by Stanley Azuakola
Things have so deteriorated in the Rivers PDP fold, that party faithfuls are left without an option than to pick sides in the saga.
The Rivers state governor has a powerful ally in the state assembly. Most members of the assembly are rooting for Gov. Chibuike Amaechi. However, a renegade faction led by Kingsley Chinda, the lawmaker representing Obio/Akpor, and four others, are opposed to the governor.
Obio/Akpor local government area, one of the largest local governments areas in the country seems to be the haven for the opposition to the governor. The minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike, who is leading the FG charge on the Rivers governor is a native of that LGA.
Earlier this week, the state assembly in a stunning coup sacked the executive council of that local government area. Both the chairman, Timothy Nsirim, and 13 councillors were affected. The Rivers government quickly swore in a seven member caretaker executive to pilot the affairs of the council.
The caretaker committee members included; Chikordi Dike (Chairman) Ernest Ogbonda, (Vice-Chairman) Ovunda Ihunwo, Chima Wogu, Chikweru Ejims, Stanley Ehoro, and Friday Owhor.
But the new leadership of the party in the state, which is anti-Amaechi, has condemned the impeachment of the executive council, and has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the state Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, and the State House of Assembly to rescind the decision to sack the leadership of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
The PDP exco warned that failure to do this will leave the party with no choice than to initiate disciplinary actions.
But the state assembly has declared that it does not recognise the court-sanctioned new PDP state executive led by Chief Felix Obuah. It sid that it would not work with the new exco.
In a statement signed by Obuah and the Secretary of PDP, Ibibia Walter, after an emergency meeting of the state working committee yesterday, the party described the assembly’s actions as “appaling and disgraceful” and said it would be constrained to “take appropriate disciplinary and legal action to check the excesses of Amaechi and some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly” if they failed to review the decision.
The party said it viewed the “purported dissolution of the chairman, vice-chairman and 17 councillors of Obio/Akpor Local Goverment Area without recourse to due process as a flagrant display and abuse of power by the governor of Rivers State and the Assembly and hereby condemn the action.”
It said it was also aware of plans to suspend some members of the Assembly.
“The party is also aware of the plan of the state House of Assembly to suspend from the house five members of the assembly for expressing their views on issues bordering on internal democracy,” the statement said.
It urged the Assembly to discard the plans or face the wrath of the party which controls the members.
According to reports,
The Assembly on its part, in a statement issued yesterday and signed by 25 members, said members of the new executive were imposters and vowed not to work with them. The lawmakers condemned what they described as the “conspiracy and betrayal” by some individuals to distort history.
Addressing assembly correspondents shortly after approving members of the Caretaker Committee for Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, said they were not part of a group known an Rivers State Legislative Forum purportedly led by Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
He said: “We shall not support, recognise or do business with any other state executive borne out of the unfortunate judicial recklessness of the Abuja High Court.
“We make these commitments fully aware and, or abreast of the plans to annihilate or collapse the administration of Rotimi Amaechi, through series of planned arrests, intimidation and threats to life and property of Rivers State government officials and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly including the economic strangulation of Rivers State to hinder early completion of projects in the state.
“We are aware of the wanton cunning collapse of the security apparatus in the state possibly intended to orchestrate a breakdown of law and order with the aim of bolstering a state of emergency.”
He said as delegates at the convention where Ake was duly elected, the lawmakers pledged their unflinching support to the leadership of Amaechi and the PDP.
“We restate in clear terms our unalloyed, total. Irrevocable and irretrievable support for the duly elected Chief G.U. Ake, as chairman-led executive committee of our great party,” he said.
While urging the people of the state to be calm and remain peaceful, he said the state goverment would pursue the matter to a logical conclusion in court.
Amaechi charged the members shortly after they took the oath of office to deliver their duties with due sense of responsibility.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. George Feyii, Ameachi urged them to manage the resources of the council prudently in order to speedily bring development in the area in accordance to the vision of his administration
His words: “I charge you as Obio/akpor Caretaker Committee that as you have taken your oath of office to discharge your duty with due sense of responsibility, you need to recognise that the office in which you have sworn into is that of a public trust and the resources of the public have been put to your charge and we urge you to excercise due diligence in dealing with that. “You need to remember that the extent of which you discharge your responsibility diligently will justify the confidence that we have on you by giving you these appointments. You are expected at this time to show diligence and manage the resources of the council with every sense of responsibility.”