Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi joined yesterday the raging controversy sparked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former President accused Dr. Jonathan of training snipers and putting 1,000 Nigerians on a watch list ahead of the 2015 elections. Jonathan denied it all, saying Obasanjo should prove the allegations.
“I’m number one on the list.They want to kill me,” Amaechi told a huge crowd at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
It was at an exciting rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement – a political group backing Amaechi’s stand on the state’s political future. Amaechi defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
There were a lot of officials and eminent personalities at the occasion.
Amaechi, who is also the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) chairman, said: “Today (yesterday), I am not declaring. I said I would declare at the new stadium. The reason for gathering today is to remind Nigerians that the current Federal Government is carrying on with impunity.
“There is no rule of law in Nigeria. They are using police to molest us. Where police fail to molest us, they are using thugs to shoot dynamites and guns against innocent people.
“I read the President’s (Jonathan’s) letter and he said ex-President Obasanjo should prove the 1,000 names on the watch list. I am number one on the list.
“They want to kill me, but they have no God. The God we worship will protect me. Before the end of the year, I will address the state.
“They will shoot you. They have no fear for your blood. They want the position at all costs. Whether you all die, they do not mind governing just the land. You must know that if you read the story of revolution, you must sacrifice.
Another extract from his speech:
“We gave the President (Jonathan in 2011) nearly two million votes, let him tell us one project he has done for us. I have challenged the President that I belong to the APC.
“If he wants Rivers people to vote for him, let him give Kalabari people back their oil wells and I will come back (to the PDP). He cannot. The President cannot. Instead, he will take more.”
Moreover. Amaechi admonished the people, especially his teeming supporters, to be prepared for the struggle ahead, stating that on elections’ days, the “oppressors” would come with tanks and policemen, but urged them to stand and watch their votes.
“I am facing power. They should tell us what they are doing. We are prepared for a debate with them. “In Etche, they have taken our 41 oil wells across (to Abia State). They are denying us our rights. We have suffered enough.
“I suffered and my children suffered, but today we are in government. If you listen to them closely, our brothers, who are on the other side, they are hungry. They have been out of power for nearly eight years.
“If you vote them into power, what will happen? They will steal all the money. They are broke. The ones that are not broke, that are in government, they are busy stealing and building mansions everywhere. They have no fear. I have never seen corruption like this in Nigeria before.
Amaechi recalled the current corruption scandal, referring to the accusations by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), and bottled water project,accusing Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of failure to sign it off. He said:
“They do not want to sign. They want you to die of water-borne diseases.”
The Chief Felix Obuah-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, through the Special Adviser to the Chairman on Media, Jerry Needam, however, alleged that Amaechi was no longer relevant in the Niger Delta state’s political calculation.
Gen. Buhari said:
“I congratulate the people of Rivers State for moving to the APC. The fundamental thing is one Nigeria. In spite of our differences, we have found ourselves as one people. Nigeria is a country with tremendous resources and talented people, but we are unable to organise ourselves to raise this country.
“The efforts we are making is for Nigeria. We have to put the party firmly on the ground. We will do everything constitutional to make sure that 2015 elections are credible. We are in an extremely difficult position, where a government is lawless. Courageous Amaechi has done well. Let us support him.
The chairmen of the 23 local government areas of Rivers State, led by the Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers chapter, Chimbiko Iche Akarolo, came with thousands of their supporters to the stadium, and were singing, drumming and dancing.
Akarolo, who is also the Chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Council, described Amaechi as the symbol and pillar of democracy in Nigeria, assuring them that the people would continue to support him.