A Governor’s Unending Woes

•Amaechi… In proxy war with Jonathan

•Amaechi: Governor of Rivers State

The suspension of Governor Rotimi Amaechi is the latest in a series of assault against his administration by federal forces

•Amaechi: In proxy war with Jonathan
•Amaechi: In proxy war with Jonathan

Last Monday, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State turned 48. As it is the tradition, a few advertisements appeared in the day’s newspapers congratulating him on his birthday and his success in the hotly disputed Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, election. But his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was not interested in the celebrations that Amaechi and his friends might have planned for the day. The PDP was minded to ensure that he had a bad birthday. Later that day, its National Working Committee announced that it had suspended him as a member of the party, after a hurriedly convened emergency meeting of NWC, that was held as early as 7 a.m. The meeting was headed by the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

The announcement immediately sparked disquiet among party members, many of whom are reluctant to make their opinions public. Indeed, there were speculations at the time of writing this report that some governors elected on the platform of PDP were contemplating abandoning the party in protest against the treatment given to Amaechi.

Some of the governors were  also said to be demanding an urgent meeting of the highest decision making organ of the party, the National Executive Council. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was alarmed enough to express worries about the possible implications of the party’s decision on Amaechi. In a statement signed on his behalf by Garba Shehu, the former Vice-President called on the other founding fathers of the party to rise up to the occasion and caution forces that are pushing the party towards the path of self-destruction.

Amaechi himself suspected that his suspension may just be the beginning of a new chapter  in the running battle between him and forces loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan within the PDP. The governor feared that the battle with those he referred to as “federal forces” may even turn deadly. “The way these people at the federal level are very desperate, they may come after my life; so when you pray, remember to pray for me to stay alive,” said Amaechi, at an interaction with Rivers youths on Children’s Day. Amaechi  simply described his suspension as a witch-hunt.

•Wike: Has eyes on Amaechi’s seat
•Wike: Has eyes on Amaechi’s seat

Beyond asking for prayers, Amaechi also said he will go to court to challenge his suspension which, he alleged, is aimed at forcing him out of the party. This magazine gathered that he has already  assembled a phalanx of Senior Advocates of Nigeria after the suspension was announced. The lawyers were busy filing the processes in court to set the stage for what many believe will be a repeat of the legal battle between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy between 2006 and 2007.

Explaining why Amaechi was suspended, the PDP NWC, in a communiqué made available to journalists, said the governor had contravened “Articles 58 1 (b), (c ), (h) and (m) of the PDP Constitution following his refusal to obey the lawful directive of the Rivers State Executive Committee to rescind his decision dissolving the elected Executive Council of Obi/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State”.

On 22 April, the Rivers State House of Assembly suspended the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area,  Timothy Nsirim, and his deputy, Solomon Eke, from office. The lawmakers said the suspension of Nsirim was based on  an investigation by a panel of a  petition accusing him of reckless spending of public funds.

The panel, which investigated the allegations , was headed by Lucky Odili, Chairman, House Committee on Local Government Affairs. It also recommended that 17 councillors should be suspended while the account of the council should be frozen.

A day after the suspension of the council boss and his deputy, Amaechi inaugurated a six-man caretaker committee headed by Chikodi Dike. The Rivers State government insisted that the dissolution of the executive council of Obiakpor Local Government Area was as a result of the indictment for financial recklessness. However, Nsirim and others affected insisted that they were removed from office because they were perceived to be loyal to Nyesom Wike, Minister of State for Education, who hails from the local government area.

Wike, a former Chief of Staff to Amaechi, had previously served as chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area. He was also the campaign manager to Amaechi, who later nominated him for ministerial appointment when President Jonathan was assembling his cabinet after the 2011 elections. The bond between the two politicians, however, started unraveling soon after Wike became a minister. This, it was gathered, is principally over Wike’s desire to succeed Amaechi, an ambition that the governor is not warm to. Amaechi, who is from the same senatorial zone as Wike, this magazine learnt, had argued that for the sake of fairness, other zones should be given the opportunity of producing the governor.

With support from his former boss not forthcoming, Wike shifted his loyalty to President Jonathan in the the hope that presidential muscle will better help him realise his dream. Since the split from Amaechi, Wike has become a rallying point for PDP members who believe that Amaechi has become too powerful as NGF Chairman. These include Senator Jubril Aminu, who first accused the NGF of being too powerful and strange to Nigeria’s democracy. There were also Bamanga Tukur and some NWC members, who believe  that the governor is at the head of the plot to remove them from office. In the same vein, many aides and loyalists of President Jonathan had also argued that Amaechi was using his position as NGF Chairman to undermine the President.

A golden opportunity for the anti-Amaechi forces to deal with the governor presented itself on 15 April, when a judgment by a Federal High Court in Abuja removed the control of the party in Rivers State from Amaechi’s hands. The court had declared the Godspower Akeh-led Rivers State executive committee of the party, made up of Amaechi loyalists, as illegal and declared the faction loyal to Wike and led by Felix Obuah as the rightful executive committee in the state.

With that judgment, the party structure was effectively handed to Wike. And despite howls of protest and allegations of miscarriage of justice by other stakeholders of the party in the state, the NWC inaugurated Obuah and other members of his executive a day after the judgment. Soon after its inauguration, the Obuah-led executive committee kicked off moves to get the Rivers State House of Assembly to reverse itself on the dissolution of the executive council of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.

•Tukur: Playing the President’s card
•Tukur: Playing the President’s card

On 27 April, it announced the suspension of 27 of the 32 members of the House of Assembly believed to be loyal to Amaechi, for failing to reinstate Nsirim and others. The remaining five lawmakers, believed to be loyal to Wike, were spared. The 27 lawmakers, however, challenged their suspension in court. Two days later, a High Court in Port Harcourt gave an order restraining the Obuah-led executive committee from suspending the 27 legislators. However, on 3 May, a detachment of policemen invaded and took over the secretariat of the council. Dike, the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Executive Caretaker Committee, said the policemen, who claimed to have orders from above, asked him and other members of his committee to vacate the council premises immediately. He also alleged that the “Abuja forces” which, according to him, were responsible for the invasion of the secretariat have perfected plans to cause mayhem in the council. “This plot is being championed by a former council chairman, who is a known acolyte of the Abuja forces that have sworn to make Obio/Akpor and, by extension, Rivers State, ungovernable as a prelude to the declaration of a state of emergency,” Dike alleged.

In spite of the protestations, policemen remained at the secretariat until 13 May, when the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt ordered them to withdraw to enable the council’s caretaker committee to carry out its functions. Reprieve? Not yet. The next day, Mbu Joseph Mbu, Rivers State Police Commissioner, ordered his men to return and seal off the council secretariat. This followed the explosion that destroyed the generator house of the secretariat on 14 May. A source told this magazine last week that the Police had said its first invasion of the secretariat was because it had information that the place was going to be bombed. “But the bombing actually happened after the Police was ordered to vacate the premises of the secretariat and the Police have now used that as an opportunity to return to the place, so you can now make your deductions,” the source told this magazine.

Policemen have remained at the secretariat since then, denying access to members of the Caretaker Committee on the order of the Police Commissioner, who is being accused of doing a hatchet job. With the efforts to use the Police to restore Nsirim not making progress beyond the  grounding of activities at the secretariat, Obuah and other members of his executive committee, in a petition to the NWC, accused Amaechi of ordering the state House of Assembly to dissolve the Obio/Akpor Local Government Executive Council. They also alleged that Amaechi has failed to abide by instructions to recall the suspended  council chiefs. Olisah Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said the decision to suspend Amaechi was taken as part of the determination of the party to enforce discipline within its ranks.

Just as the public was about digesting the import of the suspension, the party announced that it had set up an 11-man committee, headed by Joe Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to investigate the petition against Amaechi. The party said the governor would remain on suspension until the conclusion of investigation.

While faulting the decision of his party, Amaechi wondered why the NWC had to begin sitting as early as 7a.m and why he was not invited to defend himself before a guilty verdict was delivered against him. He also pointed out that the decision to suspend the executive council of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was taken by the state House of Assembly and not him. “If they are not guilty, then they will re-instate them. But if they are guilty, then we will ask for the dissolution of the council. We have not even gone half way and the party says re-instate them. It means that the party likes corruption. Let the Assembly resume and commence investigation, let’s see what goes on.  Whether there is corruption or not, it is the business of the Assembly,” argued the governor.

Contrary to the assertion by his party, Amaechi blamed his suspension on his unexpected victory at the NGF election held the previous Friday. “They were confident that they would defeat me. But they were shocked that I defeated them. They couldn’t take the defeat in good faith and they needed to do something,” he said.

Amaechi, against mile-high odds represented by presidential foot soldiers like Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State and Tony Anenih, Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, defeated Jonah Jang, the anointed candidate of the Presidency and the Governor of Plateau State to re-emerge as NGF Chairman. At the election, which was transparently conducted as shown in the popular video recording of the exercise (by Governor Rauf Aregbeshola of Osun State), Amaechi polled 19 votes to Jang’s 16.

The result of the election, which featured 35 of 36 state governors, shocked Akpabio, who did a poor job of hiding the fact that he was the Presidency’s chief enforcer during the exercise. The Presidency is said to have preferred a Northern candidate as a replacement for Amaechi and the speculation days before the election was that Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina was the preferred choice. But some days before the election, there were fresh speculations that the Presidency had shifted its attention to Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State. Eventually, the two candidates obtained forms to contest the election. On election day, Northern governors, it was learnt, tried to get one of the governors to step down for another without success. When that failed, they opted for a neutral candidate in Jang, who was presented to Akpabio, Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, just before the election.

Sources told this magazine that Akpabio had calculated that with Jang as the choice of the Northern governors, he would be assured of the votes of the 19 governors from the region. He was said to have also calculated that a minimum of three governors from states in the South-east, four states in the South-south and at least one from the South-west would vote for Jang. This, by Akpabio’s calculation, will assure Jang a minimum of 27 votes. But the calculations were unhinged when it emerged that Northern governors with commitments to the newly formed All Progressive Grand Alliance, APC, were not keen on doing the wish of their PDP counterparts.

•Jang: Defeated by Amaechi at NGF election
•Jang: Defeated by Amaechi at NGF election

It was gathered that Akpabio then attempted to prevent the election from holding, arguing that the forum should revert to the option of consensus it has always used to choose its chairman. Others, especially those with links to the APC and Amaechi, insisted on election, thus paving way for the poll.

But in what seemed a continuation of the intrigues and high-wire politics that characterised the run-in to the election, Akpabio immediately led the other governors away from the venue to Akwa Ibom State Lodge, Abuja, where he told journalists that the poll was a sham. He, however, failed to point out the defects he observed in the process. Akpabio, who was supported by Jang and Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and Peter Obi of Anambra State, all of whom are regarded as staunch supporters of President Jonathan, added that contrary to the result declared, Jang won the election by 19 votes. This, he said, is based on the endorsements of Jang by 19 governors before the election. He later distributed a paper containing names and signatures of 19 governors that allegedly endorsed Jang. Obi, who was Amaechi’s deputy, also introduced Mimiko as his successor to journalists at the occasion.

The next day, Jang led 17 other governors to hold what he described as the inaugural NGF meeting in Abuja. Those in attendance were Jang, Idris Wada (Kogi), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Yuguda (Bauchi), Theodore Orji (Abia), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Mukhtar Yero (Kaduna), Uduaghan (Delta), Garba Umar (Taraba), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Obi (Anambra), Mimiko and Thaanod Rubainu (Deputy Governor of Gombe).

Jang told journalists at the end of the meeting that he remained the authentic chairman of the Forum, with Mimiko as deputy. In what was a clear afterthought, Jang also told journalists that it was wrong for Amaechi to preside over the election in which he was a contestant, saying that the Jang faction had the majority by affirmation. When journalists asked Mimiko, who read the communiqué released after the meeting, if he considered the fact that some of the governors that endorsed Jang may not have voted for him during the election, he could not give a coherent answer.

Jang continued to insist that he is the NGF Chairman, and TheNEWS learnt that his appeal to governors outside his group to join him, was generally spurned. Nevertheless, he forged ahead parading himself as the ‘NGF chairman’ and his faction of the Forum  opened a new secretariat in Abuja  last week.

Supporters of Amaechi have also insisted that the Rivers State Governor was validly elected and will continue to be so recognised. A source told this magazine last week that the Presidency has vowed to stop at nothing to ensure that Amaechi ceases to be NGF Chairman.

The reaction of PDP and the pro-Jonathan governors to the outcome of  the election has continued to draw flak. “It’s a sign of the stock which the PDP is made of. It is an organisation that has contempt for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. For them to think they can order a governor who was elected by his people as if he is their housemaid is an insult to Amaechi, Nigeria and democracy. It’s an affront and the PDP will pay dearly for this,” Professor Itse Sagay, a constitutional lawyer said.

The opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, was no less scathing. “We ask? What is the crime of Amaechi? We proffer an answer: he won election as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) by 19 votes to 16 scored by his closest challenger. We wonder how a political party that lays claim to democratic usages could rise to suspend one of its own for winning an election! This action rubbishes its claim to any democratic credential, as it has clearly shown that it practises despotism and the tyranny of a cabal,” the party said.

However, the Presidency denied ever having an agenda in the matter. Dr. Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), said Jonathan “had no preferred candidate in the NGF election and could therefore not have been ‘floored’ by any other candidate”, as widely reported in Nigerian newspapers on 25 May.

•Anenih: NGF hijacked by opposition
•Anenih: NGF hijacked by opposition

However, Chief Tony Anenih had given a hint that suggested the President was not exactly disinterested. At a meeting  in Asaba, Delta State, he accused the NGF of becoming a “formidable group  seeking to control government at all levels” and that it “had been hijacked by opposition governors and was no longer promoting the interest of the PDP”.

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Amaechi’s leadership of NGF has been the key source of dispute between him and supporters of the President. Loyalists of the President have repeatedly accused  him of disrespecting Jonathan because of his headship of the NGF. An evidence of such, alleged presidential aides, was the accusation by Amaechi that the President influenced the ceding of oil wells located in Soku, a boundary area between Rivers and Bayelsa states, to his home state by the National Boundary Commission even when the issue is in court.

Amaechi had also accused the Presidency of influencing the payment of accumulated 13 per cent derivation funds, which was supposed to be kept in a special account until the resolution of controversies surrounding the ownership of the oil well by the court, to Bayelsa State. The Presidency was forced to issue a statement absolving the President of any involvement or partiality in the issue. But Amaechi has continued to insist that his state has been shortchanged.

Supporters of the President also alleged that Amaechi as NGF Chairman was like a fulcrum of opposition to key policies and initiatives of the Federal Government. They point to his role as the anchor for the court action against the maintenance of excess crude account, initial opposition to the establishment of Sovereign Wealth Fund and the call for greater transparency in payments for fuel subsidy. There are further insinuations that such allegations, utterances, criticisms of federal government were intended to portray President Jonathan as a non-performing, clueless leader. This, they added, is to instigate governors against the President and with the ultimate intention of damaging his chances of  re-election.

This thinking was evident in the public spat between Amaechi and Elder Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, over the state of East-West Road. Amaechi had criticised the slow pace of work on the road, which is being reconstructed by the Niger Delta Ministry, during his visit to the scene of an accident which claimed many lives. While accusing the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs of being too slow, Amaechi told journalists that state governments in the areas are ready to take over the reconstruction of the road.  Orubebe was not amused.

“It is sad. It is unfortunate that people from the South-south, even governors, particularly Governor Rotimi Amaechi, have no respect for the President of this country. I think this is the right time we should let him know and I have decided to speak because this is the time to speak. Today, he sees himself as the governor of governors and he begins to feel that he is even bigger than the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But I want to let him know that God is still God. He must have respect for the Presidency. He must have respect for the President of this country,” Orubebe said.

The minister added that Amaechi should “use the resources of Rivers State to develop Rivers State and not to bribe Nigerians”, an allusion  to the belief in the President’s camp that the governor has been spending money to get support of Nigerians for his ambition to contest against Jonathan in 2015.

Amaechi has repeatedly denied nursing a presidential ambition, though on some occasions, he was also quick to add that he has all the constitutional requirements to contest for the position. Some media reports have, however, claimed the governor wants be presidential running-mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State. The reports always attributed to ‘sources’ also usually indicated that the candidacy of Lamido and Amaechi have the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. These speculations have been followed by appearance of posters and vehicles carrying the picture of Amaechi and Lamido indicating that they will contest in the 2015 presidential election in various parts of the country. Both governors have consistently denied being responsible for the printing and circulation of the posters.


•Atiku: Warns PDP to tread softly
•Atiku: Warns PDP to tread softly

upporters of the President have also accused Amaechi of fuelling crisis within the PDP, with a view to hijacking the structure of the party in furtherance of his 2015 presidential ambitions. In the same vein, Amaechi has been accused of surreptitiously planting his loyalists into two key offices of  NWC during the March 2012 convention of the party. The two, Dr. Sam Jaja, who was elected as the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, and Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Governor of Osun State who was elected as the Secretary of the party. They particularly cited the way both men took advantage of the absence of Tukur to lead a faction of NWC to rescind the dissolution of Adamawa State Executive Committee of the party earlier carried out by Tukur some months ago.

The governors, in a communiqué read by Amaechi, supported the action of Jaja, even as they called for  the National Executive Committee meeting, NEC, of the party.

Indeed, PDP governors, led by Amaechi, have been calling for the convocation of the NEC meeting, which was supposed to be held quarterly, but has not convened since Tukur came into office. The President’s supporters have linked Amaechi’s championing of the call for the convening of NEC meeting, where decisions such as the sack of the party’s NWC can be taken,  as part of his schemes to take over the party. They believe that the governor will rally his colleagues against Tukur, a Jonathan loyalist, if the NEC meeting was allowed to hold. This thinking was reflected in a letter to Amaechi last January by Chief Edwin Clark, former Information Minister, who can also be described as the ‘godfather’ of President Jonathan. Clark alleged in the letter that members of the NGF “now behave like an opposition party to the federal government.”

Jaja, Oyinlola and other NWC members have since been sacked from the NWC in what many believed was part of the schemes to loosen Amaechi’s grip on the party.

Also, the Presidency had tried to reduce the influence of the NGF and remove Amaechi as the head of the body with the creation of PDP Governors Forum last February. The emergence of the forum was announced during what many regarded as a routine meeting of stakeholders of PDP, held at the Presidential Villa on the eve of the meeting of NGF.

“The new forum will not lead to a crack in the larger forum. We will work together to promote our interests,” said Akpabio in response to questions on whether the new forum was designed to rally PDP governors against Amaechi in the NGF election fixed for the next day.

Though he denied it, it was gathered that Akpabio tried unsuccessfully to rally PDP  governors in the new forum to vote out Amaechi and install Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State as Chairman of the NGF.

Akpabio, however, indicated that Amaechi had overstayed in the office as the constitution of the forum stipulates only one term for its Chairman. “Also, we (NGF) were not having meetings, which tended to suggest that the Forum was interested in wresting power from the people in the Villa (Presidency),” Akpabio said.

Despite this initial failure, Tukur was ecstatic when Akpabio paid him a visit in his office the next day. The octogenarian party chairman told his visitors that with the emergence of PDP-GF, the anxiety he and President Jonathan was having as a result of activities of NGF will now become a thing of the past. “Now, I can see very well because I know the leadership of PDP Governors’ Forum are for us. I can tell President Goodluck Jonathan if he was sleeping few hours in the night because he does not know how the party is going, he can now go and have a siesta,” Tukur said.

The Presidency has continued to slam different allegations against Amaechi. For one, he was recently accused of planning to dump PDP in order to realise his 2015 ambition. Another speculation had it that Amaechi was distributing N2 billion each to governors in the South East to get their support for his ambition.

Also, a national newspaper reported that the two helicopters bought by Rivers State government are to be used for the governor’s campaign. The two helicopters have not been allowed to come into the country. But Amaechi has consistently denied the accusations. He personally denied that he is planning to dump PDP during a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan two weeks ago.  “I am still in the PDP. I am a member of the PDP. PDP is the only national party in the country for now. Why will one want to leave a national party and go to another party?” he asked. The governor also explained that the Federal Government is aware that the helicopters bought by  his government will be used for security purpose. “The truth is that the Federal Government is aware. They gave us approval to buy a helicopter to fly around Rivers State for the purpose of security and we have done that. We bought and we paid. Up till now, they have not allowed the helicopter to come in. Maybe, they are afraid that it is for 2015,” he said.

•Akpabio: Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum
•Akpabio: Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum

Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, further explained that the helicopters, with a total cost of $29 million, were partly paid for by the Office of National Security Adviser while the Federal Government granted duty waiver. The National Security Adviser later summoned Semenitari for questioning for releasing what it described as classified information on the helicopters to the public.

At a youth forum held in Ekiti State about two months ago, Amaechi said the move to remove him as Chairman of NGF by the President was as a result of his stand on petrol subsidy payments and other issues. “Governors are not opposed to fuel subsidy, governors are just frustrated about the corruption in it. They balloon the figures. It is one reason they don’t want me as governors’ chairman,” he alleged.  He noted that the President has blacklisted him from some official functions at the Presidency over the issue.  He added that some party chiefs have advised him to stop speaking on the actions and failings of the President as a way of ending the persecution he has been experiencing, a suggestion he said he has rejected.

Ahmed Gulak, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, dismissed Amaechi’s allegations, claiming that they are inspired by his personal agenda. “He is a Nigerian. He is qualified to hold the highest office in the land. He is a politician and he is entitled to pursue his agenda.”

The persecution of Amaechi by the Presidency continued with the grounding of his plane by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN over excuses that keep changing by the day during a trip to attend the burial ceremony of former Ekiti State Deputy Governor  last month.

Last week, there were speculations that the Presidency was considering using five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to Wike to impeach Amaechi.

Many Nigerians will easily trace the beginning of deterioration between Amaechi and the Presidency to a two-day visit to Rivers State by Mrs. Patience Jonathan in August 2010. The visit ended on a very sour note at Okrika, Mrs. Jonathan’s hometown, when Amaechi informed her of the intention of the state government to demolish some shanties in the waterside area of the town to create space for building of schools.

Mid-speech, Mrs. Jonathan cut in and grabbed the microphone from  Amaechi and shouted: “Listen, you must listen to me.” She went on to lecture Amaechi on why he must not insist on carrying out demolition, arguing that land is very scarce in the area. “I want you to get me clear. I am from here. I know the problems of my people. So I know what I am talking. But what I am telling you is that you always say you must demolish. That word ‘must’ you use is not good. It is by pleading. You appeal to the owners of the compound because they will not go into exile”, she said while scolding the governor like an errant schoolboy.

Amaechi responded by boycotting all other scheduled events, while the President’s wife also hurriedly returned to Abuja. Naturally, the press sank its teeth into the story. It was gathered that Mrs. Jonathan believed the heavy media censure she received over the encounter was instigated by Amaechi. Wike’s gubernatorial ambition and consequent bid to capture the Rivers State structure of PDP, sources say also enjoy a very strong backing of Mrs. Jonathan.

The President’s wife, sources, said is determined to ensure that Amaechi plays no role in the choice of his successor in office.


•Abati: Absolves Presidency of dabbling in NGF affairs
•Abati: Absolves Presidency of dabbling in NGF affairs

It was gathered that a plot to set the process of impeachment of the governor was hatched at a meeting held in Abuja on Monday night, with a governor of a neighbouring state to Rivers as the anchor and funds mobiliser. There are also reports that as many as eight members of Rivers State House of Assembly previously loyal to Amaechi have defected to the Wike camp and may be available for use if the impeachment process gets off the ground.

But Otelemaba Amachree, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, insisted last week that Amaechi’s opponents would never get enough support to impeach him. Amaechi himself said last week that he is not afraid of being impeached: “We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me; I have served eight years as speaker, nearly six years as governor. Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognise and remember me. If there is no history that I have made, the one God has helped me to make is  that I stood out and fought for my rights and became a governor.”

The question is: Will the Governor survive the presidential onslaught, which from all indications, is unlikely to stop soon?

—Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja, additional report by Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

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