PORTHARCOURT— GOVERNOR Chibuike Amaechi has lambasted the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, over alleged disparaging comments he made on the governor in a radio programme.
Describing the Presidential spokesman as the worst enemy of President Goodluck Jonathan, Amaechi, who spoke through his media aide, Mr David Iyofor, said Okupe was a non-issue in the nation’s political equation.
Dr Okupe in an interview on Liberty FM, Kaduna, weekend, accused Governor Amaechi of being a willing tool in the hands of the opposition. He also alleged that Amaechi had a hostile relationship with the state commissioner of police, Mr Joseph Mbu because the latter did not allow himself to be used by Amaechi to harass, intimidate and punish people unjustly.
In his reaction yesterday, Amaechi accused him of denigrating and disparaging the person and office of the Governor of Rivers State and the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Amaechi said: “In the past few weeks, we elected to ignore scurrilous statements from Okupe, as we do not wish to, wittingly or unwittingly, avail him with a sparring partner as he strives, though fecklessly yet again, to elevate his act from an attack puppy to an attack dog.
Moreover, like most Nigerians, we believe that Okupe is irrelevant in the political equation that no serious-minded person should take seriously. Over time, his comments and statements are akin to some sort of notice-me monkey dance in front of his boss and his band of cheerleaders.
“However, it has become pertinent to alert the populace and Mr. President that the likes of Okupe represent the very worst of President Jonathan’s administration. With an aide and adviser like Okupe, President Jonathan certainly does not need any enemies. Indeed, Okupe is more than a handful. Pray, what kind of advice will an aide/adviser like Okupe give to Mr President? The earlier Mr President purged the Presidency of characters like Okupe, the better for us all.
“Okupe sank to a new low when he falsely and indecorously claimed that Governor Amaechi used the police to harass, intimidate and punish people unjustly and could not provide one instance or any evidence to back up his claims. He bragged about some phantom text messages from “ordinary people” whose families have suffered grave injustice in the hands of Amaechi and, yet again, did not tell us the content and senders of the text messages. What does Okupe take Nigerians for? The phantom text messages exist only in the mind of Doyin Okupe.
“The Presidential spokesman then sank even deeper as he condescendingly descended to become the Chief Advocate and Defender-in-Chief of the Commissioner of Police in RiversState, Mbu Joseph Mbu, who the National Assembly has resolved categorically should be removed from RiversState.
Okupe and Rivers’ security
“Okupe’s warped argument is that the call for the redeployment of Mbu from RiversState by the state government is because Mbu has refused to be a ‘tool in the hands of Amaechi’. Pray Okupe, if that is the case and Mbu is such ‘a professional with dignity’, why then did the House of Representatives and the Senate(which sent a committee to RiversState to investigate the issues) pass two separate resolutions calling for the immediate removal of Mbu from RiversState? If Okupe’s trend of logic is anything to go by, his likely response would be that it’s because Mbu refused to be a tool in the hands of the National Assembly!
“With comments like that coming from a presidential aide and spokesman, Nigerians now have a better insight into why Mbu is still in RiversState and continues to act with impunity, in spite of the call by eminent Nigerians and the resolution of the National Assembly that Mbu should go. What interests does Mbu serve for Okupe and his co-travellers that they are bent on keeping Mbu in RiversState?
“Let us remind Okupe and his co-travellers that it took a lot of efforts, resources and the strong political will and determination of Governor Amaechi to restore peace, security and order to RiversState from the dark days of pre-October 2007. To destroy all that in the name of playing politics portends grave danger for our polity and will do no one, more especially, the Presidency no good. No responsible government plays politics with the lives of its people.
It is certainly rude, uncharitable, ill-mannered and hypocritical for Okupe to falsely and superciliously allege that Amaechi is a ‘willing tool’ to any person or group against President Jonathan. Where was Doyin Okupe when Governor Amaechi led Rivers electorates to overwhelmingly give President Jonathan over two million votes, the highest by any state in the last presidential election?
“For the likes of Okupe and his fellow travellers in the Presidency and Abuja, Governor Amaechi only became ‘willing tool to the opposition’ when he openly refused to cede any part and oil wells of Rivers State to a neighbouring state, and stood firmly and resolutely to defend and fight for the rights of Rivers people, which he was elected to do, anyway. For the likes of Okupe and his ilk in the Presidency and Abuja, Governor Amaechi only became ‘willing tool to the opposition’ when he, like most other governors, insisted on governors and governors alone, to determine who would be their chairman, the Governors’ Forum Chairman and not some hawks in the Presidency.
Governor Amaechi’s only ‘sin’, to the Okupes in the Presidency, is his penchant for seeking justice and fairness for all, and his ability to speak his mind and say the truth at all times. This, obviously, is not in conformity with the kind of politics Okupe knows and understands.
“It continues to baffle us, like most Nigerians, that small minds like Okupe in a democracy, still see holding a different opinion from the Presidency on any issue as anti-Jonathan and fighting Mr. President – a taboo and sacrilege. And any person perceived to be thinking differently must be crucified, politically and otherwise.
“It is indeed a sad commentary on our nation’s democracy and unity that a Presidential aide/spokesman would see nothing wrong and would cavalierly dismiss the harassment, stoning and attack on eminent and esteemed visiting governors from the Northern states to their colleague and chairman, Governor Amaechi in Rivers State by a mob, a group floated, financed and promoted by a serving minister in the Presidency. This tells a lot about the character of Doyin Okupe.”
We will not hand over party structure— Wike
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike has vowed not to hand over the structure of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state back to Governor Amaechi.
Wike who spoke yesterday in Ahoada, where he went to inaugurate his Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI, said he was aware of alleged claims by the governor’s camp that he should hand over the party’s structure as part of any reconciliation.
His words:“I was watching television last night and I heard some of them saying that one of the conditions they have given is that they should give the party structure to the governor.
“But I say we don’t operate emirate system. We don’t operate a monarchical system. So, we don’t ‘dash’ out party structure. It is the people that voted for them. So, we cannot ‘dash’ out party structure.” It is you (the people) that voted for him. So we cannot ‘dash’ them anything.
‘’Those working against the ambition of President Jonathan are now moving from one place to another, crying.
‘’You people should ask your representatives about what they have been doing in Abuja, I read on the pages of newspapers recently about some people talking. The time is over for them, these are people who cannot compete. We now have a Chairman who will allow everybody to express themselves and compete, PDP is a party of competition. We have made a mistake in the past and we shall correct the mistakes now”.