BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
ALTHOUGH from the onset it was clear Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would emerge victorious in the governorship election in the state a couple of his political rivals nevertheless contended the governorship prize with him.
Amaechi came into office in 2007 via a Supreme Court verdict at a time the state wanted to feel the positive side of governance. The people wanted security challenges and other related issues addressed. So when he came on board and made significant impact in these areas, his achievements opened doors for him and became the determining factor at the recent governorship election.
In spite of his achievements in the first term, expectations are still high. The citizenry still want the governor to do more in his second coming. Some who spoke to Vanguard say they expect him to consolidate on the gains his administration made in the first term in the area of security.
The security situation had at one point almost collapsed as hoodlums who masqueraded as militants held the state hostage. But when Amaechi came on board and effectively funded the Joint Task Force in the state under the leadership of Brigadier General Sarki Yarki Bello who is now a Major General and General Officer Commanding, GOC , 82 Division, peace returned to the state.
The government had to set up a body, Social and Rehabilitation Commission headed by a former security czar in the country, Chief Albert Horsefall to fish out miscreants of the state origin for rehabilitation and reintegration into the society, a development that contributed largely to the prevailing peace as most of the militants keyed into the programme.
Meantime, recent incidents of abductions, raid on houses in some parts of the state have led to calls on the governor to double his effort in the area of security. The governor, in his inaugural address shortly after he took his oath of office for a second term, reassured the people that his administration will not relax in its determination to guarantee the safety of lives and property. Amaechi had at several fora identified unemployment as a factor largely responsible for some of the deviant and criminal attitude among youths in the state and the region. It is expected that his administration would come up with measures to tackle this challenge.
Flood is another challenge some residents of the state capital hope the governor would give serious attention to. In his first term governor Amaechi made serious effort to address the issue. But most of those who spoke to Vanguard said even though they appreciated the steps he took in his first term but want him to do more. They recalled that houses and cars in several parts of the state were submerged by flood.
While commending the governor for giant strides recorded in his first term in the area of education, some citizens who spoke to Vanguard said serious steps should be taken to check teachers posted to rural communities. The general opinion is that most of these teachers only come to work on pay day or come to school once in two weeks. They said for the governor to ensure that his effort in education is sustained that he should put measures in place to get these teachers to do their jobs.
Reconciliation with Odili
The public reconciliation between the governor and his erstwhile political god father and boss, Dr Peter Odili who is a former governor of the state, in the judgement of some has introduced another angle to the politics of the state. It would be recalled that Odili appeared in a government function in the state for the first time since Amaechi took over at the recent thanksgiving service to herald Amechi’s second inaguration.
It is believed that the development would have its own impact on governance in the state.
Some other senior citizens in the state who would likely shape the second term of Governor Amaechi include former governor Rufus Ada George, Chief Sergeant Awuse, Chief Nyesom Wike
It remains unclear the level of influence the likes of Senator Magnus Abe and Hon Dakuku Peterside ( former Commissioner of Works) would have now that they have both moved to the National Assembly. The trio of Magnus, Dakuku and Nyesom Wike were presumably the most influential members of the Amaechi political family in his first term.
Nyesom, who was the Director General of the governor Amaechi re-election campaign did not aspire for any elective seat in the last election. It is speculated in several quarters that he would wield a stronger influence in Amaechi’s political structure in this second term.
Nyesom was a two-time chairman of Obio Akpor local government area under the administration of Odili. He served as Chief of Staff Government House in the first term of Amaechi. In the last election, his local government gave the governor the highest number of votes. He also repeated the same feat at the presidential election.
Some of Amaechi’s former Commissioners that are likely to be key characters in his second term include former Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, former Commissioner for Education, Dame Alice Lawrence Nemi and former Commissioner for Health, Dr Samson T Parker and his former Commissioner for Finance George Feyii, who has been appointed Secretary to the State Government, SSG. Already, Alice and Ibim have been screened by the state House of Assembly as nominees for appointment as commissioners.