Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday, solicited prayers from citizens of the state against desperate persons who he claimed were after his life.
Amaechi was suspended from the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, after his fate was decided during an unscheduled meeting of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party at the residence of the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, which sources say convened unusually early, at 8.00am.
The meeting came two days ahead of the regular meeting of the NWC which normally holds on Wednesdays. It was also three days after Amaechi beat the odds with his re-election as chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF. He had been allegedly opposed by the PDP Governors’ Forum, PDP-GF ahead of the election.
The governor spoke amidst strong opposition from his loyalists and some party chieftains over what they described as the continued reign of lawlesness in the party.
The governor’s suspension was hinged on what the party described as his refusal to order the reinstatement of members of the Obio Akpor Local Government executive who were suspended from office by the orders of the Rivers State House of Assembly upon allegations of corruption raised against the LG executives.
Hours after the suspension was announced, the party at a press conference said that it had constituted a committee headed by Mr. Joe Gadzama, SAN, to probe allegations raised against Amaechi.
Other members of the committee are PDP National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon; Inalegwu Onche, Friday Nwosu, Udorji Amedu, Ola Kukuyi, Wakil Mohammed, Yusuf Jangwe, Mrs Bola Doherty, Mr. Tanimu Adamson and Anicho Okoro as Secretary.
Reacting to his suspension during an interactive session with youths of the state, Amaechi called for prayers saying that desperate people who he claimed did not follow the due process of hearing from him could also be after his life.
He, however, vowed that God who kept him in the face of the six-month intrigues that preceded his inauguration in 2007 would also see him through. The interactive session with the youths with the theme: “Consolidating on Rivers of our Dreams” took place at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt.
Noting the desperation of his foes, he said: “The way these people at the federal level are desperate, they may come after my life. So when you pray, remember to pray for me to remain alive.
“Who has power to suspend Obio/Akpor council? Now you see political witch-hunting; it is so ridiculous, my party must rise above political witch-hunting. The Governor did not suspend Obio/Akpor council, I hope you know. My power is to dissolve and remit it to the House of Assembly, but I have not done that yet, what the Assembly has said is ‘we are investigating corruption’ then the party says we should not investigate corruption, is that fair?”.
Amaechi said the NWC issued a press statement to suspend him without any invitation and fair hearing. “I was not invited by the National Working Committee of PDP, I was not given fair hearing. What I heard was ‘why did I refuse to reinstate the suspended Obio/Akpor Council executive? Who suspended them?’, he asked.
His question received the enthusiastic response of the youths who chorused: “The Rivers State House of Assembly.”
Again the governor asked, ‘who has the power to investigate Obio/Akpor council executive?”. The Youths again replied: “The State Assembly.”
“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, and the Party (PDP) 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. I have been a Speaker, and I know the powers of a Speaker and the legislature. I used it when I was a Speaker”, Amaechi said.
“What is the police still doing at the Obio/Akpor Council building? The court gave an order to the Police to vacate Obio/Akpor Council, they disobeyed, and the police are still stationed there”, he said.
“The Federal Government does not care, they only stationed police at Obio/Akpor council, even if everybody dies, they don’t care. Now the whole state will be grounded, because the police have refused to vacate the Obio/Akpor Council Secretariat. They don’t want to know, we are not important to the federal government, we are not important at all”, Amaechi lamented.
“You know what it took for us to stop militancy in the state. But only last week, they now organized militants to return to the streets of Port Harcourt, is that not shameful. You all know how the militants spent our money, raped our women, killed our parents and young men. Immediately the militants stopped protesting, the police said, nobody should protest again”, Amaechi stated.
“Internal democracy is important in our party, they fought me with everything, and I still won the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election, what should they do? They should have joined me to thank God. Because what it means is that God has spoken. It happened when I was in Ghana, I fasted and prayed for six months, 6am to 6pm, and God made me Governor.
This may be to the chagrin of the opposition who are hopeful of getting another score over the PDP, but Amaechi has reiterated his commitment to the PDP.
“I will not leave the PDP. I will go to court. The plane (aircraft) issue is same politics, pure politics. For one year plus, a minister refused to sign import permit. I’m sure you are aware of the House of Representatives Committee report on the plane issue.”
On the NGF election, Governor Amaechi said: “You will see it on the internet when the Governors were voting, all the governors were there and you will also see the counting. We (Governors) agreed to vote, and all the governors voted, so any governor who said he didn’t vote is lying against the nation because all of us are on oath to govern properly. So we should not lie, every governor voted, you will see the video.
“If we leaders of Nigeria today are refusing to accept the results of a properly organized election supervised by the Director-General of the Governors’ Forum, and somebody brought a paper that was signed in April. If you check that list, it was signed in April and you brought it on May 24 after the Governors have finished voting their chairman into office; that list is not part of our election. There is a rumour that they want to go to court to stop me as NGF chairman. We are ready to meet them in court but they should not go through the backdoor to get an order,” Amaechi said.