Rivers PDP’s drama series
By Odimegwu Onwumere
Politicians from Rivers State had started to play the kind of politics that was tending to disunite the state. This unfortunate kind of politics was essentially a matter with the ever voracious People’s Democratic Party (PDP) politicians.
They were playing opposition among themselves with one faction rising against the other, as Nigerians had seen in the judiciary-imposed Felix Obuah-led faction of the PDP in Rivers State which suspended on Monday April 29, 27 members of the state’s House of Assembly elected on the podium of the party, and gave Governor Chibuike Amaechi 48 hours to explain why a jet belonging to the Rivers State Government was purportedly bearing the name of a US bank in its registration credentials.
Obuah gave his reasons for asking Amaechi to explain the aforementioned in order to ascertain the ownership of the aircraft. This part of the series in the state’s PDP shamefaced drama was coming after the lawmakers of the state’s House of Assembly sacked the Chairman of Obio/Akpo Local Government Area and his cabinet.
It was believed that the power tussle was as a political differentiation between President Goodluck Jonathan and Amaechi. The presidency had made its claim clear that Amaechi was playing opposition to Jonathan’s scheme to hunt-for reelection in 2015.
It could be believed that why the faction of Obuah-led PDP in Rivers State said that it suspended the 27 lawmakers was because the lawmakers did not heed to its order on Monday, April 22, 2013, where Obuah issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Rivers State House of Assembly to repeal the order on the termination of Obio/Akpor council. Hence, there was no gainsaying the fact that Rivers State had again become a combat ground in the present political dispensation.
This war partly started because of the political interest between the forces loyal to Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike. The former had interest in G.U Ake who was the embattled Chairman of the party in the state, while Wike had Obuah as his anointed person.
Against the sacked elected Obio/Akpor council members, a seven-member caretaker committee, headed by Dike Chikordi, was instated by the Secretary to Government, George Feyii, on April 23, aftermath the viewing of the committee members by the House.
Originally, the war started after Amaechi and the President’s foot soldiers had banter over a comment on the East-West road contract which had suffered serious different setbacks. The president’s men started to hound Amaechi as the chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF); for-this-reason, the formation of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDPGF) led by the Akwa Ibom state governor Godswill Akpabio.
Just on Friday April 26, the war lengthened to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency stranding the Bombardier – BD700 Global Express aircraft of Amaechi in Akure, Ondo, in what it described as the pilot’s alleged failure to make-available the manifest of the plane, when Amaechi was on a mission for the burial of the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Funmilayo Olayinka.
There were more to the story that the presidency was fighting Amaechi. Information had it that why Wike especially was fighting Amaechi was because Amaechi had been so straight to talk of how the power shift in the state in 2015 should be.
As Ikwerre, Amaechi had said that the governorship should shift from his constituency to another constituency in the state, a fact which Wike felt affronted, that Amaechi said that in order not to allow him who was also Ikwerre, to notch in the guber race.
While the Rivers masses were looking up to the 2015 gubernatorial elections in the state to know who would win, Wike believed that there was no need waiting till then; he was of the belief that the fight should start in 2013 between Amaechi and him, to find out who the winner was; as-a-result, Wike became the opposition to the Amaechi-led PDP in the state. Was this why unconfirmed stories said that Amaechi had shot himself on the foot? Rubbish!
The irony was that Wike who was supposed to be suspended from the party for his new found love for political fascism, held sway. This was because of the grace he enjoyed from the presidency. And if anybody was saying that Wike preferred the job of the Chief of Staff to the ministerial one, the question should be if anybody forced him to be made minister.
It was perceptibly that Wike was fighting for two things at a time: Senatorial and Governorship ambitions come 2015. The suspension of the elected Obio/Akpor council (though not beyond a reasonable reason of seemingly being guilty of maladministration), Wike saw the action as an indication from the Amaechi’s campsite that the combat line had been made visible.
Politically speaking, everything about PDP in Rivers State had gone sour. Observing this, Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka presaged on April 29 that the problem with the party in the state should not brew into anarchy. (The greed play christened power play in the state was a charade).
Wike was opposing a sitting governor of his state because he had the blessing of the presidency? But he forgot that it was only a fool that would destroy what he or she built. At least, Wike was supposed to consider the role he played in 2007 and the court made Amaechi governor.
If this type of outrage could be happening in a democracy and the presidency was fingered as the architect, then without mincing a word, Jonathan’s presidency was hyper-dictatorial.
It was expected that Jonathan would rebrand his government’s soured image with best of the tidings expected of Nigerians, and not to meddle in a crass political tussle as this.
While Amaechi was expected to prove the issue with the aircraft, the presidency was not supposed to compromise with the decision of Wike to control the PDP structure in Rivers State. Although, Amaechi and his camp were unrestricted to pursue their case at the appellate level, but the fear was that the presidency was it that controlled that court.
The Rivers PDP members in Abuja who were fighting Amaechi should had first advised Jonathan to redress his government which the international community had seen as a corruption compromiser, after Jonathan granted some perceived corrupt politicians amnesty or was it pardon.
Amaechi had international reputation than Jonathan, no matter any contrary view. It was recognizably that Jonathan’s international correlation was not anymore beyond Africa. Wike and Obuah were supposed to spare the masses this drama it was playing with the federal might. They forgot that Nigerians were of the opinion that with the authoritarian compass that Jonathan had found, he would not be president again in Nigeria.
Conversely, the Rivers PDP’s crisis which was caused by greed had also ridiculed the judiciary, apart from showing how scoundrel and meddlesome Jonathan could be in political matters that were perceived not to be totally in his favour.