As 2011 elections draw closer, the political landscape in Rivers State seems to be favourable for a peaceful transition. Various political parties would be jostling for elective offices, while others would be ready to accept voters verdict for losing control of the seat of governance.
Interestingly, however, the incumbent Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi will be seeking for a second term from the electorate, who had graciously benefited from his democratic revolution in the state.
But the opposition groups are determined and ready to step on his toes to stop his governoship ambition, despite his turning the state into investors destination, within the short period on the saddle of leadership.
No doubt, there lies ahead a political mine field, fluid political situation and frantic scenario to determine who occupies what elective position in all the segments of the electoral process, come 2011.
A cross section of political observers believed that Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has exhibited boldness, fearlessness, transparent accountability and courage in the administration of the state, therefore he deserves a second tenure to consolidate his achievements.
He is a man of vision for a great new Rivers State and they also believe that with Amaechi as a role model, akin to that of Bill Newman’s leadership concept, he, has what it takes to be a leader.
Amaechi is constantly challenged by his vision of the world around him and being compelled to make a mark of difference through the force of his ideas, desires and resources of the state for the benefit of the people.
But being a follower of Bill Newman’s leadership concept many had described some of his perceived actions as lacking in tact, diplomacy and cultivation of friendship, especially with the opposition groups in the state.
Obviously, within the PDP fold, Governor Amaechi has diligently entrenched due process as the hallmark of his admiration to the administration of the majority of the people in the state.
Successive governments in the state have tried their best to develop the state, yet little successes were recorded until now. But no government or administration has had the political will, strength of character and the determination to transform the state.
The government is committed to fast tracking development and transforming dividends of good governance to the people to ensure that the people are economically empowered through job opportunities, infrastructural development, and addressing the underdevelopment.
Governor Amaechi and political faithfuls are placing their hopes upon the achievements of his administration in various areas, such as restoration of peace and security, developmental strides in such areas as building of modern schools infrastructure, primary health centres, massive roads construction and reconstruction across the state.
Mr. Joseph Chukwu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart from Omuma Local Government Area said Amaechi’s achievements speak for him and his second coming as Governor.
He said “Rivers people want Amaechi back for second term in office based on his achievements in office.
Mr. Joseph Chukwu added that the Governor has the structures of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under his control in Rivers State, stressing that “we will ensure that our party delegates from the 319 wards vote for his second term slot as the PDP flagbrearer for the 2011 governorship election in the state”.
According to Mr. Young Harry the 2011 governorship race in the state might be a straight fight between the riverine people of the state and the upland, adding that now that “Dr. Abiye Sekibo had declared his interest in the Governorship position on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the political equation of voting pattern will certainly change”
The historian emphasised that besides riverine and upland dichotomy, the issue of accountability and management of the people’s collective patrimony will influence the voting pattern of the people.
However, Amaechi political family known as “the Believers” are economically empowered in the various Local Government Areas, thus making any challenge to wrest power from them, an uphill tasks to the opposition groups in the state.
Recently at Okrika, the former Secretary to the State Government and former Minister of Transport,Dr.Abiye Sekibo decamped to join the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) where he is seeking to actualise his ambition of being elected the Governor of Rivers State come 2011.
Dr. Sekibo declared that he left PDP to join, ACN because of what he described as “lack of internal democracy in PDP,” promising to work hard for the development of the state on the platform of the ACN.
Also speaking, one of the leaders of opposition groups in the state and former Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Lolo Ibieneye said: “We are not opposition group in the state, we are the real authentic members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that worked tirelessly for the victory of the party in 2007 in the state.” He stressed that “we are only demanding for fairness and recognition as the authentic members of our great party (PDP), we are in control of the structures of the party in the 23 local government Areas of the state.”
However, the political situation in the state is set for a fierce titanic political battle, between the forces loyal to the incumbent Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, his political believers’ group, and forces loyal to the trio of former Governors, Sir Peter Odili, Sir Celestine Omehia and Sir Austin Opara for the control of Rivers State government machinery during the 2011 elections.
Interestingly, all the major political gladiators were originally members of one political family right from the 1999 political dispensation, “The Restoration Team.” But as the political axiom always goes, there is no permanent enemy but permanent interests in politics.
The race promised also to be issues oriented as a nascent group, the Rivers State Project (RSP) is equally demanding an end to the politics of exclusion that breaks the state into camps, marginalising and humiliating certain groups, creating disaffection and making true reconciliation difficult after abated conflict.
Annkio Briggs said “it remains the alienable right of Rivers people to decide who will represent them through one man one vote”
Meanwhile, a member of the state executive of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State who pleaded anonymity said the battle for the governorship of the state is going to be a tough political battle as right now the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government of the PDP is in clear contention.
He declared, in our last Tuesday meeting at the party secretariat we were seriously working to checkmate the spread of CAN in Rivers State, we don’t want to lose our PDP members to the ACN party. We shall ensure that the feeling of our members are addressed for internal democracy in our party.
He stressed further, we have challenges but we shall overcome with internal unity with our PDP. We shall reconciled with our estranged members to go into election comes 2011 with one family and one united party.
The party executive added “that PDP in Rivers State shall soon set up a committee of the party’s elders to reconcile the various aggrieved members of the party.
He said PDP cannot afford to lose Rivers State to the opposition political party.
Also, a party stalwart and chieftain Oyigbo local government said PDP must seriously unite to face the opposition political parties. “He said there must be a total reconciliation for the party to present one common governorship candidate or else the days of PDP are over in Rivers State despite the achievements of Amaechi.
It is the general perspective of Rivers people that the divine will of God prevail for a God fearing leader to be elected to direct the affairs of the state and the various local councils.
2023: Wike’ll Not Foist Successor – Akawor
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor says the Governor Nyesom Wike will not impose any successor in the state.
He gave the assurance when he appeared on a radio programme tagged “Viewpoint” in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
The PDP chairman said the process of succession would be open to all the party members and stakeholders.
In his words,” the governor has made it clear that he cannot on his own decide who is going to succeed him. He runs a collegiate system and for now the time has not come.”
With a hitch- free local government elections concluded, Akawor noted that it was a prelude of what would obtain in 2023 as the PDP will consolidate its stronghold in Rivers State.
“ We believe that in 2023 we will tell Rivers people what we have done and not what we will do. There is no local government area that the governor has not completed up to two projects,” he remarked.
On the alleged furore between Wike and PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the State PDP chairman said such claims were mere insinuations and not true.
He recalled that at a recent party function Wike and Secondus were seen together, and wondered where such stories were coming from.
Besides that, Akawor was of the view that disagreements were bound to happen in politics ,but that there was no love lost among the leaders currently.
He flaked the opposition for fanning embers of disunity amongst the people through propaganda which often pointed the state in bad light and discouraged investors.
Akawor called for continued support for the present administration in the state considering the huge investment on infrastructure and other sectors to boost the economy.
By: Kevin Nengia
PDP Berates Kogi Gov
The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kola Ologbondiyan, says Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State cannot point to any development project he implemented for the benefit of the people.
A statement signed by the Assistant Director (Head of Unit) Publicity Department of PDP, Richard Ihediwa, and made available to newsmen yesterday quoted Ologbondiyan as having said this during his tour of PDP formations in the state at the weekend.
He lamented that Governor Bello had “turned Kogi into the most backward state in the country, with infrastructural decay.”
“Yahaya Bello has done absolutely nothing to merit any form of commendation,” Ologbondiyan insisted.
He urged Bello to “utilise the resources of the people of Kogi State for their benefit, including infrastructural recovery as well as paying workers and pensioners.”
However, the state Commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, while reacting to the statement, said that the state government did not need to react when his Kabba people are already pointing to the massive road constructions in his home town.
He described Ologbondiyans statement as “reckless and false” who does not deserve the luxury of response from a serious government whose own people have seen the massive works going on in that part of the state and others.
“We thank his people in Kabba for coming out to point to the recklessly false statement by Ologbondiyan.
“His party recently said they were afraid of GYB ahead of 2023. So, they have possibly started hatching their plans. Unfortunately, they have started on a wrong note,” Fanwo noted.
“Continuing, he said, “When PDP was in power in Kogi, a governor refused to put electricity in his home town. GYB did it.
“In Ologbodiyan’s Senatorial District, GYB established the best rice mill in Nigeria, apart from other infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, water facilities and others.
“Today, over 200 communities are to be connected to the national grid in Kogi East in the next couple of months, as the project has reached 95 percent completion.
“Look at the massive road projects in Kabba, Omala, Olamaboro, Okene as well as healthcare infrastructure springing up everywhere.
“The Ganaja Junction Flyover is emerging into a masterpiece. We sympathise with Kola Ologbondiyan and his sinking party.
“Yahaya Bello has done and also doing what their parties failed to do over the years.”
Soludo: ‘INEC Must Redeem Self’
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to redeem itself and recognise ‘legitimate’ candidates of the party in the November 6 governorship election.
National Chairman of the party, Mr Victor Oye , who made the call on Saturday while briefing newsmen in Abuja said that there was only one APGA, which was led by him, with Labaran Maku as National Secretary.
The Tide reports that INEC had originally received the names of Chukwuma Soludo and his running mate, Mr Onyekachi Ibezim as candidates of APGA.
However, citing a court ruling, the electoral umpire dropped the names and replaced them with Chukwuma Umeoji and Obiageli Orogbu as the new candidates of APGA.
Reacting to the development, the APGA national chairman faulted the action of INEC in recognising an illegal body and illegal candidates.
He said that the party was one, had no faction and its leadership which came on board in May 2019 was the legitimate body of APGA at the national level.
“Our leadership was duly elected on May 31, 2019, in a well organised national convention in Awka, and attended by all the organs of the party expected to be at the convention.
“On the roll, we have 608 members of NEC but what you saw on June 25 was a contraction, they gathered men and women from the streets not up to 50 and they called it NEC meeting .
“Again, what INEC did, we were the first political party that uploaded the particulars of our governorship candidate and deputy to INEC on July 2, in accordance with the electoral act.
“According to section 313, of the electoral Act 2010 as amended, INEC is expected to have published that name within seven days of uploading of those particulars but they waited till July 15, 13 days after to concoct what they did on July 16, 2021.
“For me, the only way INEC can redeem their image is to reverse itself immediately, they should not wait for one minute.
“After all, there is a court judgment from Awka that has given them a soft landing, the judgment from Awka was very clear .
“The judgment solved all the legal puzzles you could ever think of, so what is holding INEC from implementing that,” he said.
He expressed hope that INEC in its proposed meeting on Tuesday, would reverse itself and recognise the right candidates.
Oye used the opportunity to stress that there was no crisis in the party, adding that APGA remained one and united.
He described those parading as a faction of the party as mere invaders.
“The thing is that we have invaders, they invaded our party, street urchins ‘with a master plan to destroy the party for the benefit of a particular aspirant’.
He said the aspirant in question had bought forms, attended the screening and was screened out, wrote a petition which was dismissed before resorting to forming a phantom group which he called the opposition of APGA.
“APGA has no other national chairman and no other national leadership except the one led by me as national chairman and his Mr Labaran Maku as the National Secretary.
“No other faction so to speak has the right, constitutional, legal or legitimate right to speak for our party.
“So the truth of the matter is that, out party is waxing stronger and stronger despite the distractions because the whole essence of what is happening is to distract us from focusing on victory in Anambra.
“They know that a united and undistracted APGA will win the election massively, they knew what happened in 2017 so they are afraid it will be repeated in 2021,” he said.
The APGA chairman, however, stressed that the party was taking due steps to ensure the right thing was done by INEC.
He said the party under his leadership had served INEC the court order which he noted that the commission had minuted to the relevant quarters.
“We have also written the Chairman of INEC, drawing his attention, calling all the legal odysseys, we had embarked upon from 2019 till date.
“Do not forget that we have a subsisting court judgment flowing from the Anambra Judiciary Awka division,” he said.
“The judgment was given in November 2019, giving the legality to the national convention conducted by our party that the convention that produced us as national officers of the
party, held on May 31, 2019.
“Why did INEC not bank on that judgment to publish the names of our candidates, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his deputy Dr Onyeakachi Ibezim.
“Why should INEC consider a judgment from Birnin Kudu Jigawa, 9,046 kilo meters from Akwa.
“That judgment did not say anything about me, the judgment was talking about Edozie Njoku. So the court sacked Edozie Njoku, it did not sack me. Edozie Njoku has never been the national chairman of APGA .
“There was a court order from Federal High court Awka, directing INEC to maintain the status quo and publish Soludo’s name as given to it on July 2, 2021 but INEC did not obey that court order.
“We served INEC the court judgment from Awka on November 2020, it did not obey it. INEC must do the right thing and publish the names of legitimate candidates of the party,” he said.
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