Amaechi & the opportunity in crisis
By Odimegwu Onwumere
What is happening in the once self-acclaimed almighty People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is a great lesson to all that there is no condition that is permanent. Whether an individual is suffering or not, there would be a great lesson to be learnt at last. It has shown that there is DANGER & OPPORTUNITY in crisis.
And Governor Chibuike Amaechi stands for the later, while those who were hounding him stand for the former. They only saw the DANGER they orchestrated for Amaechi, oblivious of the OPPORTUNITY inherent. The factional national leadership of the PDP, which Amaechi now enjoys, has figured out that Amaechi is a good manager of crisis. Those hounding him are no longer safe! They brought old idea, Amaechi brought new idea. The old idea has endangered the PDP. Amaechi is no longer in crisis, his political foes are. The ignorant is now panicking. They now price Amaechi, and would overprice him, to calm down. Watch! They've made Amaechi realise his potentials. Now, his adrenaline is flowing.
On Monday, May 27, 2013, the PDP suspended him on frivolous excuses after an emergency meeting of the party’s National Working Committee. They told us that they did so to enable them enforce discipline within the party. But that suspension was coming after Amaechi doggedly defeated a candidate crutched up by President Goodluck Jonathan during an election of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), of which Amaechi went to vie for the office of its chairman for the second time. The PDP suspended Amaechi citing that he violated Articles 58 1 (b), (c), (h) and (m) of the PDP Constitution. The PDP said that he refused to obey the directive of the Rivers State Executive Committee to rescind ‘his’ decision dissolving the elected Executive Council of Obiokpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Prior and after that announcement was made by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, Rivers State was nearly thrown into a state of anarchy by people like the junior Minister of Education, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. It was from one protest of anti and pro-Amaechi supporters to another. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu was reportedly to not have been paying heed to the directives of Amaechi, a matter many opinions suggested that he was taking side. But the commissioner was always swift to rebuff such claims.
Gov. Amaechi faced a lot of humiliation by people believed was enjoying the support of the presidency. Chief Felix Obuah started reigning supreme as the chairman of the party in the state, not minding that the process through which he emerged as the chairman of the party was in court. His foot soldiers were ever ready to scold whoever that addressed him as a factional chairman of the party. Jonathan was unable to get the crises in the state right. Voices were raised in support and against Amaechi; but Amaechi was calm, and told the world that he believed so much in the power of prayers.
The crises nearly bamboozled Rivers State and the residents. Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan did not want to hear the name Amaechi. Ignorance and stupidity nearly took over Rivers State. Egotism became fad and many were beclouded by sentiments against Amaechi, while many were very stoical in his support. His suspension was characterised as mannerless. Nothing we did not read and hear: News was awash that he had pitched tent with another political party. Many suggested that he did not need the PDP to be relevant.
In all, Gov. Amaechi had confidence to the chagrin of his political foes who wondered what was giving him such stoical resilience. When he was not talking, the same people said that he was operating on blind political ambition. Religious, regional, and ethnic sentiments were brought into the rofo-rofo, as his antagonisers did not have the state at heart or the country, but their party and political ambitions. Desperation beamed its light from Jonathan, because of his purported ambition for the 2015 presidential elections.
While the presidency was making news out of the whole trouble, Amaechi was ignoring to join issue with Jonathan’s attack dogs called media aides. There was nothing that these guys did not speak of the crises. But Amechi became influential to the detriment of Jonathan. At least, the governors ignored Jonathan at the NGF election and elected Amaechi. While we read and hear about the PDP’s conspiration against Amaechi, he was very silent. Jonathan was called to caution his wife, who was believed to be the arrowhead in opposing Amaechi.
It was true that the PDP suspended Amaechi and floated a splinter group to NGF called PDP Governors Forum. It was headed by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpbio, who did not hide his political animosity against Amaechi. But the fragmented group died as soon as it was formed, making people to understand the fragile leadership qualities that Akpabio was made off. Although, Amaechi nearly lost his immunity, which those in his position enjoy. His state aircraft was politically impounded and he had to stay at the airport in a state in the South-west for hours with dignitaries in his journey. Totalitarianism nearly pervaded his personality as was being projected by those who were fighting him. A lot happened to Amaechi at the same time.
It was getting messier against Amaechi, but today it is becoming merrier. The merrier side started coming to our glimpse when we one day read such title as “PDP makes U-Turn on Amaechi, to settle out of Court” in the dailies. That was on June 22, 2013; there was indication that the entire problem would soon be resolved. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State supported this opinion of ending the lingering problems in the party. The governor was reported to have said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja at the end of a meeting of the PDP Special National Convention. He also supported viable opposition party or parties, describing such as good for the development of democracy in Nigeria.
Initially, we thought it would be the coming together of opposition political parties to form the All Progressives Congress, APC that would threaten the PDP; we did not know that there was more to that. We did not know that PDP would be its own enemy. It was obvious that some of the governors fingered that were not pleased with the party were present at the convention of June 20. It was on record that the PDP decided to resolve its problem with Amaechi, because of 2015 general elections. PDP did not want to lose any of its governors. Akpabio also confirmed the move to ensuring that Amaechi and the party withdraw their cases from the court. During the July 20 Special National Convention about 4,000 delegates was to attend.
It was hoped that the party took the 2012 convention for granted where there was yes vote for a candidate. The Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s position that he was not aware that Nigerians decided that the chairman of the party would leave, may not have been clairvoyance with the current dictates in the party. Ekweremadu had said that PDP would decide whether their chairman would stay or not. He had described whatever the problem was as entirely an internal issue. He also had said that they were trying to showcase the PDP as a party that was committed to rule of law.
In the 2012 Convention, INEC made an observation that there was a guideline that predetermined that even when there was only candidate for a particular position, there must be voting for the person. As was reported, the party rather took that notion for granted that since it had one candidate for each of the presumed vacant positions; it could as well do a yes vote. The aftermath was that some members went to court to challenge the decision of the convention and electing those other people in pursuant to the voice vote.
Inter alia, while we waited for the peaceful resolution of the crises, by August 27, 2013, the headline of some of the national dailies was “PDP expels Amaechi’s 14 commissioners”, and we frowned at the boast of some of the members of the party that it was committed to peace. The crises in the Rivers PDP deepened. Felix Obuah expelled 14 commissioners and four other top functionaries of the Amaechi-led government of the state.
While that lasted, some of the mentioned suspended persons were in the faction of the party led by Chief Godspower Ake. They sent-away their eviction as a charade. But Obuah, who announced the suspension at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt, had said the action was based on the State Working Committee’s (SWC) assessment of the account and suggestions submitted to party executives by its Performance Evaluation Committee and its Disciplinary Committee.
However, all these seemed to have favoured Gov. Amaechi, with the current split in PDP. The split has sent jitters to the presidency and all the persons who once thought that they were shakers and movers against Amaechi. The split took place during the party’s mini-convention. It has brought peace and unity to Amaechi, to the detriment of all the persons who once thought that they remained elusive against Amaechi. We must know that cohesion in the party has gone spiral. The Rivers State chapter of the Obuah-led PDP was perhaps ashamed, but resolved to comport itself with such statement that its disciplinary committee would investigate the role of Governor Amaechi in the emergence of the faction. Investigate Amaechi for what? He has gone too far.
As many people have shown their support for the new emergence in the national leadership of the party, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Leyii Kwanee had joined the fora in the commendation of the new National Chairman of the party, Chief Kawu Baraje. This new leadership was said took over from the leadership of the party that was humiliating Amaechi, because it wanted to stop the injustice in the party for a sincere PDP.
Being in the new national leadership of the party, Amaechi has further exposed himself that he was not inexperienced politically, even though that he pretended to be. His triumph has shown that there are great lessons to be learnt in the face of tyranny. It has shown that no one should be power drunk, because change is always permanent. Nobody should think that he or she is above the other person, simply because of mere position.