|Eze Chukwuemeka Eze|
“Not minding the appropriate reaction by the APC on the misguided statement by the Rivers State PDP, the aim of this treatise becomes imperative as I attempt in this write-up to present the facts for you the reader to ascertain out of these three great sons of Niger Delta (Jonathan, Amaechi and Wike) who truly betrayed the Niger Delta region and her people. I am carrying this task after working at close quarters with these three key characters and most importantly being propelled with the burning patriotic desire to always educate the public on related issues and politics of Niger Delta region but before I go further on this task, let me take permission from you the reader, particularly those who may not know these characters properly, to present them to you accordingly”.
The main aim of this treatise is to unearth, among (Jonathan, Amaechi and Wike) three key sons of Niger Delta region of Nigeria who is or are the detractor(s) and betrayer(s) of the region. For avoidance of doubt, Niger Delta region comprises nine states, namely: Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo and Abia.
On the other hand, this treatise will concern itself with the major political actors and actions in Rivers State, as the state was the main theatre of the political war in the Niger Delta region, both now and in the past. The State is one of the 36 States of the federation, while its capital, Port Harcourt is the largest city in the region and is economically significant as the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry. The fact remains that Rivers State has over the years evolved as the oil and gas nerve-centre of Nigeria. It has a growing population of about 5.1 million (the sixth most populous state in the country) and an impressive GDP of 21.07 billion USD – which is bigger than that of most African countries, such as Botswana, Rwanda, Nambia, Lesotho, etc. The enviable economic and socio-political scorecard of Rivers State has made it a war theatre, occasioned by some unscrupulous politicians that use the youths to cause deaths and mayhem among the citizenry of the state and the region at large. Because of the significance of this city, the Niger Delta region is confronted with security challenges, especially illegal bunkering, piracy, cultism, oil pipeline destruction, kidnapping, armed robbery, political killings, etc.
In this treatise therefore, I will be relying mainly on three key releases: the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) press statement alleging or rather accusing Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as betraying the Niger Delta region; the reaction of Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) refuting the PDP stand, stating that instead it is Dr Jonathan Goodluck and Governor Nyesom Wike, that are the main culprits in this regard. I will also present the communiqué issued by the Amaechi-influenced peace imitative aimed at finding solutions to the restive state of the Niger Delta region, which was the issue of confrontation between the PDP and APC promoters. At the end of your reading, you will be left to judge who among these three key sons have actually betrayed the region.
PDP’s allegation against Amaechi
Now that the aim of this study is defined, let me for avoidance of any doubt state that the idea to write on this issue of betrayal stemmed from the PDP statement of Tuesday, September 27, 2016, issued by Jerry Needam on behalf of his boss, Bro Felix Obuah, chairman of the Rivers State chapter of PDP. Though the statement was not titled, it was the party’s reaction to the peace initiative engineered by Rt. Hon Amaechi, erstwhile governor of Rivers State and current Federal Minister of Transportation, to restore peace to the restive region of Niger Delta.
According to PDP, “The vaunted Niger Delta Peace Initiative by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, is another hidden device to test the waters for his political ambition in 2019. The purported peace initiative is a ruse, as the forum is an assemblage of All Progressives Congress’ members put together to try to see if Amaechi’s huge credibility problem could be redeemed. The people of Niger Delta whom Amaechi has grossly betrayed can never be deceived again and need not be told that the purported peace initiative is true to speculations, the mechanism Amaechi hopes to use to actualise his 2019 political ambition.
“Though he is day-dreaming, we are however, shocked that Amaechi, who has shamelessly brought so much insult to the people of Niger Delta, playing a major role in pushing out the son of the Niger Delta as the president of this country, in preference to his new-found love, and killer of his kinsmen (no thanks to the military invasion of Rivers State) will, against all odds, be nursing the ambition to launch a come-back to the region, after inflicting so much pains and agony on the people.”
Rivers APC’s reaction
The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress aptly replied the venomous statement of PDP – on a man well known for his peaceful disposition – in its release of Wednesday, September 28, entitled “R/S PDP ‘Basket of Deplorables’ Must Leave Chibuike Amaechi Alone’ – R/S APC,” issued by its state publicity secretary, Chief Chris Finebone, which reads: “The attention of the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has been drawn to a press statement by the Chairman of Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, Felix Obuah, and signed by his media aide, Jerry Needam, claiming that the recently convened Niger Delta stakeholders engagement meeting under the auspices of the Initiative for Peace, Governance and Development of the Niger Delta, was a platform for the Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to burnish his political agenda. Ordinarily, the temptation is to ignore this PDP basket of deplorables who delight themselves with all manner of obscene immoderation every now and then. However, it is important to protect innocent Rivers people and Nigerians from the malevolent propaganda these diminished characters shamelessly place in public domain, by rolling back their mischief with discreet facts. A cursory reading of the PDP statement reveals an incoherent and disjointed write-up that can only come from authors who so urgently require medical look-in by the best hands that can be found around here.
“The few issues that can be pieced together from the statement point to the fact that Obuah and the PDP in Rivers State are still hurting from the exit of former President Jonathan from power. The APC would like to advise the PDP people to take another look at the national voting demographics of 2015 elections, and it will dawn on them that nothing [including massively rigged votes from Rivers State] would have saved the former president from defeat. Much more than that, the statement, in some ways, underscores the nexus between the hurting of 2015 election to wailing wailers, the spate of destruction of oil installations by the Avengers and other restive youths in the Niger Delta, and the recent blowing up of Shell trunk line to Bonny Export Terminal. Little wonder the PDP in Rivers State fails to see the need for peace, which the Abuja meeting was meant to bring about in the Niger Delta. Is anyone still wondering those behind the ongoing bombing and bursting of pipelines in the Niger Delta?
“The only other issue that can be deduced from the infantile seven-paragraph statement makes reference to betrayal of the Niger Delta by Amaechi, because the latter joined the APC and contributed his bit to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. It is sad that an individual that sold his soul to Satan and connived with Wike to steal a political party structure in broad daylight could muster the courage to talk about betrayal. What betrayal can be more than that exhibited by a man that was shot and left to die but was rescued and flown abroad to save his life. The same man turned around later to bite the hand that God used to save him. Indeed, Obuah should not forget to tell his children the true story of his miserable life.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known to all that Amaechi as governor of Rivers State never had differences with former President Jonathan over personal matters. Whether on the vexed issue of NLNG Train 7, which the former president refused to approve or the matter of Soku oil wells that were taken and handed to Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Abia states, and many other touchy issues, Amaechi was only driven by the oath of office he took to protect lives and property of Rivers people as governor. No more!
“If really the issue is about betrayal, it was, indeed, former President Jonathan that betrayed Amaechi, Rivers people and Niger Deltans. His betrayal is typified by the state of the East-West Road during his administration, the Bomu-Bonny road, the Port Harcourt International Airport, Soku oil wells, refusal to refund N105 billion spent on Federal Roads by Rivers State Government, and many other issues too numerous to be listed here. On the ridiculous reference to Amaechi’s supposed ambition for 2019, such contemplation only exists in the terribly deluded mind and helplessly battered imagination of Obuah and his cohorts. Amaechi does not harbour nor has he told anyone that he is nursing any political ambition come 2019. That is not how the minister is wired politically.
“The APC wishes to advise Bro Obuah and the PDP to find a more meritorious pastime to engage themselves in, so as to subdue the cheap craving to drag an innocent man down – a task that is clearly beyond their station and reach.”
Below is the Communiqué issued at the end of the Niger Delta Stakeholders Engagement Meeting Under the Auspices of the Initiative For Peace, Governance And Development of The Niger Delta Region on 24th September, 2016 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to discuss pressing issues relating to peace and sustainable development in the region and collectively fashion out pragmatic strategies to chart a way forward.
After very frank discussions and extensive deliberations, the meeting agreed to focus on coordinating, as well as deepening efforts to restore peace and ensure sustainable development in the region. The meeting reiterated the fact that insecurity still remains the biggest challenge to development in the region and that concerted efforts must be made to restore security and peace in the region; while recognising the constitutional responsibility of the Federal Government as the ultimate guarantor of peace and security anywhere across the nation.
To this end, the meeting resolved as follows:
1. To resume a robust and comprehensive engagement strategy with all levels of government and service providers in the Niger Delta region, in pursuit of projects and programs that will promote the aforementioned objectives.
2. To engage citizens, traditional institutions, non-governmental and other relevant organisations to foster relationships and partnerships to promote crisis resolution and guarantee peace in the short-to-medium-term as a means to sustainable development.
3. To identify relevant sub-themes and form clusters for action (C4A), to advance solutions to the challenges in the region.
4. To inaugurate a technical committee to engage with all stakeholders, especially the aggrieved and agitating youths, to ensure sustainable peace, security and development of the region. The meeting acknowledged and commended the contributions and efforts of the Chief E K Clarke’s committee in pursuit of dialogue and peace in the region and to urge the technical committee to work with Clarke’s committee for the actualisation of this objective.
5. That it be, and was indeed, set up a 3-man committee to examine the issues relating to the proposed Maritime University in Okerenkoko and advice the meeting and the Ministry of Transportation for the purpose of engaging the Presidency on a way forward.
6. To reconvene every other month to evaluate progress and respond to any emerging issues.
The meeting also resolved as follows:
i. That the Statutory contributions due to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the Federal Government and all stakeholders should be paid.
ii. That the Niger Delta Development Commission should rebrand, reform and refocus to become the Regional Development Commission that it was envisaged to be rather than the contract awarding body that is now appears to be.
The communiqué was duly signed by both political leaders across the political divides, religious and traditional, business men and stakeholders from the region on 24th September, 2016.
Why this Task?
Not minding the appropriate reaction by the APC on the misguided statement by the Rivers State PDP, the aim of this treatise becomes imperative as I attempt in this write-up to present the facts for you the reader to ascertain out of these three great sons of Niger Delta (Jonathan, Amaechi and Wike) who truly betrayed the Niger Delta region and her people. I am carrying this task after working at close quarters with these three key characters and most importantly being propelled with the burning patriotic desire to always educate the public on related issues and politics of Niger Delta region but before I go further on this task, let me take permission from you the reader, particularly those who may not know these characters properly, to present them to you accordingly.
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCON
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is of the Ijaw nation extraction in the South-south region of Nigeria and the first Head of State of Nigeria from the region. He graduated from University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) with a second-class upper division degree in zoology. A university don and first Nigerian Head of State with a doctorate. He is Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON and was President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for five years. He has the singular honour to be the first and only Nigerian to be a Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President of Federal Republic of Nigeria for less than six years; a feat that does not come easy.
A quiet and unassuming gentleman but a deadly tactician when pushed to the wall: many great politicians who have tasted his bitter pills can attest to this. His strength leans more on his perceived weakness. He is not the ambitious type but fate continues to thrust on him higher responsibilities that he never schemed for. His refusal or inability to control the excesses of his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan and Nyesom Wike, his erstwhile Minister of State for Education, caused the termination of his second bid for the office of President of Nigeria during the 2015 general elections. Also, his inability to keep his distance or rather act as a statesman in the macabre dance that took place in Rivers State where the then Governor Amaechi was so undermined, contributed so much to his current political travail and ouster from office. He made history by becoming one of the very few African leaders and first Nigerian President to hand over power peacefully to an opposition political leader, President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015, after losing the general elections. He has since leaving office monitored general elections in some African countries.
Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, OON
Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is an indigene of Ubima-Ikwerre in Rivers State. His rise to his present political status is as mysterious and unexpected as that of President Jonathan. A Master’s Degree holder, Amaechi was the first Nigerian to be the Speaker of a State House of Assembly for eight years and later became chairman of Conference of Speakers Forum an umbrella body of all Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria. His assumption of office as the Governor of Rivers State, though his political party PDP dumped him after convincingly winning the ticket of the party during the primaries of the party until the Supreme Court restored him as the Governor of Rivers State still seems a mystery to many political watchers in the country. By May 2015 he spent eight years as the Governor of Rivers State. He stands as the only Nigerian to be the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for two terms. He is currently the Minister of Transportation of Nigeria. His unprecedented feats in transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards and respect of great world and Nigerian leaders.
He was the rallying force behind mobilising the governors under PDP to support the presidential aspiration of President Jonathan during the PDP Presidential Primaries that produced Jonathan as the PDP Flag-bearer and during the 2011 presidential election proper ensured that President Jonathan got over 2million votes from Rivers State the highest by another state in Nigeria. A misunderstood but an amiable personality; his forthrightness and boldness to stand by the truth attracts so much enemies to him particularly those who can’t withstand his manner of approach to result oriented feats.
Amaechi, holder of the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), is a Christian of the Catholic faith where he is a Knight of St John. Amaechi was appointed Director-General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation. The team led the party to victory in the March 28, 2015 presidential election in which a sitting president was defeated for the first time. He is currently the Minister of Transportation.
Chief Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike
Chief Nyesom Wike, an indigene of Rumuwike Ikwerre, is a lawyer by profession, a political tactician of note and strategist of the first order. He was the National President of All Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) from 2003 – 2006, the umbrella Forum through which all the 774 Local Government Council Chairmen in Nigeria interface and interact on issues affecting the Politics and policies of Nigeria, while from 1999-2007 he was the Executive Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government in Rivers State, an office he used to redefine and exhibit his special brand of governance. He constructed the Local Government Secretariat that stands as one of the best in Nigeria and a great edifice to behold. His tenure witnessed various developmental initiatives in the local government and he is remembered most especially for empowering a lot of youths, elderly women and men, the physically challenged. An ardent hand at grassroots mobilisation, He is credited together with former Governor Amaechi of founding the formidable political vanguard in Rivers State – the Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM) that decides and determines to a large extent the political tide in the state. He was later appointed Chief of Staff to former Governor Amaechi from 2007 to 2011 and from 2011 appointed by President Jonathan as the Minister of State for Education, based on the recommendation of Amaechi. His efforts to be a pivotal and rallying point in PDP are becoming a very difficult task. He was at the centre of the macabre dance and political upheaval in Rivers State. He is currently the Executive Governor of Rivers State, based on Supreme Court ruling.
What is Amaechi to Jonathan?
Reminiscing to the facts available to me show that Jonathan and Amaechi – raised in humble families and experienced the pains of being educated by poor parents. President Jonathan won the hearts of Nigerians with his expose that he was that student who trekked to school without a pair of shoes, while Governor Amaechi also won hearts by revealing that he had a sandal and one pair of trouser which he washed every weekend to be used the following week for the major part of his undergraduate days. The two political leaders are products of UNIPORT and are among the Port Harcourt big boys.
Although President Jonathan is the older of the two, Amaechi has greater political experience. He has been in politics right from his days in the university, eventually becoming the only Nigerian that was Speaker of a State House of Assembly for eight years and at the same time Chairman, Conference of Speakers in Nigeria, while later becoming Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). President Jonathan, on the other hand, is the first PhD holder (not honorary) to preside over the affairs of the country and the only Nigerian that left the academic environment where he was a lecturer after having a stint with the defunct OMPADEC and rose to become a deputy governor, governor, vice-president and president – all without contesting a single election, apart from the general election of 2011. He lost that of 2015.
Talking of the significance of their names, Chibuike means “God is all Powerful” and “Rotimi” an abridged version of “Oluwadurotimi” meaning “the Lord stands by me”, while Amaechi means “who knows tomorrow?” On the other hand, Ebelechukwu which is the native name of Dr Jonathan means “God’s Mercy”. Remember the popular phrase, what is in a name? One does not need to be a sage to know that all the meanings embedded in their names are playing out nicely in their lives.
While former President Jonathan as the Vice President of Nigeria was suffering every humiliation in the hands of the cabal during the Umaru Yar’Adua-led administration, Amaechi proved to be a reliable pillar of support behind him. When President Yar’Adua passed on and Jonathan was being pushed around, Amaechi was among those in the forefront of ensuring that the then Vice-President Jonathan assumed office as the President when the National Assembly out of their wisdom came up with the ‘Doctrine of Necessity.’
During the 2011 general election, Amaechi, not minding some other options available to him, opted to rally other governors to ensure that President Jonathan won the PDP ticket; and during the election proper, Amaechi delivered two million votes from the state to ensure that Dr Jonathan got elected as the 14th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Not done with all this affection to his own brother with whom he shares some invisible bond not known to many Nigerians, Amaechi went ahead even while Jonathan was the Vice-President to ask him to nominate candidates to his cabinet in Rivers State. This resulted in the nomination of Prof Israel Owate, who was once the President’s classmate, as Commissioner for Education. Unfortunately, Owate could not drive the vision of the governor on education as fast as he wanted, so he was dropped. Amaechi requested a replacement from Jonathan, who this time nominated Mr Moses Ahubele, who manned the Ministry of Empowerment and Employment Generation till he died after an illness in the later part of 2010. After the 2011 general elections, Amaechi requested from Jonathan and he graciously nominated Mr Charles Okaye, who served as the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community-related Affairs till he left office on 29th May, 2015.
What is Amaechi to Wike?
That Chief Wike’s ambition to succeed Amaechi as the governor of Rivers State started from his days as chief of staff may be shocking to most political watchers, but the fact remains that while Amaechi was busy providing dividends of democracy to the people, Wike, on the other hand, was busy undermining him and using the connections and goodwill of the Rivers State Government not only to station his men in strategic positions in government, but to empower most of them financially through award of contracts, initiation and other means. He tested the ground of his ambition when he was appointed director-general for the re-election of Amaechi as governor of Rivers State in 2011. He ensured that only his men were appointed to strategic fields to serve as key mobilisers at the grassroots’ level. By the time he was appointed minister of state in the Ministry of Education, based on the recommendation of Amaechi to Dr Jonathan, Wike went further with his gubernatorial ambition plot by forming the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), a political pressure group he used to deceive the public, that it was formed to assist in the re-election of then President Jonathan; but, in fact, the outfit was formed to pursue his gubernatorial ambition. He used the outfit to formally recruit his foot soldiers for the battle ahead. This body was heavily financed and motivated, and its presence was established in all the constituencies of Rivers State.
It was this group that he used to dislodge over 11 key Peoples Democratic Party members that wanted to contest the 2015 governorship election under the PDP platform. Those that wanted to play games were properly beaten up and molested at the party’s national secretariat at Abuja. Before this time, Wike, based on political exigency, tactfully suppressed his gubernatorial ambition from public view. Instead, he offered himself as a tool to spearhead the political battle between Jonathan and Amaechi. He gave everything within him to execute this, with the PDP ticket as a target.
How the plot against Amaechi was hatched
Genesis of the creation of and manufacture of the in-fight with Amaechi, by Jonathan and Wike, stemmed from claims and rumour developed and spread around by members of their camp to win the hearts of Niger Delta people to their devious plot. That is, that the then Governor Amaechi will contest the office of the president or vice president with a candidate from the northern part of the country in 2015, thereby truncating the second-term ambition of President Jonathan who is from the same geo-political zone (South-south). This strategy sold like wild fire in the region. And, based on this evil assumption, Jonathan, using Wike as a tool, created the type of Rivers State and Niger Delta region where lives make no meaning, and the economy of the nation is being destroyed
Further acts of hostility by Jonathan and Wike
Despite Amaechi’s show of love to former President Jonathan, in order to humiliate and annihilate him politically, the following steps, among others, were adopted: A private jet of the Rivers State Government was grounded for no just cause; the PDP structure in Rivers State was taken away from Amaechi; his election as Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, which was duly certified and widely acknowledged, was annulled by President Jonathan and his cohorts; he also supported the destruction of the once vibrant NGF by supporting 16 governors against 19. Besides, on May 27, 2013 Amaechi was suspended from the PDP, a party he so much loved and spent so much to build. They followed this up with his expulsion. Indeed, if not for divine providence, he would have been illegally impeached by five legislators (Chinda, Kelechi Godspower Nwogu (Omuma), Evans Bapakaye Bipi (Ogu/Bolo), Martins Amaewhule (Obio/Akpor I) and Victor Ihunwo (Port Harcourt III) who were loyal to the then Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, in a House of 32 members. Jonathan withdrew the security details attached to Amaechi. As if these were not enough, the ex-president used state power to prevent Amaechi, then a sitting governor, from reaching Ekiti, in the South-western part of the country, to support the re-election of Dr Kayode Fayemi, because they were in the opposition then. Above all, a Police Commissioner, Mr Joseph Mbu, was posted to Rivers State to haunt, harass, torment, insult and abuse Amaechi publicly.
How Jonathan and Wike forced Amaechi out of PDP, thereby ending the presidential ambition of Jonathan
The desperation of the PDP leadership to completely destroy Amaechi led to his departure, alongside six other PDP governors, to form the New PDP, with five of them later joining the opposition parry, APC. Explaining why he joined APC, Amaechi said: “Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South-south and, indeed, as Rivers people. At various times, as the one whom you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our state and our people, despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP. While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.
“A few instances may suffice: Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us; only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned.
“In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal Government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.
“A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The ‘National Good Governance Tour’ provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, proved that there was not much to show in a state that is the cash-cow of the federation. The East-West Road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and commissioned. The Bonny-Bomu Road that leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains uncompleted. In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to fix federal roads to the tune of N103 billion. Several representations and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid. The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State.”
Apart from all the listed attacks against Niger Delta region because of his hatred for Amaechi, Jonathan took the proposed biggest dockyard in Africa meant for Bonny in Rivers State to Lagos State. When he lost the election, he revoked the project that was already 40 per cent done. He equally stopped the implementation of the cleaning up of Ogoni land, renovation of the Port Harcourt International Airport as well as repair of major federal roads in the state. To Wike and his misguided Rivers State PDP, Dr Jonathan is the hero of Niger Delta!
Wike, through the then infamous CP Joseph Mbu, heartlessly dispersed 13,000 teachers who gathered to receive their employment letters, aided the five renegade lawmakers to attempt the impeachment of the then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, barricaded and sealed the State Assembly for one legislative year and even blocked the access road to Government House on one occasion, preventing Amaechi and his visitors from using the road. Wike, with the backing of the then First Lady Patience Jonathan, ordered his thugs to stone state governors who visited Rivers in solidarity with Amaechi for the humiliation he suffered under the watchful eyes of then-President Jonathan. Wike later used the police and the army to forcefully break into the newly-constructed stadium, just to prove his powers.
Wike’s desperation to drag Amaechi’s name in the mud, in order to frustrate his nomination or appointment as a minster, made him (Wike) to sponsor a satanic documentary on Amaechi, aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). This documentary was part of Wike’s propaganda war against Amaechi, for which he earmarked billions of naira in his plot to destroy the person and character of Amaechi. Other propaganda tools planned and deployed during this period, in the war against Amaechi, include sponsored publications such as advertorials, columns, editorials and Op-Ed articles in major international, national and local print media; sponsored personality discussion programmes in the electronic media and sponsored special documentaries on television and radio through independent groups and organisations.
Other insidious plots by Wike to undermine Amaechi include commissioning a team made up of persons within and outside Rivers State to initiate, formulate and contrive false, damaging reports bordering on alleged corrupt practices by Amaechi, which were circulated to individuals and institutions within Nigeria and abroad with a view to damaging the character and rising profile of Amaechi, in order to blackmail and put pressure on President Buhari not to appoint him into his government. These cooked reports, to the shock of many Nigerians, was sent to the Senate and presented through one misguided former Senator Thompson Sekibo, which the Senate referred to its Ethics Committee, which caused the delay in Amaechi’s screening and confirmation as a minister. Amaechi has through both the immediate past Secretary to the Rivers State Government, George Feyi, and the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Chamberlain Peterside, and others denied any form of corruption against him by Wike and his cohorts.
Wike did not stop at these but went further to set up Justice George Omereji Panel, to investigate the administration of ex-governor Amaechi. Though the panel did not found any wrong-dealing, or corrupt practices by Amaechi, Wike went ahead to issue a white paper indicting him of embezzling the sum of N53 billion, How on earth can someone in his right senses describe funds withdrawn with the approval of the legislature and spent as prescribed by the state budget to be missing? Wike, in his desperation to stop Amaechi’s appointment as a minister, resorted to dancing naked in the market place.
But, as God will have it, and contrary to the expectations of Governor Wike and his gang of ingrates, their ferocious campaign to blackmail, disparage and portray Amaechi as a very corrupt person unfit to be appointed as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria failed to achieve the desired objective. On September 30, 2015 President Buhari went ahead to list and submitted Chibuike Amaechi along with 20 other Nigerians as ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.
And to the shock and chagrin of Wike and his cohorts, the Senate, after three sittings on the screening of the ministerial nominees, screened Amaechi on October 22, 2015 and formally confirmed him on October 29, 2015. He was subsequently sworn-in with the 35 other ministers on Wednesday November 11, 2015, by President Buhari, who as a further mark of confidence in the ‘Lion of NIGER DELTA’ assigned to him the strategically important Ministry of Transportation.
Apart From the Niger Delta Region, Jonathan Refused To Develop the South East
According to the Vanguard Newspapers of 7th, October, 2016 titled “Jonathan did not treat the Igbo well – Ekwueme! - http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/10/jonathan-didnt-treat-igbo-well-ekwueme/
Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Vice President of Nigeria from 1979-1983 captured the feelings of the South Easterners thus, "He told me this himself. So, he had every reason to be fair-minded and equitable in his distribution of resources. But we could not go from Enugu to Onitsha on a federal road, you couldn’t go from Enugu to Port-Harcourt on a federal road, we couldn’t go from Aba to Okigwe on a federal road; you couldn’t go from Owerri on the federal road. None of the federal roads in the Southeast was motorable".. This is the height of the type of administration Jonathan rendered to Nigeria.
I am ashamed that some disgruntled elements can take pleasure in destroying the facilities that convey oil, the mainstay of our national economy, because of politics. It is disheartening to note that the myopic leaders of PDP in Rivers State instead of praising Amaechi for assembling such South-south stakeholders under the umbrella of the Initiative for Peace, Governance and Development of the South-South in order to proffer solutions to the current destruction of the oil pipelines and ecosystem of our region, they are instead attempting to become obstacle for peace to be restored to the restive region because of their involvement and promotion of the insecurity situation in Niger Delta.
I commend all those working with Amaechi on this latest peace move, urging them to be guided by the biblical admonition found in Matthew Chapter 5 verse 9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
I totally agree with Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, a recipient of the national honour, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), that “Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is the new face of the emerging leadership in tackling the challenging issues of the Niger Delta. His emerging leadership of the South-south is by popular acclamation.”
Finally, let me concluded this treatise by quoting the Nation Newspaper in its editorial of July 12th, 2014 entitled ‘Jonathan’s rivers of shame’ that: “The theatre of the absurd unfolding in Rivers State should give any patriotic and peace-loving Nigerian a sense of foreboding. With impunity in the air, the Constitution in peril and official stamp from the high office of the Presidency, the moral legitimacy of this republic is fast sliding downhill. By the week and recently by the day, the conflict between Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and President Goodluck Jonathan, imbues the nation with nausea. Respect for law has swapped places with brigandage, and the average Nigerian watches as the President engages in a bestial war of proxies. The recent development has all the trappings of déjà vu. The first open show of power was the order to strand Governor Amaechi’s aircraft. The Presidency failed to cloak it as a matter of technical procedure without political undertone. Findings from investigations have exposed not only the imbecilities of the aviation authorities but also revealed them as couriers of malicious orders. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum election has showcased, more than any other evidence, the desperation of the President. After defying the rules of aircraft landing, the necessity for peace, he and his proxy governors defied the purity of arithmetic by making 16 superior to 19 votes. He executed that anomaly purely in bungled bid to remove Governor Amaechi as chairman of the NGF. He also inspired the factionalisation of the group such that his loyalists now formed a parallel forum.”
All said and done, it is left to you the reader to decide who among these three leaders from Niger Delta region truly betrayed the region based on the above documentations. Is it Jonathan who publicly acknowledged during the last general elections that he did not develop or embarked upon on any meaningful project in Niger Delta region to avoid been accused of developing his region of origin by people from the other regions of Nigeria or Wike who has turned the peaceful Rivers State to Rivers of blood where your membership of APC marks you as an animal to be slaughtered whenever he wants or Amaechi who assembled great sons and daughters of Niger Delta region to find a way out of the restiveness of the region? The judgement is yours the READER!
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org