By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, & Egufe Yafugborhi
An alleged plot to remove the remaining traces of Governor Rotimi Amaechi in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, commenced yesterday with the evaluation of all party members from the state in public office by the Felix Obuah-led state executive of the party.
The screening is to scrutinise all those in public office on the platform of the party, including the deputy governor, federal and state legislators, local government chairmen and councilors, among others.
As the screening commenced yesterday, the head of the evaluation committee, Osinakachukwu Ideozu, warned that attendance was compulsory for every political office holder as he warned that absence would be met with strict sanctions by the state executive.
However, loyalists of the governor alleged that the screening was a final plot to ensure that Amaechi’s loyalists were screened out of the forthcoming special national convention of the party due next weekend.
An associate of Amaechi said: “They know that no government official will attend the screening, so that will be the excuse to suspend senators, members of the House of Representatives, state House of Assembly and council chairmen from the party and ensure that they are screened out of next week’s convention.”
Governor Amaechi, who was suspended from the party last May, and 27 of the 32 members of the House of Assembly loyal to him, who were suspended shortly after, have not been invited for the screening.
At press time yesterday, of all the invitees, only the erstwhile Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus appeared before the committee.
As he left, Secondus expressed appreciation to the Obuah executive for the initiative, saying it was bound to take the party on the right course.
Briefing newsmen on the exercise yesterday, Ideozu said: “The reason for excluding these persons is simple. The Governor and 27 house members are suspended and so can’t be invited.
“This exercise would have been held earlier, but the governor took the party to court to stop our work. We are starting now because a High Court struck out the suit on Tuesday.
“Those to appear before us include the Deputy Governor of the State, all senators and members of House of Representatives currently representing Rivers, the five members of the state assembly who are not under suspension and all council chairmen in the state.”
The list also includes the two former Deputy National Chairmen of the party from the state, Prince Uche Secondus and Sam Sam Jaja, current state Chairman, Felix Obuah and PDP ministers and commissioners currently serving.
On those suspended
On how the committee will treat those who refuse to appear, he said: “As PDP members, we don’t expect any invited person not to come. But anybody indisposed is expected to communicate to us.
“But it is strictly the place of the party executives to determine the fate of anyone who fails to conform. Ours is to do our job and submit report.”
Meanwhile, the socio-political group, Rivers Peoples Forum, RPF, also yesterday chided the Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI, and the Obuah-led executive of PDP over their criticisms of the appointment of Justice Peter Agumagu as the acting Chief Judge of Rivers State.
The GDI is reportedly backed by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and the Obuah-led PDP, RPF.
In a statement issued by its President, Charles Bekwele said: “If you look at the comments against the appointment of Agumagu, you will see one trend, one line masterminded and written by Wike. As far as Rivers people are concerned, there is no controversy over the appointment.”