…Rivers People, not Amaechi voted for me — Governor Wike
By Dirisu Yakubu
Will the ongoing feud between former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and his once trusted ally and incumbent governor of the state, Nyesom Wike ever come to an end?
This is the question on the lips of many Nigerians today following this week’s vitriolic against Wike by Amaechi who as a guest of television journalists on Tuesday accused the former of masterminding the killings in the state during the February 23 Presidential elections.
Fielding questions on Channels Television breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, Amaechi who is the Minister of Transport in the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration accused Wike of conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to supplant the will of the people even as he also fingered the governor for blame allegedly for leading armed thugs to perpetrate violence during the 2019 elections in the state.
Hear him: “Let’s go to INEC. How many INEC staff were arrested for taking N50 million bribe from Wike? What has happened? The INEC commissioner in charge of Rivers state in 2015 was arrested and detained and the video recording of how she collected money from the bank was shown to her.
What has happened? Those guys are in court but nothing has happened. The INEC commissioner is also in court. Then, suddenly they said we won’t run in the election. Why didn’t the court hear the main issue? And what is the issue? Does the Judge of the Rivers State High Court have jurisdiction to hear a matter concerning APC, a federal agency? Was APC served? People should ask the question of why APC was not allowed to run.”
Bemoaning what he described as a conspiracy of silence, the APC chieftain noted that time to talk has come saying, “It gets to a point you have to talk. Court of Appeal justices in Rivers state are living in the state government quarters; they are not living in their official residences.”
On what needs to give way to broker peace between him and the governor, Amaechi dismissed reports of a rift between them, adding that he was only against Wike’s ambition to do a second term in office, “having failed to protect lives in his first term in office.”
He said, “There is no war going on between me and Governor Wike. It’s like my friend, Akpabio, when we met the other day, I said Akpabio, are we quarreling? There is no war between me and Wike. What is going on between Wike and I is the fact that he wants to run a second term. It is the fact that he ran a first term in which people were killed. Today, he accuses the army and not the police. Are you not surprised that he did not accuse the police this time? He accused the army because they refused to take bribe. The election that INEC stopped, nobody was killed.
That was the first election in Rivers state in which nobody was killed. INEC woke up one morning and stopped the election, saying there was too much violence but nobody was killed. We recorded violence in the Presidential election but there was no violence in the governorship election, just because they stopped Wike from killing people. He is the governor of Rivers state, he doesn’t need to go out to kill people, but he has to protect lives. The moment you can’t protect lives, you must take that responsibility.
Deliberations went further this way:
But the same thing (killings) happened during your administration?
No, no, no. When some of you visited Rivers while I was governor, you went to night clubs. Can you go to night clubs now in Rivers state? When I was governor of Rivers state, for every death, I challenged the Director of SSS. I must know who killed these people. I must know and they must be arrested. You see, deterrence comes if there are consequences.
Are you laying the blame on the killings in Rivers state on Governor Wike?
Of course! Who were his chairmen of councils? Militants! I never condoned any militant. The reason Wike does what he does and gets away with it is that once he does his thing, he goes to the TV and radio and start abusing people. For me, the GOC is the hero of the election because he came out and stopped the violence. Let’s take the Presidential election.
They said people were killed in Abonema. Military men were standing, protecting INEC Property. INEC won’t say it because Wike worked with Professor Mahmood at TETFUND when he (Wike) was Minister of state for Education. That is why he stopped the election in Rivers state, citing violence.
In the Presidential election, who were the people killed in Abonema? PDP sent Ikwerre boys to Abonema to shoot and kill an army officer standing and protecting INEC. This man was protecting lives and you opened fire and killed him (an army officer).
You expect those with him to stand by and watch? Nobody is saying this because Wike has dragged the press and tell his own side of the story. And everybody is afraid to tell the other side of the story.
The military can’t tell their side of the story because they are supposed to be an unbiased umpire. In the governorship election, they should name one person that was killed. When Wike was losing Obi Akpor, he led his own men, with his government house police and thugs and shot a military officer that was flown out.
Do you have the images, the videos where he led these thugs …?
Has he denied this? The army said this in their statement. The result in that election was 30,000; today it is 200, 000. And Yakubu says he is the INEC Chairman?
Meanwhile, Governor Wike in a response to the salvo said Amaechi need not worried about him because he was elected by the people of the state due to his “outstanding performance.”
According to him, the Minister failed in his quest to truncate his second term because Rivers people are happy with his performance in the past four years. In a statement signed by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Wike said, “It is unfortunate. I extended the Olive Branch and I meant every word of it. It was on that basis that the State Attorney General filed a nolle prosequi to withdraw the charge against Flag Amachree.
“If I did not do well in my first term, PDP wouldn’t have given me the party’s flag to fly. In 2015, the same man vowed that over his dead body would I emerge victoriously. I have done well for my people. It is for the people of Rivers State to decide. It is not in the place of Amaechi to decide.
Continuing, the governor added that there are over 6million people and over 3million registered voters, “therefore, Amaechi cannot say I cannot go for a second term. He has only one vote. In the past, he said an Ikwerre man cannot succeed another Ikwerre man. Today, he is saying his grouse is that I cannot go for a second term. At every step, he has one story or the other”.
Governor Wike said contrary to the story that Amaechi told whilst he was on Channels Television, kidnapping raged during his tenure. He said it was so bad that the State Chairman of Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission under Amaechi was kidnapped.
The governor further noted that despite the National High-Rate of insecurity, Rivers State is relatively peaceful, with very high ratings.
“Our Internally Generated Revenue, IGR has improved due to the peace and security in the state, “ the statement added.
He noted that the political misfortune that befell the APC during the last general elections in Rivers State was principally due to the impunity of Amaechi.
“It is because of this impunity that his party was not on the ballot. Because of this impunity, he has denied so many people their political future,” he said.
He also stressed that plots allegedly by the Minister to manipulate the Tribunal will fail like other previous plots, saying moves to use the police to illegally certify fake results “as he did for Rivers East Senatorial District during the re-run elections tribunal would fail.”
“The game he played in Rivers East of using the police to certify fake results will not work. During the re-run, Police certified fake results. That game will not work again. We have gone beyond that. We are waiting for the police to certify fake results for Amaechi “.
He stated that there was no way that the African Action Congress, AAC Governorship Candidate, Engr. Biokpomabo Awara would have been coasting to victory when he neither campaigned nor printed posters.
“Awara ran for the PDP councillorship in 2018 and lost. For this election, he did not campaign and never printed posters. Look at that kind of impunity. He brought a man that the people of Rivers State never knew three days to the election.
“The AAC had no House of Assembly candidates; they had no House of Representatives candidates and no Senatorial candidates for the elections. There is no way that such a party would have been coasting to victory,” he added.
On the allegation that the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu influenced the suspension of the collation process because he worked under him at the Federal Ministry of Education, the Rivers State Governor said that the position of Amaechi was baseless. He noted that at the Ministry of Education, he superintended over Basic Education, while the INEC Chairman served as TETFUND Executive Secretary under the Minister of Education. He added that Mahmood was appointed by the APC-led Federal Government and since his appointment; there have been no links between them.
Governor Wike said despite the “evil machinations of the Minister of Transportation,” he was unable to deliver 25 percent of votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019 general elections.
“In 2015, as a sitting governor, he failed to deliver 25percent of votes for President Buhari. He claimed that Jonathan helped us. In 2019, with all the security agencies, he still couldn’t deliver 25percent for President Buhari. He sang war songs, but couldn’t deliver 25 percent of votes for the President,” he said.
From the above narratives, there is little doubt that the egoistic class of these two political heavyweights is not about to come to an end any time soon, much to the disadvantage of a state, endowed with crude oil deposits, enough to revamp the economy of some developing nations. Shame!