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Friday, 26 July 2013


Rivers crisis & Mr. President’s obligation
By Ibinabo Jack

It is not known for real men to deny hard truth. No matter what, they
face it. This is the quintessence of man’s moral obligation of
existence on earth. But the continuous refutation of the presidency of
its contribution in the man-made crises that have been rocking Rivers
State, betrays this spirit of truth expected of every person, let
alone, of the status of the president.

It is evident that there are a lot of comments endorsed to President
Goodluck Jonathan through his aides and his strong wife in the
political imbroglio in Rivers State. It could be recalled that on
Thursday, 04 July 2013, a group of called "leaders and elders of the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State” visited Jonathan at
the State House, Abuja, on a camaraderie visit. There were statements
that Mr. President made, which in some quarters, comments were that he
was directing the avowals to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State

The acting deputy national chairman of the party, Chibudom Nwuche;
factional state chairman, Chief Felix Obuah; former governor of Rivers
State, Dr Peter Odili; Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban
Development, Ms Ama Pepple; former deputy speaker of the House of
Representatives, Honourable Austin Opara; factional state secretary of
the PDP, Walter Opuene; Abiye Sekibo, Fred Kpakol, Evans Bipi and
amongst others, were among the delegation. You wonder what these
persons paid a commonality visit to Jonathan for. To rally against
Amaechi, of course.

While receiving the delegation, Mr. President warned that indiscipline
would no longer be tolerated in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The delegation insisted that Amaechi can leave the party. They told
Jonathan this. And he did not caution them. PDP had suspended Amaechi,
with conditions given to him, which no member of the party can meet.
Mr. President, as the national leader of the party, didn’t speak
against that movement.

Odili, speaking at the meeting, reportedly said that there is no human
problem without a human solution; what is important is for ‘them’ to
recognise that at any point in time, respect for authority, respect
for the rule of law, discipline will be the guiding principles that
will make human beings run whatever system of society they are running
in an orderly fashion. He added that his assurance to Jonathan on
behalf of the ‘new’ leadership of the party in the Rivers State, is
that Jonathan will see an end to these ‘open exchanges’ that put the
Rivers State PDP in bad light.

Mr. President assured them that he has listened to the introductions
and being a Rivers person, he knows key political actors in Rivers
State, the who’s who in Rivers State. And they are the ones that paid
him the visit. He thanked them for what he described as, “building
this political structure for the state, for the interest of Rivers
State and to position Rivers State in the politics of the country”.
That was the expression of delight by Jonathan, for the visit these
persons paid him in what many observers have ascribed as, against
Amaechi, knowing full well that the legitimacy of the factional
Obuah-led executive was being challenged in court.

There was also a statement that was credited to the Chairman of Police
Service Commission (PSC), former Inspector General of Police, Mike
Okiro, in the saga. Okiro had said that his Commission was only
interested in the role of the police in the fracas at the Rivers State
House of Assembly. He refused to see from his preconceived-notion
spectacle. Was he not interested in how Mbu Joseph Mbu keenly allowed
ruffians take over the state Assembly and chase away 27 legislators,
leaving the unabashed-five to do their preposterous drama, which
compelled the governor to place a call across and Mbu refused to pick
his calls. Mbu was only interested in protecting certain interest and,
not to protect the public peace?

President Jonathan has refused to pay heed to the incessant clarion
calls by Governor Amaechi that Mbu has thrown professionalism to the
winds in pursuing his narrow agenda at the expense of the security of
the state. Part of Amaechi's calls is that Mbu is a ‘political
policeman’ and has worsened the security situation in the state since
he assumed office in February 2013, by undermining the authority of
the Governor as the Chief Security Officer of his state; undermining
the security structure put in place by the State Security Council and
compromising the Council to such an extent that members no longer
speak their minds freely during meetings. The governor went further to
say that these are the issues Nigerians expect a non-partisan PSC to
address, with a view to sanctioning whoever it is that paved the way
for the disgraceful show that was put up under the klieg light last
week (July 9). While the PSC will be right to sanction even the
policemen shown to have acted badly that day, the sanctions must
extend to their bosses who allowed that to happen.

But would Mr. President support Amaechi in these calls? Are they not
glaring facts? The presidency continues to rebuff what has been known
as sacrosanct and truth: Its hand in the chaos. Was it not the show of
desperation in the second term ambition of Mr. President comes 2015,
that the presidency took Amaechi as a foe and wants to cast him out by
magic or design? The presidency had set up what is known today as the
Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDPGF), to cause chasm in
the once ebullient Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), of which Amaechi is
the chairman of the later. What did Jonathan say about the formation
of the PDPGF? Did he not prefer the deserter-PDPGF of Governor
Godswill Akpabio to NGF of Gov. Amaechi? Wike also instituted the
factional Obuah-led PDP in Rivers State, which was said to have sacked
the G. U Ake-led PDP in Rivers State, through an opaque court order.
What did the president say?

The height of crises in Rivers State heightened to its crescendo since
that not-transparent court order. And President Jonathan and his
presidency are still playing the ostrich, by telling the world that
they are innocent. Without mincing words, the wife of the president,
Patience, preferred the contention of Hon. Evans Bipi for the Speaker
of the Rivers State House of Assembly, to the authentic Speaker of the
House, in the person of Hon. Dan Amachree.

No gainsaying the fact that Bipi is from Okrika, just as Patience. We
all know what played out in August 2010, when Dame Jonathan visited
Okrika in Rivers State. Did she not treat a sitting governor, Amaechi,
as if, he was her school pupil? Critics had said that she did that
because of a development, which the Rivers State Government intended
to visit an Okrika waterfront with. And that this move was not
pleasing to Mrs. Jonathan, hence she scolded Amaechi in the public.

This single act attracted a worldwide condemnation. But while the
world condemned Dame Jonathan for that foul-mouth behavior, the tone
we indirectly heard from the presidency after that unattractive
episode, was “Hosanna, in the highest”. Not condemnation. Why? The
Tuesday 9 July, 2013, drama, where Bipi led a group of five
(dis)honourable members of the House to impeach Amachree, but was
botched, also unfolded a lot.

While the world was in a sober reflection, the song we got from Wike
was that Rivers residents should be ready for war. What do we know as
treason, if not this kind of statement? Did President Jonathan call
Wike to order, being a serving Minister? No. So, why would Mr.
President continue to deny any link with the crises in Rivers State?
Does he not know that he has not called any of these persons fuming
and drumming for war to order? Rather, he was asking the major players
in the crises to allow the constitution and the rule of law to
triumph. Does the “constitution and the rule of law” that Jonathan
meant here to be the unedited words of his wife to Amaechi, the drum
of war that Wike has been beating, and the unwarranted attacks on the
personality of Amaechi by the czar of the police in Rivers State and
sundry issues?

If there are actions to put to a stop, they should be the presidency’s
flesh of Esau, but the voice of Jacob in the heightening political
abracadabra in Rivers State. Nothing more! There was no better
pristine act that we have experienced in Rivers State, than the public
affront that Dame Jonathan reeled out on Amaechi on her 2010 visit.
Need say more?

As a wife and mother, she refused to resolve her harboured animosity
against Amaechi, when she visited Okrika in that year. Yet, Mr.
President is denying his involvement in the Rivers State crises!
Whether Nigeria now has two presidents, the same Patience who was
regarded in many quarters as the brain behind the crises in Rivers
State, but most especially, the one of July 9, issued a statement
through her Special Assistant on Media, Ayo Osinlu, saying that all
the parties in the fight should sheathe their swords. Then, you wonder
what Constitutional right has the office of the First Lady that Madam
Jonathan is carrying herself so much, above the board, issuing press
releases at the same time with her husband’s.

In accounts credited to some members of the River State House of
Assembly, they had said that it was the script of Patience handed to
Bipi that he was acting. Remember that Patience was the Mother of the
Day at Bipi’s wedding. She had raised the hand of Wike and proclaimed
him as the leader of the PDP in Rivers State. How else is crisis
brewed? Remember that Amaechi is the governor. Did she also not call
Amaechi an embarrassment to the state that refused to carry his
admirers and followers along? Did she, again, not say that Rivers
State had lost its glory under Amaechi?

Evident of that script was when on that chaotic day at the Rivers
State Assembly, Bipi fought to die, because of an alleged insult that
his colleague meted out to Patience, a woman Bipi regards as his Jesus
Christ. On video during the turmoil, Bipi, the arrow head of the
confusion, was heard saying that he was carrying out the orders of
“Mummy” in the following statement: “Why must he be insulting my
mother, my Jesus Christ on earth?” asked irked Bipi. “I have no
mother. Dame Patience Jonathan is my mother”.

Conversely, it was not out of place when the Action Congress of
Nigeria (ACN), called for the removal of President Goodluck Jonathan
over the crises rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly,
culminating into the entire state. ACN was very apt and fast to see
the flawed position of Mr. President and his presidency in the whole
situation. And if there was no fight between the President and
Amaechi, as Mr. President wanted us to believe, why did he say through
Doyin Okupe after the fight in the Rivers State House of Assembly
that, Amaechi was too ‘small’ politically for him to fight with? A
very irritating statement, you may say.

Gov. Amaechi has continued to show excess maturity in the whole
crises. It is his boldness that flatterers of Mr. President
erroneously see and characterise as, undermining the Presidency. What
Jonathan meant when he said that Amaechi was too small politically for
him to fight, was apparently that Jonathan is too big to listen and is
always showing a carriage of too big to serve? If not, how could he
not have been able to recognise the NGF’s election in which 19
governors voted for Amaechi, as against his candidate in the person of
Governor Jona Jang that had 16 votes. In Jonathan’s scientific mirror,
is 16 greater than 19? But we could recall that Jang once said that he
did not plan for the post, but was drafted into the race...

President Jonathan, with his wife, has been undermining Amaechi. Are
Governors Akpabio, Dickson, and Barr. Wike and a host of others not
drafted against Amaechi in this fight? Was it not on President
Jonathan’s orders that the Commissioner of Police Mbu, withdrew
security attaches to Amaechi? What did Mr. President do when a whole
National Assembly asked that Mbu be redeployed? Amaechi has even
written a letter to Jonathan in respect to that. Has Mbu been
redeployed? Before the fight at the Assembly, did Dame Jonathan not
have a secret meeting with the five anti-Amaechi legislators in order
to carve a way to impeach the Speaker and Amaechi? Did Jonathan allow
his security to pave way for Amaechi to exchange pleasantries with him
during what is known as Jonathan’s dinner night? Is President Jonathan
fooling who, when he said that his hands are not in the Rivers State

It is in the news bulletins that President Jonathan felt Governor
Amaechi, as the NGF chairman, controls the 36 states governors against
him. So, to whittle Amaechi’s financial muscles, Rivers State oil
wells were ceded to Bayelsa, Jonathan’s home state. And Akwa Ibom
State of Gov. Akpabio, shared in that ceding. But apart from these, it
would be very essential if President Jonathan should stop showing this
trait of extreme power quest. Assuming Amaechi had political ambition
in 2015, what is wrong with that in a democracy? As have been advised
by Prof. Wole Soyinka, Mr. President should call his wife to order,
who, unarguably, has taken the status of a demi-god. What we expected
from Mr. President was to tackle the issue of insecurity, joblessness,
power outage, pit-of-hell called federal roads, healthcare,
manufacturing and so on that are devastating the country and, not to
engage Amaechi in outlandish fights today and would place refutations
by tommorrow.

Ibinabo Jack, Correspondent with Pilot Group, wrote from Port

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