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Rivers Guber: Intrigues, Unveiling Of The ‘Battle Axes’

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2014 politics in Rivers State
ended not without major milestones in the activities of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the general elections slated for next month nationwide. But what started as gossips, political talk shops, then intrigues among the leadership and top notchers of APC and PDP, however, entered the crucial stage at the last quarters of 2014 when the political parties settled for their respective standard bearers.
First, it was the Rivers APC that unveiled its flag bearer for the gubernatorial race through a consensus arrangement that saw the emergence of Dakuku Adol Peterside, representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency at the House of Representatives.
Unlike PDP in Rivers State where no fewer than 20 aspirants are known to have indicated interest in being Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s successor, it was a rumour mill sort of in the state APC of who had his eyes at the Rivers Brick House after the incumbent occupant. The rumours centred around Dakuku Peterside and Senator Magnus Abe majorly, but both of them or any unknown pretender(s) incubated their governorship ambitions, perhaps for fear not to incur the wrath of “Oga at the top.”
The visit of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to Rivers State to solicit the support and votes of Rivers APC delegates to the party’s presidential convention/primary, however, provided the opportunity for Governor Amaechi and leader of APC in Rivers, to open the lid on the choice of APC’s governorship candidate and the lot fell on the Opobo-born politician, Dakuku Peterside. The consensus choice of Dakuku Peterside was ratified at the APC’s ‘yes-vote’ primary that followed days later.
Dakuku Peterside’s choice and his emergence as Rivers APC governorship candidate sparked protests by youths in some major streets of Port Harcourt. The youths believed to be of the Ogoni extraction had protested over what they called ‘dumping of Senator Magnus Abe for Dakuku Peterside for the APC gubernatorial ticket in Rivers State” and the alleged reneged of Governor Amaechi in his purported promise to the Ogonis to use their son (Abe) for the ticket.
Though, the protests did not record any casualty, it was a day the police and other security operatives would not forget in a hurry of how they worked assiduously to prevent what would have resulted in a major breach of peace around Government House, the seat of power. Acting in a manner that all was well, the camp of Dakuku Peterside promptly exonerated the Ogoni youths in their involvement in the unfortunate protests, but the dust generated is yet to settle. Political observers argue that it may never be the same again between APC and the Ogonis despite moves to reconcile the irreconcilables arising from the choice of Rivers APC governorship candidate.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial aspirants in Rivers did not hide their ambitions right from onset. They came in their numbers and when the whistle was blown for the intent and nomination forms, over 20 aspirants applied for the governorship ticket of the party. The screening committee that examined all the aspirants for the job gave its verdicts; clearing the former Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike and a few others and disqualified the bulk of the aspirants. Those cleared alongside Wike were Lee Maeba, Pawariso Samuel-Horsfall, Dumbari Ben Dimkpa and Atamuno Atamuno.
Nothing beats like politics but the losers did not allow the undercurrents of politics to carry them away just like that. They trooped to Abuja and protested to the appeal panel that subsequently gave them a clean bill of health to contest the governorship primary of PDP in the state. Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack, Tonye Princewill, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Nemi Walson-Jack, Bernard Mikko, Don Baridam, Dein Ajumogobia, Lancelot Ayanya and Sampson Ngerebara were among the aspirants cleared by the appeal panel to try luck at the primary.
At the Rivers PDP gubernatorial primary held at the premises of community secondary school, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, 16 of the governorship aspirants boycotted the primary on December 8, 2014, alleging that processes leading to the primary were faulty and unacceptable.
But the boycott did not in any way invalidate the result of the primary that saw the former minister of state for education elected overwhelmingly as the PDP battle axe for what the party called ‘rescue mission.’ Rivers PDP explained that it was determined in every legitimate electoral means to recover its lost mandate to APC following the defection of Governor Amaechi and the state apparatus to APC, hence the need for a rescue mission.
Wike, a two-term chairman of Obio/Akpor local government council and former chief of staff to Governor Amaechi determined to change the direction of the political wind in the state, he and the Felix Obuah-led PDP leadership in Rivers, however, adjusted the political seat and sails, apparently to reach the destination point of recovering Rivers State  from APC. That prompted the setting up of peace committees across the three senatorial districts to go all out and mend fences with the aggrieved members towards enhancing the party’s electoral chances. though a hard nut to crack, the Rivers PDP is optimistic that it would overcome its challenges as it did in the past before the general elections proper.
Even as the PDP leadership has not given any thing to chance to keep its house in order before the d-day, protest is still far from over. Only recently, Chief A.K. Horsfall-led Kalabari elders’ forum reopened the old wound when it gave a seven-day ultimatum for the national working committee (NWC) of PDP to substitute the governorship candidature of Wike with any Kalabari candidate in the interest of justice and fair play.
The reaction of Rivers PDP leadership over the ultimatum was prompt and understandable. In a press release, Obuah in an unmistaken terms accused Horsfall’s forum of playing the script even as he said what the forum asked was not feasible going by the transparency of the primary.
Barring any last minute somersault which many believe is not likely to happen, both the PDP and the APC appeared set to go into the governorship contest having baptized their candidates – Wike (PDP) and Peterside (APC) for the battle of Rivers Brick House.
As Wike and Peterside secured the driving seats of their respective parties, they also chose co-pilots or better put running mates for the governorship race. While Wike presented a female from Degema-Kalabari axis of Rivers State, Peterside unveiled a male from the Orashi area of the state.
Presenting Dr. Ipalibo Gogo Banigo , in a bold attempt at wooing women in the state, Wike explained that he decided to choose a woman as his running mate because of his desire to create room for women to play active role in the political and economic development of the state.
Though, the task of choosing his running mate took Wike some time because of what he described as “rot in the governance in the state,” the PDP guber candidate said the history of the state was awash with the input of women, but regretted that none had been given the opportunity to hold an office as high as that of the state deputy governor.
The time, according to Wike, has come to give women the chance to play active role in the politics of the state, and this informed the choice of Dr. Banigo whom Wike described as a rare breed and a leader with uncommon traits to join in the task of rebuilding the state.
“The Rivers PDP is determined to move away from the primordial era of treating women with disdain and indignity. We want to move away from the acts of our opponents, who relish giving out token to women. As a step, the Rivers PDP decided that a woman should occupy the post,” Wike said, while presenting Dr. Banigo – a senior medical practitioner, ex-permanent secretary, former Head of Service in the state and Secretary to the State Government.
Banigo, in his acceptance speech, expressed gratitude to the party and Wike for picking her as his running mate. The smile at her face did not betray her loyalty and commitment to drive along with Wike to Government House, God’s willing.
Pleasant luck came the way of Honourable Asita who hails from Okaki in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State as he was picked as Peterside’s running mate. Asita, a former commissioner for youth development during Dr. Peter Odili administration, is currently a member of the lower chambers of the National Assembly.
Adjusting to political realities, Buguma-born prince, Tonye Princewill did not allow the blow of political faith lie him low when he lost out amongst others at the PDP guber race. He moved on: this time to the Labour Party (LP) where he subsequently edged out other contenders in the race and secured the LP guber ticket.
Now that the coast is clear of who and who are contending for Amaechi’s shoe, it stands to reason that the acceptability of the political party in the state, the meaning the contenders bring into play and of course, the candidate’s grassroots support will largely determine which party and governorship candidate that will carry the crown of glory at the end of the day.

 

Samuel Eleonu

Dakuku Peterside, APC Guber Candidate and Nyesom Wike, PDP Guber Candidate

Dakuku Peterside, APC Guber Candidate and Nyesom Wike, PDP Guber Candidate

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Rivers Crisis: PDP Chairman Hails Jonathan’s Call For Truce

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The Lagos State chapter Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Philip Aivoji, has described former President Goodluck Jonathan’s call to end the political crisis in Rivers as commendable.
Mr Aivoji commended Jonathan  in an interview with The Tide‘s source on Monday in Lagos.
Recall that Jonathan had on Monday implored Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers  and his predecessor, (the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT) Chief Nyesom Wike, to sheathe their swords in order to douse the political temperature in the state.
The former president, who spoke at the inauguration of the N222.1 billion Trans-Kalabari Road construction, emphasised the necessity for Fubara and Wike to collaborate to promote the  progress and prosperity of Rivers State.
He noted that the political tension in the state was excessive and worrisome, and would not contribute to  development.
Jonathan said that destabilising Rivers State would adversely impact the Niger Delta region and could also trigger crises across the country.
Reacting to Jonathan’s admonition, Mr Aivoji described the former President as a man full of experience in mediation and conflict resolution, even at the international level.
“Jonathan is a leader in the party and a leader from South South; there is nothing wrong stepping in to broker peace. It is a good one,” the PDP boss said.
He, however, said that the former President should go further to speak the truth to the warring parties and point out  to each of them where they had erred.
“This is the way to settle issues. If we want to resolve it, we must tell the truth to them.
“The ex-President is an elder, he is an experienced person, who has been meditating in international affairs. Let us see how it goes,” he added.
According to him, the former President, being experienced mediator, must dig deep and probe the cause of the crisis.
“He (Jonathan) has seen it all. Peace of graveyard will not help the matter, they should resolve issues.
“We hope that the nitty-gritty will be looked into and the constitution of the party will be followed if they are true members of the party,” Aivoji said.

 

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Group Carpets Amaewhule Over Political Crisis In Rivers 

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A group, Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought (CORSLOT) has blamed the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Martins Amaewhule, for the escalation of the political crisis in the State.
The coalition, which stated this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, said Rivers State would not have been in its current political situation had Rt Hon Amaewhule played the sacred role providence bestowed on him.
The text for the briefing which was read by the Convener, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, and co-signed by Prof (Mrs) Reginah Azunwena, Odinaka Osundu, George Ijoma and Elder Anuage Menegbo, also commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for his peaceful disposition despite the crisis, adding that this disposition has marked the governor as a man of peace.
“Pitiably under him, the world saw a legislative arm of government that was vehemently out to frustrate the executive arm with all sorts of negative actions against the governor and the government of Rivers State.
“Had Martins Amaewhule seen the state as sacred, he would have mediated in whatever were the issues between our former governor, His Excellency, Chief (Barrister) Nyesom Wike. Amaewhule failed woefully to play a stabilizing role which his exalted office gave him ample role to play”, they said.
The Coalition also called on former Governor Nyesom Wike to have a rethink on the political crisis in the state as he has a cardinal role to play in the resolution of the impasse.
“CORSLOT wishes to advise trouble entrepreneurs and eye service politicians of Rivers State origin to take note that power belongs to God Almighty and the people.
“Rivers people are taking note of these political actors.
“Rivers State is owned by Rivers people and not  self seeking politicians”, they said.
“We begin by appreciating the governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalaye Fubara, for working assiduously for peace by embracing and working with the Presidential Peace Accord of 2023 and to state that it is in recognition of this that the governor has won awards and honours within the state and Nigeria”
The Coalition also thanked the Governor for attending to the needs and welfare of citizens of the state, particularly the welfare of civil servants and the planned employment into the Civil Service.
“CORSLOT further recognizes the governor’s attention on infrastructural development in the state with his continuation of projects he inherited from previous administrations and indeed his bold initiatives of new ones.
These come with spiraling advantages”, they added.
They also urged the governor to take immediate steps to fill his cabinet with men and women who have the capacity to add value to the State.

By: John Bibor

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Council Boss Hails Fubara Over Successful Project Commissioning

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Following the successful commissioning of the  Andoni Section of the Ogoni-Andoni- Opobo Unity Road by Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam has commended the number one citizen of the state for his multiple  infrastructural development projects that have direct bearings on the lives and well -being of Rivers people, especially in NgoTown, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area and its adjoining environs.
The Chairman maintained that the road, as commissioned, will provide connectivity between coastal communities, cities, and hinterlands, facilitating the movement of people, goods and services, which enhances trade, commerce and tourism, and also contributes to local economic development and the local government area’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
On the event, Hon. CookeyGam lauded the efforts of the initiator of the project, 24 years ago, Dr.Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State, for his determination and love for the people that found expression in the initiation of the Unity Road project which has been able to connect the catchment local government areas of Khana, Andoni and Opobo/ Nkoro, including the neighbouring states.
He described both Dr. Odili and Governor Fubara as beacons of infrastructural development.
The Chairman of Council also urged Andoni people to guard against vandalization and theft of the facilities that have been put in place for their betterment.
He further admonished the people of Andoni in particular, and Rivers people in general, to support the good work the Governor has come to do despite distraction from some politicians in the state who do not mean well for the people.

By: Bethel Toby

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