Archive for July, 2013

Senator Abe, Others Risk Suspension – Rivers PDP

Posted on July 31, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Rivers State Chairman of the PDP Hon Felix Obuah says the Party will no longer tolerate deliberate acts of indiscipline and disrespect to the party by any of her members in the state no matter the office he occupies or the social status of such erring party member.

The Chairman, in a statement issued today by his Special adviser, Media Jerry Needam, said the decision was taken against the backdrop of recurring intentional malicious utterances and actions by certain members of the party who are bent on dragging the good name of the party to the mud and, or creating dissatisfaction between the party and the general public.

According to the party, while the leadership is making frantic efforts to make sure the raging internal political crisis in the state is checkmated and ensure that all aggrieved members are peacefully reconciled, certain members of the party notably, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, Hon Andrew Uchendu, Hon Dakuku Peterside and some others are busy throwing spanners into the wheel of progress through unguarded statements and divisive actions.

The party reminds such members and dissidents of the provisions of Article 9 of the party’s constitution which forbids all members from any act that will portray the party in bad light including publishing or distributing to the media, any material which purports to be the view of any faction or tendency within the party etc.

Hon Obuah warns that failure to refrain from such anti-party activities and, or propaganda detrimental to the party, the party leadership in the state will be left with no other option but to refer such cases to the Disciplinary Committee for appropriate action in line with party rules and regulations.

“We therefore enjoin all our party members to be wary of the temptation to challenge the supremacy of the party, as not heeding this advice certainly carries dire consequences”, he said

To be forewarned is to be forearmed”, the party declared.

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Ngor/Okpala and Understaffed Public Primary School Teachers

Posted on July 31, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Ngor/Okpala and Understaffed Public Primary School Teachers

By Nwaorgu Faustinus

The abysmal inadequacy of public primary school teachers in Ngor okpala local government area should be a source of concern to all who holds the education of their wards close to the heart. A situation whereby a single teacher is charged with the responsibility of handling three classes from Monday to Friday could be best described as tedious, energy sapping and uninspiring.

Truly, the above situation is what most public primary school teachers are going through in Ngor Okpala, particularly in Umuodagu Ntu primary school. This scenario according to sources who wouldn’t want their names mentioned in print most times make it difficult for some teachers to prepare adequate lesion notes that will take care of the multi-classes they have to teach in a day.

As a result of this, some teachers now bring the various classes together to teacher. But the question on the lips of many is: When will this development come to an end? What is the Imo State government doing to bring this ugly trend to its logical end in order to save the educational future of pupils in the public primary school?

I recall quite vividly at the time I attended primary school, each class; say primary one, has a teacher that teaches the class the various subjects that is assigned to him or her on that day. With what is currently happening in some public primary schools in the council area, the one teacher one class that was the hallmark of teaching in early 80’s is now being greatly eroded.

The governor Rochas Okorocha government needs to expedite urgent action on this. This he can start doing by carrying out massive recruitment of qualified teachers through the appropriate body that sees to the recruitment of teachers that will fill in these obvious vacancies of shortage of teachers in public primary schools. If this is done, the great burden and pain teachers go through in preparing their lesion notes, delivering their lesion in the classroom and marking of take-home-work, test and examination answer scripts will be greatly reduced.

Furthermore, in the event of recruitment and deployment of teachers to public primary schools not only in Ngor/Okpala or Umuodagu Ntu but also in all the local government areas that makes up Imo State, concerted effort should be made or geared towards ensuring that those posted in rural areas are monitored to forestall them from effecting their posting back to the capital city (Owerri metropolis).

It is only when this is done will the underhand dealing that characterize the effecting of one’s posting from rural public primary schools back to urban schools will be nipped in  bud.

Nwaorgu Faustinus wrote in via ngorokpalaresearcher@gmail.com

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Peterside Condemns Police torture of Chidi Lloyd

Posted on July 27, 2013. Filed under: news | Tags: |

Peterside Condemns Police torture of Chidi Lloyd

Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and representative, Andoni/Opobo-Nkoro Federal constituency, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, has condemned the torture by police in Rivers State of Hon. Chidi Lloyd who is currently being detained over the fracas that broke out in the Rivers State House of Assembly on July 9.

According to Peterside, more evidence of systematic torture on the leader of Rivers State House of Assembly has emerged. Lloyd who reported to Police Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday 23 July following an earlier invitation by the police has been consistently abused by hitting, battering, pushing, kicking, handcuffing and uttering of obscenities thereby demeaning him all in a bid to coerce and compel him to obtain an involuntary extra-judicial confessional statement.

This torture, sadly is taking place at the Rivers State Police Command where he was transferred to under the strict and personal supervision of the state police commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu. For the records, let us state that section 34(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended prohibits these crude and barbaric conduct of Commissioner of Police of Rivers State as every citizen of this country is entitled to respect for his human dignity and Mbu does not have unbridled power to deprive any citizen of this constitutionally guaranteed right, especially in a democracy.

For Peterside therefore, “this is not only condemnable but regrettable. Rivers State Police Command under Mbu seems not to be bothered by the fact that any evidence that is obtained by force, torture, intimidation or by any form of abuse is not admissible in the court of law, and this is unfortunate”.

The lawmaker wondered why this is happening at this time despite the intervention of the National Assembly. “This inhuman conduct by Rivers State Police command is not only a gross abuse of the fundamental human rights of the accused but further confirms our fears that Mbu is out to eliminate Lloyd who has been subjected to horrific ordeal since his return to Rivers State and other pro-ameachi Lawmakers.”

This ugly development in our country today is antithetical to the Geneva Convention which expressly demands that countries take effective measures to prevent torture within its borders. Other international laws also confirm that torture and other mistreatment of persons in custody are also prohibited in all circumstances under international human rights law.

This, no doubt, is diminishing and a major setback to our nascent democracy.”

However, Peterside commended the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar for the civility and professionalism he exhibited during Lloyd’s short stay at the Police Headquarters in Abuja.

He therefore called on “the police high command to do the needful and stop subjecting the accused to these inhumanities until full investigation into the crisis is concluded. He has neither been convicted of any offence nor condemned to perpetual incarceration in police custody by any court of law.”

 

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A Case for Strong Institutions

Posted on July 26, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

Dakuku Peterside
Hon. Dakuku PetersideAll men of goodwill who look forward to a more progressive and equitable world appreciate the tremendous good Transparency International, TI does with its periodic verdict on nations and institutions across the globe. Sometimes I just wonder what our world would look like without watchdogs like Transparency International that continually reminds us about the way we are.
Recently, TI released the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, GCB and rated political parties and the Nigeria Police as the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. TI’s 2013 GCB is a product of interviews with a total number of 114,000 respondents across 107 countries between September 2012 and March 2013. The Berlin-based organisation said the primary aim of the 2013 GCB report was to explore respondents’ personal experiences of paying bribes for government services on one hand and on the other, to gauge perception of the integrity of major public institutions. There is also TI’s desire towards a better understanding of the willingness and disposition of citizens in countries under review to fight corruption.
From TI’s investigation, Nigeria is among the 88 countries where anti-corruption effort is ineffectual. This verdict is ominous. Yet it has not provided leads or talking points in our media. This important issue was merely reported and left alone. I am sure I did not see follow-ups. So why are we not paying the needed attention to this uncomplimentary report which has the capacity of stalling our investment drive and growth efforts?
If corruption is any abuse of a position of trust, either by an individual or an institution to gain an unfair advantage, then this report by TI is incontrovertible. I know corruption has many layers but this report reminds me again of some of our nation’s recent experiences that are not only irritating but reprehensible and regrettable.
Two institutions that characterise the existence and flourishing of democracy in any country are the party system and the institution of parliament. If one of the institutions, political parties carry the moral burden of being the den of corruption, then it is right to conclude that our democracy is sick. The other institution that shapes the growth of democracy is the police which help primarily in the maintenance of law and order in a purely democratic setting. This institution has been described in the TI report as the bastion of corruption with no ray of hope.
If these two institutions (political parties and the Police) that I consider most critical to the growth and survival of democracy and our country Nigeria has been described in such very uncomplimentary terms by TI GCB report, then where lies our hope?
Have our political parties derailed from its lofty objective of seeking to influence or entirely control government course of action, usually by putting forward candidates with aligned political views? Your guess is as good as mine. But I hate to think like a few of our compatriots who are of the opinion that Nigeria is in reverse gear. Of late, I just noticed that some us are becoming more romantic about our past republics, particularly the Second Republic politics. Despite the shortcomings of that era, it still remains one of the most colourful and vibrant republics, that is if the focus is on political parties.

Many still remember principal characters of that era like Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye, national chairman of National Party of Nigeria, NPN and how he and his colleagues at the commanding height of NPN leadership held sway on every party issue. At the time, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was a member of NPN and president of Nigeria, yet he submitted himself to party rules and regulations. All that changed with the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and as they say, the rest is history.
Today, political parties are extensions of individuals’ or group’s personal estates. There is complete absence of principles, discipline, solidarity, group interest and camaraderie. A party member could be sanctioned at the flimsiest of excuses. While some have been suspended for their perceived popularity, others have suffered similar fates either for fraternizing with members of other parties or for holding a different view. At the bottom of the scramble we see in our parties is the desire to highjack party machinery for personal and selfish gains, and corruption is always the destination.
Yes, abuse of position of trust is corruption and this is prevalent in our parties. Nigeria’s political parties must therefore look inwards and seek ways of ensuring that there is a level playing ground for every member. And to avoid a repeat of such an unflattering report in future like this one from TI, our parties must return to their traditional roles of seeking to influence government through their members with aligned political views. They must also stop forthwith, all forms of witch-hunt and intimidation against vocal members and perceived enemies.
For the Nigeria Police, I am not under any illusions, it is a long walk. TI’s verdict therefore is something that is already known to Nigerian people.
The police force represents everything but the same purpose it is meant to serve. The problem of Nigeria Police is not all about the quality of persons that populate it or the culture but also of funding which is a creation of the Nigerian state. The state that does not fund its police and yet still expects optimal policing is a misnomer or a fallacy.
For instance, for 2013, the budget of the Nigeria Police is N311, 148, 387,311($1.6bn). This budget is meant to police a population of over 160 million with a force strength of 330,000 officers and men. This contrasts sharply with the budget of Austin, a county in the state of Texas with a population of 843,162 people. The Austin Police Department has a budget of $284.4m which is about N45, 504,000,000 with staff strength of 2,300.
Whereas it cost an average of $123,478 to keep a policeman in Austin, Texas, it cost $5,893 to train and maintain a Nigerian policeman within the same period. It cost 21 times the same amount used for an average Nigerian policeman to train and equip a policeman in Austin, Texas. The implication of this comparative poor funding can be seen in training, moral, conduct, equipment and skill of the average Nigerian policeman. Worse still, an ill-equipped policeman in Nigeria is expected to police about 500 persons whereas a policeman in Austin who is well equipped and has access to modern technology will be policing about 366 persons. Thus it will be sheer madness to expect similar level of performance between a local Austin police and his counterpart federal police in Nigeria.
Every day, one is confronted with a plethora of woes of officers and men of the force. I am aware that more often than not, the individual police officer sources his or her kits from boots to uniforms and other accessories. It is also common knowledge that their take-home pay cannot really take them home in the real sense of that word. In barracks and duty posts, issues of low morale, welfare, training, lack of modern equipment and more echo. I acknowledge the fact that some state governments have done well for the police yet it is not anywhere near the ideal or what our expectation is from the force.
Under these circumstances, corruption will naturally grow and fester. Officers and men of the Nigeria Police live among us and are part of us, with needs and aspirations like any of us. They say every society deserves its police, perhaps our police is a reflection of our reality. But we must halt this reality if we hope to build a virile nation where safety of lives and property, law and order is a national priority.
The political crisis in Rivers State today is direct fallout from failure of the police which is predicated on the many challenges facing the force. We are all witnesses to the flagrant disregard and disrespect of Governor Chibuike Amaechi, an elected public officer by Mbu Joseph Mbu, Rivers State Commissioner of Police. Mbu as confirmed by the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives has consistently worked at cross-purposes with the governor, thereby compromising the security situation in the state. This is explainable. Mbu and the police he represents will prefer to serve those who have the power to appoint or remove them instead of the Nigerian people as contemplated by the Nigerian constitution. Nigerians also watched the theatre of absurd that played out in Rivers State when five out 32 members attempted to impeach the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly. Sadly, while the assembly was on fire, the commissioner of police, like Emperor Nero, fiddled. Nigerians also saw how four Northern governors who were on reconciliatory mission to Rivers State were pelted and held hostage by hired thugs at the Port Harcourt Airport under the watchful eyes of the police. And in Rivers State, most people are of the view that the police high command is exacerbating the crisis in the state because of certain interests that must be protected at all costs.
Corruption therefore is at the root of institutional decadence, dereliction of duty, deficit of professionalism and political meddlesomeness that has characterised the Nigeria Police of today as can be seen in the case of Commissioner Mbu in Rivers State, a classic case of a political policeman who does not know his bounds.
As we consolidate our democratic experience, let me say that we must strengthen our institutions. The police for instance, must be structured to serve the interest of Nigerians and not the selfish and narrow desires of a few. It is a sad commentary that our political parties and the police emerged as TI’s most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. This without doubt, calls for deep reflection. Nigerians therefore must work towards building strong institutions; this is the only way to guarantee justice, fairness, equity, peace and the rule of law.
Hon. Dakuku Peterside, member of House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream represents Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency

 

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Press Statement: PDP Wants Gov. Amaechi Statements Investigated

Posted on July 26, 2013. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

The Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the several unguarded statements and threats by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should no longer be taken for granted.

The party was reacting to the uncomplimentary remarks and aspersions cast on the person of President Goodluck Jonathan by Gov Chibuike Amaechi while fielding questions from a BBC correspondent in London.

In the said interview Gov Amaechi described President Jonathan as undemocratic and should change his leadership style or there will be problem in the country.

The party in a statement issued and signed by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media to the State Chairman, Hon Felix Obuah pointed to Gov Amaechi’s unbounded efforts in deriding the President, pointing out that it was in a similar manner that he (Amaechi) ignited the crisis currently ravaging Rivers State.

Jerry Needam also recalled several occasions Gov Amaechi has made inflammatory and inciting statements bordering on revolution,  and urged the security agencies to wake up to their responsibilities by inviting the embattled Governor to throw more light on the kind of problem he envisioned.

This, according to the Special Adviser to the state party leadership, has become imperative in the light of Amaechi’s diplomatic shuttling and collaboration with anti-democratic forces across the country.

“It’s becoming clearer by the day that Gov Amaechi is up to some mischief, which explains the reason why he is defying all wise counsel and proceeding with his acts of insubordination to constituted authorities, inciting and making unguarded utterances. He must be a man on a mission and the earlier he is exposed and stopped the better for the entire nation”.

Could Gov Amaechi stylishly plotting a coup against his fatherland or what?”, Jerry Needam queried.

Signed

Jerry Needam

SA, on Media to

State PDP Chairman

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Before They Chase Us Out Of Rivers

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The raging political crises in Rivers State take different u-turn each passing day. Many have happened and are still to happen if opinion leaders, stakeholders and holders of sundry portfolios do not rise up and send this anarchical approach that some persons have mapped out to unseat a sitting and an elected governor of Rivers State.

This is why the clarion calls by some individuals and groups telling Governor Chibuike Amaechi, who is enmeshed in the crises that no person fights the presidency and survives the fight, is balderdash. That opinion does not hold water, at all.

The persons and groups were, perhaps, looking at the material surpluses that Amaechi was going to lose should the inconsiderate and disadvantageous powers that feel they are fighting him gain their aim and objective at last. What these persons and groups are yet to reason is the spiritual association of the fight that Amaechi is fighting.

After all, a man like Nelson Mandela, who was the first African to be the president of his native country of South-Africa, in the aftermath of a racial apartheid in which some Europeans imposed on South Africa that started from 1948 and ended in 1991, didn’t look at his life he was then to lose, but continued to fight the fight he believed in that would shape the history of his country.

The fight in Rivers State, which Amaechi is fighting, should not been seen as his lone fight, but a fight for a true Rivers State, where there would be ‘less’ imposition of politicians on the people. It is a fight for truth. This is why it was drivel, the clarion calls by some meandering toadies of the presidency, telling Amaechi to go beg Mr. President or resign from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Beg him for what? What is actually the misdemeanor that Amaechi committed against the president? Is it the bloated rumour of vice president ambition comes 2015? The stoical approach that some
waterfronts in Rivers State, which are well-known to be hideouts for criminals and people with questionable characters, must be demolished? What is actually the bone of disputation in fighting Amaechi like a common criminal? What?

What will save us in Rivers State is to eschew political divides or interests, sit back, and ask ourselves, what actually the fight is for. In an interview, which Barrister Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education, granted the Saturday Sun, of July 6, it is imperative to say that the once respected and feared Wike decided to throw caution to the winds and condescended this low to fight Amaechi, because according to him, Amaechi was calling him a ‘small boy’.

So, is he now behaving like a ‘small boy’ he was called? Small boys fight, but elders wage wars. This goes a long way to show that the estimation of a person should not be about his or her public status,
size or age, but how he or she carries and conducts issues. Therefore, the alleged Wike-led fights to oust Gov. Amaechi are baloney and childish.

What have the fights represented? No one gains anything to destabilize his or her homeland for the bouillabaisse of fame. This is unfair. And it is a clarion call that residents of Rivers State should wake up against the anomalies or wait to be engulfed in plots of death as many testimonies have said that there was a plan in London for a protest against the governor.

Who knows when Hezbollah, the dreaded terrorists group, would be imported into the state and we would be calling the move, politics as usual? We must be guided by the tenets of democracy and not by political linings or who was said wanted to be the Gadhafi of Rivers State or who does not pay tributes to ‘small boys’, as Wike wants us to believe of Amaechi.

It was unlawful, the protests against the government in Rivers State, which have degenerated to those who were supposed to be honourable members of the House of Assembly, but decided to play the
dishonourable, when there was no tangible misconduct of office by Amaechi that the traducers and political demagogues could trace to him. All that they keep on tell us is that he was fighting Mr.
President (they christened his elder brother), who they also have said that Amaechi was supposed to be protecting.

This is where education of democracy is misinterpreted and given an erroneous meaning. Since Mr. President is this fervent with democracy, he should have rejected to be governor when his boss, Alams was ousted through a controversial money laundering mess. Mr. President should have said that it was (a fight against his elder brother and the Ijaw nation). He accepted the governor’s stool and mounted on it without a blink, without remembering the issue of ‘elder brother’.

Chasing of shadows is associated with kids, but it is very sad that many adults do just that in the recent times, because of issues only best known to them. Wike was supposed to be assiduously overseeing the education ministry that he was appointed to do the job and teach the younger ones the true meaning of democracy, but here is our ‘learned gentleman’ applying blunt politics. Who even gave him the permission to leave his duty for London, where it was alleged that he was drumming for more and more political wars against the government of our state?

Such a thing cannot happen in transparent democracies. Wike would have been fired, because this single act could have been regarded as a choke in the wheel of progress of his ministry and the future of the country. Regarding the strength and veracity in his fights against Amaechi, Wike’s superior at the Education Ministry must have seen and experienced ‘something’ from him. This is a man who is just Minister of State for Education, not even Minister for Education.

The residents of Rivers State must drop the lukewarm habit and stop saying that ‘it concerns’ Gov. Amaechi, before all of us are dropped dead or chased out of the state. Who are we, the ‘common’ people of Rivers State, if a mace could be allegedly used indiscriminately to crack heads in the House? We should not wait and allow persons from far and near turn Rivers State into complete and downright chaotic state. They are making us complete bamboozled.

The time is now to repress these unwarranted attacks in the state and signal Europe to arrest or call for questioning any individual that has made any un-complimenting comments in that continent, like to stage a protest against the government of Rivers. Joyfully, European security agents cannot be bribed in broad daylight. Where is the Education in the Ministry of Education, which Wike is a minister, if what we are getting from him are turmoil, instead of educational edifices and their components?

We must not buy this Education of wars and brigandage, frustration, victimization against Amaechi, who is perceived to have different ideologies from what they want to introduce to us; we must not allow the re-introduction of thugs in Rivers State.

We must know that when we allow them to injure us, we cannot afford to travel outside the country for treatment like they can easily do with taxpayers money and call themselves dudes, shakers and makers of the politics in our state.

Odimegwu Onwumere wrote from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email:
apoet_25@yahoo.com

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

Posted on July 25, 2013. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: , |

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

Gov Chibuike  Rotimi AmaechiJohn 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”.President-Jonathan 1

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 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.”

nyesom wike 3Sadly 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, Alh Mohammed 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 Post when 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 and comedian 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 through ezemediaconcept08@rocketmail.com

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Rivers crisis: Gov. Amaechi shows rare maturity

Posted on July 13, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

By Dr. L.D Lionel

One thing is certain with certain human beings: They grow in absolute hatred and have nothing to offer to mankind than their perpetual impiety. But this is not of Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, who has been showing rare disposition of maturity since the monster called greed possessed some persons and they want to make the peaceful Rivers State enclave of riotous moments. The crusaders of violence in our state should know that it is bad to grow in one breadth, disproportionately. The theory that rivals of the Rivers State Government want to sell to the public and want them to buy same is pristine. They have been going on rampage against uprightness and want dishonesty to reign supreme. This is childish. And Amaechi is mature in realm. Therefore, it is very essential for the teeming masses in our state to resist these enemies of forwardness, which habit Amaechi frowns at. It was because of Amaechi’s uprightness that they want to make the state ungovernable in order to institute lucre and government of disorderliness. But like the matrix goes: “If God be for us, who can be against us”?

To show that God is in the part of truth, justice and transparency, all the works of the detractors against Amaechi couldn’t succeed, they failed and would continue to fail. Governor Amaechi is for perfect clarity, because he loathes brickbats and has been preventing the masses of our state from being taken over by charlatans who only understand the language of violence. In their total failure, the traducers and traitors of our state attempted on Tuesday (July 9, 2013), to impeach the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, in what is known as their kangaroo method, but failed like a pack of cards. The five dissident-members of the House opposed to Amaechi (for their selfish interest) engaged about thirteen of their colleagues, who are not only supporting Amaechi, but truth, in a fight.

It is obvious that it was ravenousness that has been compelling this dissident-five to be disrupting our state and engage the rest of their colleagues in a fight. The good thing is that they are now regretting for that uncouth action of theirs, because the world has seen that they are the real agents against the progress of our state, which Amaechi has laid the foundation and is making sure that no progressivity-stone is left unturned.

The good residents of Rivers State must in earnest resist these anomalies from the anti-Amaechi groups, whether they are in Rivers State or Abuja or anywhere across the country. They do not mean well for us, our state. This fight for justice is not a fight for Amaechi alone; it is a fight that we all must join hands and say ‘no’ to brigandage, godfatherism, anarchy, nepotism and other norms that are not favourable to the tenets of democracy. Nonetheless, it is palpable to put the story making the rounds clear: the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, was never impeached and cannot be impeached in the future by the conspirators. So, those misleading the public that he was impeached are just irresponsible.

Gov. Amaechi, the lover and believer of democracy, understands the concept of democracy of “the majority is the number”. So, how can Nigerians believe in the dissident-five, whose only stock-in-trade is to hijack our state and make it a lawless place for all? Does the presidency want Nigerians to sit down now that these gangsters are fomenting troubles in our state, whereas Nigerians did not sit down when President Goodluck Jonathan once suffered a similar fate in the hands of ‘cabals’, who did not want him to be president? Why should anybody single out Governor Amaechi to fight? We must speak up, speak out!

Nigerians should stop seeing this fight as a fight that Amaechi wants to win, but as a fight for justice and transparency to prevail. It is not a fight that Amaechi wants to win against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but a fight to win against anti-Constitutionalists. Amaechi is not fighting this battle for any future political aspirations, but against those who do not want individuals to have their political future in the country, unless they dictate. This correlation is out-of-order by assessment. Why should they be fighting Amaechi? Is President Jonathan leading the epitome of this fight? Are the Ijaws against Amaechi? If these are true then somebody or a people are just swimming against the tide, because in history, the Ijaws have been contesting in elections against one another.

For those who think that Amaechi wants to contest the presidency in 2015 against Jonathan should be knowledgeable enough. It is in history that one Enai (Bayelsa Ijaw) contested for the House of Reps and won on the platform of the party that (the now late) Chief Melford Okilo formed. Under this party, Okilo contested for the presidency and the Ijaw people did not all vote for him, he failed. Even President Jonathan who is now seeing politics as a “do or die” affair was deputy to Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha against the party that Okilo, an Ijaw like Jonathan, formed. The dishounorable part of the story is that Okilo and Jonathan are from the same Ogbia District of Bayelsa State. So, when did the Ijaw people begin to impose candidate on the Ijaw nation? The Ijaw person is naturally an independent minded person. It is important to state that although the Bayelsa Ijaw benefited most in the elective positions of the old Rivers State, it was not by intimidation, imposition or coercion. It was by mutual understanding.

How come that some Ijaw people want to make the Niger Delta region a one party region? Chief Dr Pere Ajua (An Ijaw) contested for the position of President of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria under the ANPP twice and failed, the Ijaw people were not forced to vote for him. Alabo Graham Douglas (Ijaw), and Chief A K Horsfall (ijaw), contested to be President of Nigeria and failed, the Ijaw people were not cajoled to vote for their own. Sir Peter Odili (Orashi Niger Delta) aspired for the presidency,and the Niger Delta did not unite for him,even President Jonathan contested against Odili under Yar’Adua. When Yar’Adua won with an Ijaw son as vice, the Ijaw people were quick to identify with him. Supposed President Jonathan was forced by Niger Delta People not to contest as vice President to Yar’Adua because Odili or Pere Ajua was contesting for President, would the Niger Delta people have had a president now? The good people of Ijaw nation know that Democracy is freedom of expression and
that the process should be free and fair. The statements from some sons of Ijaw aimed at intimidating and coercing ijaw people to belong to one party or endorse a candidate is criminal and uncalled for. This crass and undemocratic mentality must not be allowed to find any room in the hearts of the good people of Ijaw nation.

While that digression was to put the record straight, it behooves sensible Nigerians to say point blank that politics of diatribes have to stop. How come that President Jonathan is this ‘strong’ whereas he never challenged the likes of Alamieyeseigha and the late President Yar’Adua when he was their deputy? He was known to be a lukewarm, disposed to immeasurable humbleness, which endeared Nigerians to vote for him. But the story is different today. No wonder they say, absolute power corrupts arbitrarily.

Amaechi is not arrogant, contrary to what propagandists have dished out to the reading public; he is rather stoical. Amaechi, as a person, did not start the fight; like some quarters would say that he did on the proposed sharing formula for the sovereign wealth fund, which they believed was to shame President Jonathan. If truth is still truth, Amaechi was only playing the dictates of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), which he is the chairman. Can the collective opinion of the NGF be attributed to mean his sole voice? This mentality is dangerous.

Using teargas and the security agents against the good people of Rivers State in the attempt that Amaechi must be cowed is undemocratic and condemnable. All the illegalities that the foes of our transparent government want to instate, must be challenged by Nigerians and must be stopped. If some folks, due to greed, do not want Rivers State to work, then the future generation is at risk. We must know this!

It is a pity for all who were injured or sustained injuries in the Tuesday macabre dance at the Rivers State House of Assembly. Really, it is a pity.

Dr. L.D Lionel, on the Board of Pilot Group, wrote from Port Harcourt.
Email: pilotgroupph@gmail.com

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Rivers PDP Calls For Investigation, Arrest And Prosecution Of Hon Chinda’s Assailants

Posted on July 13, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Rivers PDP Calls For Investigation, Arrest And Prosecution
Of Hon Chinda’s Assailants

The Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the only way to prevent a reoccurrence of the act of barbarism exhibited on the floor of the State House of Assembly, Tuesday, July 9, 2013 is to ensure that all those involved and implicated in the attempted murder on Hon Michael Chinda, member representing Obio/Akpor State Constituency II are brought to book.

The State PDP leadership is therefore calling for the immediate investigation of Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s role in the saga, the immediate arrest and prosecution of Chidi Lloyd, Gov Amaechi’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) and his ADC for carrying out the despicable act to impress their paymaster.

Lamenting the degenerating condition of the bullied lawmaker, the State PDP leadership through a statement signed by its Special Adviser on Media, Jerry Needam said not even in the worst democracies of the world can a lawmaker willfully premeditate and position to hack a fellow lawmaker to death as Chidi Lloyd did.

The PDP Media Adviser, Jerry Needam regrets that up to now, neither Governor Amaechi nor Chidi Lloyd and his fellow blood thirsty accomplices have been invited for explanation by the relevant security agencies over the attempted murder.

Jerry Needam noted that perhaps, Chidi Lloyd never realized that parliamentary immunity from prosecution over speeches on the floor of the House does not guarantee a deliberate attempt to kill or cause bodily harm on his colleagues or any other person within the Assembly Complex.

“It’s therefore our position that this attempted murder by Chidi Lloyd and Gov Amaechi’s personal aides must be thoroughly investigated and appropriate sanctions given if the very basic essence of legislative business in a democracy is not to be undermined. This is deplorable, unfashionable, barbaric and outdated and must not be treated with kids gloves”, the PDP insists.

Signed

Jerry Needam
SA, Media to
State Chairman, PDP

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Rivers State House of Assembly burst, as five anti-Amaechi law makers sack Speaker

Posted on July 9, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Rivers State House of Assembly burst, as five anti-Amaechi law makers sack Speaker

The political crisis in Rivers State took a dangerous turn on Tuesday July 2013 in the State House of Assembly as 5 members of the house moved to sack the Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree.

The African Opinion learnt that the process to remove Otelemaba Dan Amachree was spearheaded by Hon. Evans Bipi who was alleged in some quarters to be the backbone of the group opposed to Dan Amachree’s headship of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Reports earlier today revealed that the leadership of the House had changed, with Bipi who represents Ogu/Bolo Constituency being elected Speaker. The report got many preoccupied how Amachree would manage the situation in the House. In the ensuing impeachment process, the already tense situation worsened and thugs pounced on the House while some of the lawmakers engaged in free-for-all, which consequently left a number of them wounded. Reports alleged that “Bipi reportedly led a number of thugs into the House which reconvened at 9.45 am after some weeks break and the hoodlums went straight to attack the Majority Leader, Hon Chidi Lloyd. There are reports that the Majority Leader is already in hospital, also hospitalized are Martins Amaehule and Michael Chinda.

Bipi who took over the position of the Speaker announced the suspension of 15 members of the House.

Meanwhile, after the fracas, Hon Amachree who was purportedly impeached presided over a sitting of the House in which the supplementary budget request sent to the House by Governor Amaechi was approved.

There have been speculations that the Speaker’s impeachment is just a plot within a plot which has Governor Rotimi Amaechi as the main target”.

Following the above scenario, press statements have continued to filter in, congratulating the new leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly. Below is a full test of the statements:

1. PDP Congratulates New Assembly Speaker

The Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated the new Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Evans Babakaya Bipialaka.

The Party said by the unanimous election of the new Speaker, the state lawmakers have once again demonstrated the unity and sense of purpose that characterized the hallowed chamber before the crisis.

The party expressed optimism that the normal House proceedings which had been stalled for months now due to executive interruption will now pick up with the new House leadership.

The PDP also felicitated with other principal officers of the House elected alongside Rt Hon Evans Bipialaka and wish them smooth and successful outing.

The party called for law and order from all PDP faithful and the people of Rivers State, and enjoined all the lawmakers to give their maximum co-operation to the new House leadership.

It could be recalled that due to the suspension of some recalcitrant members of the State legislature and the stalling of House proceedings, the lawmakers reconvened this morning, Tuesday, March 9, 2013 to take far reaching decisions including the impeachment of the former Speaker, Rt. Hon Otelemaba Dan Amachree and his team to bring the legislature back to business.

Signed

Barr Monday Oyenzeowu

State Publicity Secretary

PDP, Rivers State

July 9, 2013

2. Political Groups Laud Rivers Assembly On Resumption of Sitting,

Election of Principal Officers

The Rivers Action Group, (R.A.G) and Rivers Integrity Group, (R.I.G) today, during a joint session, received with commendation the report of resumption of a successful sitting of the Rivers State House of Assembly during which it took statutory decisions and actions that would help propel the development and smooth governance of the State.

The political groups expressed satisfaction with the House resolutions and further actions in impeaching the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree and subsequent suspension of about 25 other members of the Assembly.

The two leading political voices in Rivers State also lauded members of the Assembly, particularly the five Lawmakers for championing the cause of justice that has brought sanity to the Legislative Chamber after months of inactivity.

While congratulating the new Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Evans Bipi, member representing Ogu-Bolo constituency in the State House of Assembly, on his emergence to the hallowed position, the Rivers Action Group and the Rivers Integrity Group also commended the House on taking such lofty feat and urged them to maintain the tempo in the interest of the government and people of the state.

The group also noted with contentment the resolution and action of the House to lift the suspension placed on Obio/Akpor Chairman, Vice Chairman, and 17 councilors earlier suspended by 27 members.

Also congratulated are other Principal Officers of the House, which include the new Deputy Speaker, Hon Martins Amaehule, and House Leader, Hon Kelechi Nwogu who also emerged successful after the election of principal officers by the House Members.

The groups believe that with the election of the new Speaker and inauguration of other principal officers of the House, the people of the various state constituencies can now be sure of proper legislation and check and balances among the three arms of government in the state.

While regretting an avoidable crisis situation created by the weakness and inefficiency of the former leadership of the House under Hon Otelemaba Dan Amachree, leading to compromise and abandonment of legislative responsibilities, the Rivers Action Group and Rivers Integrity Group urge the people of the state to repose their confident in the present leadership under Rt Hon Evans Bipi as Speaker, as it is poised to deliver on promise.

Signed

Comrade Lebari Deedum Deeyor

Chairman, R.A.G

Comrade Nyekazi Worlu

Secretary, R.A.G

Comrade Joseph Peter Chuku

Co-ordinator, R.I.G

Comrade Peter Ololee Mene

Director Media/Publicity, R.I.G

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