By Henry Umoru,Abuja & Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
The Abubakar Kawu Baraje led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP yesterday described the sack of nine Ministers by President Goodluck Jonathan as that targeted at the ‘rebel’ governors and also designed to victimise those perceived to be supporting them, just as it warned that anarchy looms in the country if leaders of thought failed to intervene.
The Baraje led nPDP also said that the police barring Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi and his visitors Thursday night from accessing the Governor’s residence through the private gate of the State Government House was an indication of the return of the dark days of former Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, just as the group pleaded with Heads of State, religious leaders, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organisations, among others to save the country from those it said were working towards plunging it into a state of anarchy.
Also, commenting on the issue, Governor Amaechi and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, condemned the Police blockade, saying “it is the height of lawlessness and impunity.”
The Governor was returning to Government House, Port Harcourt with the Forum of former Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria at about 7.00pm after an inspection of numerous projects executed by his adminstration when it was discovered there was a police roadblock at the Port Harcourt Club junction along Forces Avenue.
The Governor also apologized to the ex-Speakers of Nigeria for the embarrassment by the Rivers Police Command.
“I apologize for the embarrassment you suffered during our return from inspection to various projects.”
He also explained the overriding need for the National Assembly and the various State Houses of Assembly to fashion out a Legislative Framework that would address retirement benefits of the ex-lawmakers and their welfare, especially as former elected public officers who represented their people well and served the nation meritoriously.
Also yesterday in a statement by the nPDP National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the party said, “No matter the flimsy excuses being given by the Federal Government over the sack of nine of our candidates from the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the truth of the matter is that these innocent Ministers were sacked because they were either nominated by us or sympathetic to our cause.
”We are aware that these Ministers had been under surveillance and denied the necessary tools to work with – in short, they were programmed to fail immediately they were indentified with us. Sadly, these innocent Ministers have been sacked while the most corrupt Ministers whose atrocious activities are well known to Nigerians, are retained. The most pitiable case of these sacked Ministers is that of our mother, the Minister of Housing, Ms Ama Pepple, whose crime was approaching Mr. President to plead with him, even kneeling down to beg him to forgive Gov. Amaechi for whatever sins he is assumed to have committed against him.
”We wish to assure these victimised Ministers that their travails are temporary. They have nothing to be ashamed of; their fate is in the hands of God and their future is very bright. Therefore, rather than being sad, they should count themselves lucky for being part of the struggle to salvage our party and country from the hands of opportunists who are using a political party which they do not know how it was formed to torment and haunt the founders of the party and their supporters.
”We urge former Heads of State, Religious Leaders, Our Royal Fathers, Civil Society Activists and all men of goodwill to intervene before these misguided elements plunge this nation into anarchy. This country belongs to all of us and we can no longer sit and watch an over ambitious cabal intoxicated by power brazenly inflict needless pain on us on a daily basis.
”It started like a joke. After the state governors elected their leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of RiversState, in a vote of 19 to 16, defeating Gov. Jonah Jang of PlateauState to retain his position as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), PDP under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and their collaborators in government preferred the defeated candidate. They improved on this when they engineered five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to attempt to impeach the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Dan Amachree, in a House of 32 members with the intention of reconvening few hours later to impeach the Governor. If not for the swift intervention of the National Assembly, they might have succeeded in achieving their devilish aim without minding the consequences.
”These enemies of democracy did not stop there; they organised and stoned visiting Northern Governors on a solidarity visit to their Rivers State counterpart, not minding the consequences.
”They went ahead to illegally suspend a sitting Governor (Rt. Hon. Amaechi) against the spirit of the PDP Constitution, soon following it with the suspension of Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State for not picking the calls of the tyrannical National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. As if this was not enough, they went ahead to suspend Senator Andy Uba for winning the Anambra State PDP Governorship Primaries just because they preferred another aspirant. And then from nowhere, they suspended PDP’s former National Vice Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja!
”Not yet satisfied, these enemies of democracy had the guts to remove the names of Governor Murtala Nyako and that of one of the founders of PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, from the delegates list of Adamawa State for their failed Special National Convention. Haba! What type of politics is this? And these people still want us at our ages to keep quiet and allow them to shave our heads while we do nothing! God forbid!!
”Against the spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that clearly stipulates freedom of association for Nigerians – even the freedom of factionalisation of a political party as stated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), our people are being hounded in various states of the Federation. In flagrant and outright breach of the Constitution and abuse of the rule of law, today our National Secretariat remains sealed by the Police. To add salt to our injury, our Rivers State Secretariat which just opened for business has also been sealed by the Police, who claimed to be acting on orders from above.
”Indeed, General Sani Abacha must be lamenting in his grave that Nigerians wrongly abused him considering the high degree of impunities being encouraged in a democratic set up, with the Police being used as a tool to haunt political opponents.
”We are however consoled that while the G34 that gave birth to PDP was born during the dark days of Abacha, today a new PDP is being given birth to and is determined to legally and constitutionally fight these impunities being perpetrated by false democrats in our country.
”We urge our supporters to continue to exercise patience and avoid the temptation to meet force with force so as not to play into the hands of our enemies. We also urge all Nigerians to intensify prayers for God to touch the hearts of our leaders so that these dark days of General Abacha during which people are haunted for expressing their views may be cut short.”
Meanwhile, the Police in BayelsaState have launched man hunt for members of the group it tagged illegal political organisation under the name of “new PDP” forcing them to go into hiding.
The group, which declared support for the Kawu Baraje led PDP faction was formed by loyalists of former Governor Timipre Sylva.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hillary Okpara in a statement yesterday in Yenagoa confirmed that the security agencies in the state have been put on red alert to hunt for the purported members of the new Bayelsa PDP, describing them as sponsors of an illegal organisation out to disrupt the peace of the state.
Hillary Okpara in a statement said “the Police in BayelsaState have alerted the public of attempts by some people in the State to form an illegal political organization under the name of “New PDP” and advised law abiding Bayelsans to dissociate themselves from the group.
”We warned persons associated with the illegal group, including their sponsors to desist forthwith, stressing that no such group or any other organization not legally registered would be allowed to disrupt the existing peace and tranquility in the State.
”The police and other security agencies in the state have been put on notice and urged members of the public to promptly report the existence or the activities of such illegal groups in any part of the state to the nearest police station or security outfit for necessary action.
”While, advising members of the law abiding Bayelsa public to go about their legitimate businesses, it warned that anybody or group of persons that violate the order will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
Tukur-led PDP reacts
Reacting to the development, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday urged the RiversState governor Chibuike Amaechi not to incite Nigerians against the President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government and the Nigerian Police.
In a statement yesterday by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP while urging Governor Amaechi not to drag the Police into politics, said, “Governor Amaechi must understand that the Nigeria Police is a sacred institution which should not in anyway be dragged into politics. In the same vein he must understand that facts are sacred and should not be distorted under any guise.”
Metuh who also stressed that the governor was manipulating the media to his favour as well as alleged that he was distorting information, said, “the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns in its entirety, the manipulation of the Nigerian press by certain individuals who consider themselves above the law.
”Of particular concern is the manipulation of the media by the Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Governor Chibuike Amaechi to mislead Nigerians and create an impression that he was barred by the Police and the Federal Government from entering the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt.
”This distortion of facts is totally unacceptable and unbefitting of a state governor. It is indeed condemnable that Governor Amaechi has continued to distort facts and interfere in the lawful activities of the police and security operatives ensuring law and order in Rivers state only to manipulate the media and portray himself as the victim.
”Governor Chibuike Amaechi was fully aware that based on the ruling of the courts, the police had sealed off a secretariat illegally opened by some individuals under the name, flag and colour of the PDP, consequent upon which the route leading to the structure was also closed.
”However, in his usual defiance of law and order, Governor Amaechi chose to take the same route accompanied by unauthorized persons who sought to beat security and access the sealed secretariat only for him to turn around to create a scene and distort facts so as to incite Nigerians against the police and the Federal Government.
”Governor Amaechi cannot feign ignorance of the fact that the route was closed as he must have been fully informed by his security details, otherwise he is running an incompetent government that cannot guarantee the safety and welfare of his state.”