullet was now a generalized hazard for the city’s trapped and hapless residents’.
RECREATING THE ABOVE UGLY PAST
Reading through the letter by the Speaker Rivers State House of Assembly to Mr. President I start to wonder if we are about to go back to the era of 2007. Rt. Hon. O Amachree in an open letter, titled ;Disruption of Democracy and Rule of Law- Anarchy Looms in River State’, dated 11th May 2013 and addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan reads, “The situation in Rivers State has reached a fever-pitch, as there are strong indications that the governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the legislators, and prominent government officials have been marked for assassination. To this end, 18 prominent robbery and kidnap kingpins presently in custody are to be released from detention to launch the planned mayhem at the government officials and innocent citizens and residents of the state”. According to the Speaker, “ since 15th of April 2013 when an Abuja High Court upturned the election of a legitimate and duly elected state Executive Committee of the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) led by Chief G.U.AKE, all has not been well in Rivers State. It is important to note that since this development, Rivers State is witnessing, with unending shock and awe, the creeping fashion of daylight illegality and disorder. As stakeholders in the Nigeria democratic project and legitimate representatives of our people as well as strong collaborators in your Excellency’s emergence as PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, we seek to use this medium to intimate you with the developments, their implications for Rivers State and Nigeria as a whole and pray your presidential intervention”.
Six days after the letter to Mr. President the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Otelemaba Dan Amachree reported, “Recall that I have earlier expressed my fears about plans to withdraw Security Operatives from the Governor and top officials of the Rivers State Government, including me, making us vulnerable to attack by hoodlums. Now my fears are made worse by the recent murder of an Aide to Chief G. U. Ake, Mr. Eric Ezenekwe, at his Home Town in Erema, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State”.
According to another report from online news site, Saharareporters quoting a source in Abuja that the police and state security services have been told to withdraw the security of the governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi anytime from next week.
Thisday Newspapers in its edition of 15th May, 2013 reported that dynamite was thrown into a building housing the generating set that supplies electricity to the secretariat of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council in Rivers State, a development that ignited the fire which razed the building; sending jitters across the state as the crisis rocking the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepens.
I got more frightened when I read the international dimension to this new effort to reincarnate the evil past. According to the petition by the Centre for Advancement of Justice and Peace in Emerging Democracies (ICJAPED) to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), petitioned the UN to investigate alleged Rivers State security siege. According to their petition signed its Co-ordinator for African Region, Dr. Stephen Briggs and Secretary General, Chike Nwokobia, the group urged the UN to avert anarchy in Rivers State, “For emphasis, the past three weeks has portrayed Rivers State as being in a season of societal lunacy and political deadlock with very embarrassing actions meted on the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Ameachi, members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, political office holders and other officials of government. These actions are considered highly repressive and against the tenets of a true democracy. As a major civil society group, we resolutely and explicitly condemn the repressive actions and characters behind the Rivers state situation as we believe that the present political deadlock in the State is already having devastating effect on many things including business to social order. Also, we strongly believe that unless this deadlock is broken, Rivers State may witness serious breakdown of law and order, with a high probability of being another centre for violent crimes which may be worse than the present Boko Haram terrorist activities in some Northern states of Nigeria. The alleged altercation between President Goodluck Jonathan, the Commander in Chief and elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor Chibuike Ameachi, the Governor of Rivers State began late last year following rumours that Governor Ameachi would be seeking a higher political position. This, even though regarded as mere speculation, did not go down well with Presidency because ever since then, the Rivers state governor, Chibuike Amaechi has no doubt witnessed a series of embarrassing castigations from mostly those loyal or sycophantic to the Presidency. Consequently, to the above stated, we also seek the immediate intervention of the International community to investigate the above stated issues and call to order all erring persons for the preservation of Nigerian people, sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy and restoration of order”.
2015: RIVERS STATE, ITS POLITICS AND ITS STRATEGIC STATUS
The strategic status of Rivers State in the socio-economic, political future of the nation may not be over-emphasised. One may not be surprised of the political intrigues, manoeuvres currently going on in the State in order to capture the soul of the State knowing very well that whoever that takes the State is sure of the Government at the centre.
Let me therefore use this opportunity to highlight the major gladiators and those holding the key to restore sanity in the State
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN GCON
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is of the extraction of the Ijaw Nation in the South-South region of Nigeria and the first Head of State of Nigeria from the region; a Zoologist, a University Don and the first Nigerian Head of State with a Doctorate Degree. He is the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON and presently the President and Commander –In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has the singular honour to be the first Nigerian to be a Deputy Governor, Governor of Bayelsa State, Vice President and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria less than six years, a feat that does not come that easy. The heat in Rivers State is being generated by those that feel that every obstacle to his second bid to the Presidency must be routed out. A quiet and unassuming gentleman but a deadly tactician when pushed to the wall; they are many great politicians that have tasted his bitter pills that can attest to this. His strength leans more on his perceived weakness. Some people erroneously assume that he is vindictive but records of those that have undermined him in the past currently benefitting so much under his administration proves that otherwise. He is not the ambitious type but fate continues to thrust on him higher responsibilities that he never schemed for. If he listens to some of the appeals on the on-going macabre dance in Rivers State, he has the sole key to put an end to the dance if he wants to.
RT. HON. CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI OON
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi an indigene of Ubima in Nkwerre in Rivers State. His rise to his present status is as mysterious and miraculous as that of President Jonathan. A Master’s Degree holder, Amaechi was the first Nigerian to be the Speaker of a State House of Assembly for a whopping eight years and later becoming the Chairman of Conference of Speakers Forum an umbrella body of all Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria. His assumption of office as the Governor of Rivers State, though his political party PDP dumped him after convincingly winning the ticket of the party during the primaries of the party until the Supreme Court restored him as the Governor of Rivers State still seems a mystery to many political watchers in the country. By May 2015 he may have spent eight years as the Governor of Rivers State. He is currently the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and maybe re-elected by the next few days. His unprecedented feats in transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards and respect of great world and Nigerian Leaders. His resolve to re-contest the office of the Chairmanship seat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and his perceived lack of support to the perceived candidature of President Jonathan come 2015 is the main cause of the on-going macabre dance in Rivers State.
He was the rallying force behind mobilising the Governors under PDP to support the presidential aspiration of President Jonathan during the PDP Presidential Primaries that produced Jonathan as the PDP Flag-bearer and during the 2011 presidential election proper ensured that President Jonathan got over 2million votes from Rivers State the highest by another State in Nigeria. A misunderstood but an amiable personality; his forthrightness and boldness to stand by the truth attracts so much enemies to him particularly those who can’t withstand his manner of approach to result oriented feats. His numerous ‘sins’ will be highlighted later.
CHIEF BARR. EZEBUNWO NYESOM WIKE
Chief Nyesom Wike an indigene of Rumuwike in Nkwerre is a lawyer by profession, a political tactician of note and strategist of the first order. He was the National President of All Local Government of Nigeria from 2003 – 2006 (ALGON), the umbrella Forum through which all the 774 Local Government Council Chairmen in Nigeria interface and interact on issues affecting the Politics and policies of Nigeria, while from 1999-2007 he was the Executive Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government in Rivers State, an office he used to redefine and exhibit his special brand of governance. He constructed the Local Government Secretariat that stands as one of the best in Nigeria and a great edifice to behold. His tenure witnessed various developmental initiatives in the local government and he is remembered most especially for empowering a lot of youths, elderly women and men, the physically challenged. An ardent hand at grassroots mobilisation, He is credited together with Gov. Amaechi of founding the formidable political vanguard in Rivers State – the Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) that decides and determines to a large extent the political tide in the state. He later was appointed the Chief of Staff of Governor Amaechi from 2007 to 2011 and from 2011 appointed by President Jonathan as the Minister of Education State of Federal Republic of Nigeria, a post he currently holds. He is touted as the next Mr “Fix It” when the original executor of the office and currently the BOT Chairman of PDP, Chief Tony Aneinh may have retired. It is in that capacity that he was appointed to oversee the PDP Gubernatorial Primaries of Sokoto, Adamawa and Edo States a feat he performed most stupendous to the admiration of those that sent him. Apart from Edo State gubernatorial election which PDP lost to ACN, PDP candidates won in Adamawa and Sokoto States.
Currently, he is at the centre of the macabre dance currently going on in Rivers State as according to him, “I am defending the injustice meted to Bro Felix Obuah the PDP Rivers State Chairman to secure back his office as the Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State, this is in line with how I fought when Gov. Amaechi found himself in similar situation in the past”. Being the Director General of the Campaign Team that executed successfully the second bid venture of Gov. Amaechi to the Rivers State Government, it will be assiduously on his side to come out from this dance unscathed no matter how hard he tries. How far he can go in this his latest move will be determined in future. He has warned the Obuh led Executive and his supporters not to disrespect Amaechi as he remained the governor and leader of the party in the State. “By the constitution of the party, the state governor is the leader of the party in the state, so you must respect the governor and carry him along in everything you do. If not, you are not being fair”. The Hon. Minister recently donated his salary for six months to the foundation of Tompolo.
PRINCE TONYE PRINCEWILL
Prince Tonye Princewill an enigma as the three characters mentioned above which modus operandi politically is a study in mysticism as the more you try to study him the more he develops other confusing strategies. Born a prince of the renowned Amachree dynasty in the Kalabari kingdom of Rivers State and trained as an aristocrat par excellence and bestowed with an uncommon wisdom from God. He stormed the politics of Nigeria like a colossus dispatching political giants like Seregent Awuse to the cleaners and clinching the AC ticket and sent shock waves to the marrows of the PDP giants during the 2007 gubernatorial election. In an unprecedented political manoeuvre, he decided to withdraw his petition at the tribunal and chose instead to join forces with Governor Rotimi Amaechi in a Unity Government based on strategic partnership that has been hailed as a model of constructive opposition in the nation. This move proved that he placed the state’s stability and growth first over his own political ambition. Maligned in various quarters and within the ranks of the AC then, Princewill stood by his decision. His dynamism has also been recognised by the Federal Government with his September 2008 appointment into the 45 man Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta with the mandate to collate and review all past reports on the Niger Delta, starting from the 1958 Willinks Report, appraise their recommendations and make other proposals that will help the Federal Government to achieve sustainable development, peace, human and environmental security in the Niger Delta Region. On 18th April, 2009 he was appointed alongside other illustrious Nigerians, as a member of the Federal Government Vision 2020 Committee, where he was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Niger Delta. A position he resigned from on the 19th May 2009 in protest of the JTF onslaught on Gbaramatu Kingdom in the Niger Delta Region. Popularly known and addressed as the undisputable Prince of Niger Delta Politics based on the above feats. He is being mentioned here not as a party to the on-going macabre dance but maybe a channel in stopping it.
Interestingly these four great sons of Niger Delta on whose shoulder lie either escalating or finding how to restore peace in Rivers State are all alumnus of the great UNIPORT and the Port Harcourt big boys. President Jonathan and Princewill are of the Ijaw extraction while Amaechi and Wike are of the Nkwerre extraction. Jonathan is the eldest of the four while Princewill is the youngest.
AMAECHI, HIS SINS AND THE CAUSES OF HIS CURRENT TRAVAILS
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi knew where his problems are coming from, according to him 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 recently, he stated, “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 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?”
Throwing more light on the perceived sins of Gov Amaechi one of his closest allies, former Commissioner of Works and presently the Chairman of the Petroleum Downstream Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon. Chief Dakuku Peterside recently in an interview stated, “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”.
It has been stated in various write ups that the presidential bid of President Jonathan will suffer a setback should Amaechi emerges as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in their next election. How this is possible is what I don’t understand as the Chairman is just first among equals in the Forum as the Chairman of the Forum cannot influence or force another sitting Governor what can be done in their States. Apportioning unwarranted powers that the Chairman of NGF does not have is creating something else just to overheat the polity.
IS AMAECHI THE MAIN PROBLEM OF PRESIDENT JONATHAN IN 2015? INSTEAD, HERE ARE THE MAIN PROBLEMS!
1. 2015 PDP PRESIDENTIAL TICKET
Though the egg heads within the President’s camp have not come out with the strategy they hope to adopt to clinch the PDP Presidential ticket come 2015 in the midst of formidable forces aligning to confront him including Atiku Abubakar amongst others. 2015 is surely going to be a different ball game than what happened in 2011, so instead of wasting energy the camp will need come 2014 on Amaechi they should be thinking on how to clinch the ticket and leave Amaechi alone. Assuming that clinching the ticket is concluded, let us discuss other serious challenges.
2. THE CHALLENGE OF CONFRONTING THOSE ALLEGING THAT MR PRESIDENT HAD AN AGREEMENT TO RUN FOR ONLY ONE SINGLE TERM
The people concerned may have retreated and may regroup by 2014, what strategy is the President’s camp coming up with to diffuse this when it gathers momentum? Or is attempting to undermine Amaechi sorts out this?
3. POOR HANDLING OF THE RIVERS STATE PROJECT
Sadly, those pursuing the current Rivers State agenda will be thinking that they are doing a great job on behalf of the President not considering the harm they are doing to the realisation of his bid come 2015. Other regions are putting their acts together and we are here dissipating our energy pulling ourselves down making ourselves laughing stock before the outside world! Fighting or trying to malign Amaechi is a great disservice to the aspiration of Jonathan in case he decides to run come 2015 if the key role Amaechi played by his 2011 emergence are anything to go by. Instead of fighting Amaechi serious minded people should be concentrating on how to get him back. The way the strategists in Jonathan’s camp are going they will only succeed in forcing him to align with those that do not want Jonathan by 2015. Should we look down on what Amaechi is capable of doing then the strategists in Jonathan’s camp need some briefing.
4. THE APC CHALLENGE
The threat posed by APC in 2015 is not only real but has the capacity to stop PDP come 2015. Those that need to know about this have already confirmed it including both the BOT Chairman and National Chairman of PDP. What strategy to adopt to curtail this moving force should be of concern to any serious strategist in the camp of Jonathan instead of wasting energy to pull down a force that should be of help in whatever calculation they are advancing! In case those fighting Amaechi do not know what APC portends, then they can read what the PDP BOT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih thinks while addressing some of PDP Chief Wigs recently in Asaba, “We must not live under the illusion that our party is invulnerable. Although, the existing opposition parties are still too small, fragile and sectional, we must not ignore the possibility that a merger of these parties may constitute a threat to our current dominance of the political terrain”. Anenih told his party men, “We must not labour under the illusion that we can be spectators in the bold and necessary drama of national reconstruction, or, worse still, align with those who seek power for its own sake rather than for the good of our people. We, therefore, have a strategic obligation to put our house in order so as to sustain the peace which we have enjoyed in the last 14 years”. Is fighting Amaechi who is a pillar of the party how to put the house in order?
5. THE EAST-WEST FEDERAL ROAD AND THE SECOND NIGER BRIDGE
If these two major projects at the heart of the South-South and South East are not completed before 2015, its potential of posing a serious setback need not be over-emphasized.
6. THE UNWARRANTED EXCHANGE OF WORDS WITH THE NORTHERN LEADERS
Any thinking that threats in whatever form will intimidate any section of this country over 2015 general elections does not know about the politics of Nigeria. Chief Edwin Clarke recognized this fact when he stated that Jonathan cannot be elected by the Ijaws alone. Calling our people that make inflammatory statements to order need be over-emphasized if truly they want the candidature of Jonathan to be sellable come 2015. Hear what Prof Tam David West said in this regard, “The way Jonathan is going, if he does not restrain the people who are speaking for him, he will lose 2015 in 2013”
7. Who are the notable politicians from other regions that still think of Jonathan come 2015. Apart those from South East which other region is speaking seriously about his candidature? Read some of these leaders’ comments and understand that Amaechi should be the least of Jonathan’s worries at this time.
8. THE THREAT FROM THE NORTH
A. “2015: BUHARI WOOS IBB, GUSAU”.
“The desire of northern leaders to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from retaining his seat after the 2015 election has received a boost with the acceptance of a former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, to bury his differences with his then successor in office, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) and form a formidable alliance that will give victory to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) at the next polls”. To achieve reconciliation with Babangida and other northern leaders in his camp, like former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Mohammed Aliyu Gusau, Saturday Sun gathered that Buhari has set up an eight-man high-powered committee “that will not only work on smoothening the relationship between him (Buhari) and a section of the northern elite but also seek their support for his nomination as APC presidential candidate and at the election proper”
B. NEF: THE NORTH WILL NOT PLAY SECOND FIDDLE IN 2015
The NEF argued that though Northerners threw away the presidency a few years ago by some political errors; elders in the region had decided that it was time to return the presidency to the North. According to the organization, “we are not happy that the North is not playing active role in the present day. That is why we decided to bring together our surviving elders. We resolved that something must be done, that the North ought to do more than it is currently doing now in the affairs of the country”. The group also maintained that any discussion that will not bring back power to the North in 2015 is not in the interest of the North and its people.
Instead of the egg heads in Jonathan’s Camp strategizing and strengthening their base, they think by fighting some elements is the best strategy to sell Jonathan to other regions after all these obvious threat!
It is gladdening to note that Senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have resolved to intervene in the rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State “To that effect we have set up committees to engage the dramatis personae in the two states, and those committees will get to work immediately.” The earlier these Committees start to work the better for our country. The South-South, South East Governors have also decide to intervene.
Most pronounced in this regard is that of an ally to the three major players in the on-going confusion in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill who has in several moves stated his resolve to bring peace amongst these three great characters that he shares a lot in common. “I have said it, time and time again that any true Nigerian should be focused on how to help Jonathan and Amaechi succeed. My dilemma now comes when these two people are now at logger heads with each other, what do we do? I have done a lot to bring the two of them together and even though I have not succeeded till this point, I think at some point in spite of any interventions by third parties, two of them will realize that they and they alone need to settle this matter. I know Jonathan’s thinking on the matter and I also know Amaechi’s thinking on the matter and I believe that at the fundamental root of it is a gross misunderstanding between the two. Who supported Jonathan most when he was Vice President? Amaechi! And who gave Amaechi free rope in 2011 when many asked him to clip his wings based on the perceived leanings in Rivers state? Jonathan does not hate Amaechi and Amaechi does not hate Jonathan. In fact secretly if they are honest, they both like each other. Amaechi might have been a product of God but so was Jonathan. To defeat evil, you must be good. When two miracles of God face each other, show us the evil. If in the event you have to become evil to eliminate good, what is the point? In the end the President will realize at a point that Amaechi is really not his problem. Of this I have no doubt, what I am not sure of is how much damage would have been done by then”.
Let us pray and hope that these efforts will bring peace to Rivers State
CONCLUSION AND APPEAL
From the much I gathered in the course of this research most of the aides of both Mr President and that of Gov. Amaechi are all amiable to peace but how to go about this is the challenge. As much as I commend all those who have intervened either through prayers or whatever form I plead with Mr President as the elder to Amaechi and leader of PDP not only to summon but call his younger brother, Amaechi considering all the past positive deeds done by him and get this issue resolved once and for all and avoid the gathering of the storm in Rivers State. If my appeal is not acceptable then the cry of the Rivers State Speaker can be attended to “Your Excellency Sir, the situation in Rivers State has reached a fever-pitch, as there are strong indications that the governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the legislators, and prominent government officials have been marked for assassination, following series of reported nocturnal meetings held in a neighbouring State and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The situation is exacerbated with the planned release from detention of 18 notable robbery and kidnap kingpins currently in custody to carry out this planned mayhem on the government officials and innocent citizens and residents of the state”. Your Excellency Sir, we fear for the survival of our democratic structures; and the freedom to carry out our legitimate legislative duties have been greatly hindered and interrupted. We make bold to say that we now live in uncertain times, lives and properties can no longer be guaranteed in Rivers State as a result of these chronicled events in a state that has just regained its peaceful status from the recent past from beingn the hotbed of cultism and kidnapping. Silence over this planned and calculated destabilization of security apparatus in Rivers State is an “evil wind” that will blow no one any good and is capable of contributing to fostering anarchy on the Nigeria Stateline, especially, when those charged with upholding the law, ignore and conspire to undermine it, unmindful of the implications”.
Your Excellency sir, you may wish to read this quote extracted from the Editorial of the Nation Newspaper titled “PLOT AGAINST AMAECHI” of 17 May, 2013, “The presidency should do everything to prevent bloodbath in Rivers State. Nigeria, in recent times, has had enough shedding of innocent blood emanating from the condemnable acts of the Boko Haram Islamic sect and some notorious cultists, especially in the northern part of the country. The president cannot afford to have another flashpoint now, especially in the aftermath of his declared emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states”.
Your Excellency sir, assuming that the Speaker is not making any sound statement coupled with the Editorial of the Nation Newspaper, what of our own revered Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka plea; “before the irretrievable point of escalation is reached, we have a duty to sound a collective alarm, even without the lessons of past violations of constitutional rights and apportionments of elected representatives of the people, and their consequences. There is an opportunity in Rivers state to break this spiraling culture of executive impunity -manifested in both subtle and crude ways – that is fast becoming the norm in a post-military dispensation that fitfully aspires to be called a democracy. Even a child in this nation knows that the police derive its enabling and operational authority from the dictates of the Centre, so there can be no disguising whose will is being executed wherever democratic norms are flouted and the people’s rights ground to mush under dictatorial heels.”
My Leader, in case Prof Soyinka stand is not in order what of our own elder Prof Tam West and his proverb, “The Nigerian Governors’ Forum, which is a forum of all state governors, does not belong to the Peoples Democratic Party, and should not be under the control of the President. I’ve told Jonathan before, I can reveal it. There is a proverb in Ijaw which says that if you chase a chicken too much, you will fall down and the chicken will go. If all Jonathan is doing is to guarantee 2015, I tell you, Jonathan may lose 2015 by fighting 2013. Amaechi has controlled the state very well. They expected action and reaction from the state which would have led to a crisis and then they would have declared a state of emergency. But if they are not careful, the way they are going, they will plunge this country into a serious crisis. It happened in the West, when (Ladoke) Akintola and (Obafemi) Awolowo were fighting. How did it end?”
Your Excellency Sir, while I was trying to conclude this treatise that if adhered to is capable of making you the greatest democrat that have ever ruled this country Senator Magnus Ngei Abe (Rivers East) and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream alerted me to summarize all that I was trying to convey to you when he started that, “I would like to repeat that what is going on in River State is not in the interest of the South-South, it is not in the interest of the President and definitely not in the interest of Rivers people. I will say that and I will say it anywhere”
I started this piece with quotes from one of the greatest Leaders of the world, Prime Minister Churchill Winston and would have loved to conclude with him with his following quotes, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” and in another breath this greatest war strategist of all times counselled once again “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen”! But no Your Excelency, I will not conclude with the great Winston but the words of He who picked you out of nothing and made you to preside over one of the greatest nations of the world! The Gospel according to Saint Mathew Chapter 5 verse 9, says, “Blessed are the Peace-makers for they shall be called the children of GOD”. Psalm Chapter 62 verse 11 may interest you as well – “GOD hath spoken once; twice I have heard this; that power belongeth unto GOD”!
Sir, before I rest my case and thank you for your precious time, permit me to say kudos and congratulations on your decisive step in declaring the state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States! No matter the rattling of some funny disgruntled elements only God knows what would have been our state by now as a nation if you have not acted accordingly!
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt; [email protected], 08038199163
Article contributed to NewsRescue; Posted on NewsRescue.com May 22, 2013