by Stanley Azuakola
If for some reason anyone assumed that the brief meeting and airport hug between President Goodluck Jonathan and Gov. Rotimi Amaechi would mark the end of the animosity between them, such a person was grossly mistaken.
Shortly after that hug at the Port Harcourt International airport, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi was at 60th birthday thanksgiving of a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), OCJ Okocha (SAN) in Port Harcourt. Not even the birthday event was free from political talk, and surprisingly the talk was initiated by the Bishop of the Anglican Communion, Niger Delta Diocese, Rev. Ignatius C. Kattey.
Bishop Kattey had said during his sermon at the church service that he needed to confirm if the PDP had listed the re-instatement of the suspended executives of Obio/Akpor council as condition to end the crisis, and what Amaechi was doing about it. He also wanted to know if there truly was an election that returned him as the chairman of the NGF and urged him to tell the truth.
Responding, Amaechi said: “I don’t lie. If I will go to hell, lie wouldn’t be one of the reasons for my going to hell. Take it from me, those who lie don’t have courage, I have them in quantum; my children have excess of courage.
“Your Grace, there was an election, your Grace, they are not denying that there was no election. They said before the election some people have signed documents for them, and they were 19, but in contesting the election, those 19 changed their minds and voted for me, and when the battle was on it was clear that it was between the ‘Villa’ and me, and I won.
“There was an election and they were properly defeated and they saw the consequences of defeat. It is a Governors’ Forum I have led for two years. Even the 16 told me ‘you were wonderful as the chairman, but you know where the pressure is coming from and we can’t avoid the pressure, I won and won well, tomorrow morning (today), I will win again.”
He wondered why the PDP was giving him conditions over Obio/Akpor, saying that it was only the lawmakers who suspended them, or the court that could lift the suspension.
“If they reverse it tomorrow, there is one more option left to me, I can dissolve the entire executive. The police can remain there as much as they want, it is Obio/Akpor people’s problem; the money is going nowhere.
“But we have saved you too, because the reason they suspended the executives is because they said, ‘let us investigate the place because there was corruption.’ If they investigate and the chairman and the councillors are not corrupt, they will call them back. But if they go to court to try to stop them, they will do their function,” he said.
Then for the first time since the crisis began, Amaechi gave his most definitive statement that quitting the PDP was an option which he was considering.
“I want to hear the court say they have no right to do their function. Whatever the court says is what the Rivers State Government will do. We will obey the court, but outside that, nobody, not PDP, can give me condition. Is there only one party in Nigeria? Why would they give me condition? They will not give me condition,” he said.
“I lead the people of Rivers State and I will lead you. If they suffocate us in PDP and we need to move, we move!
“We will continue to struggle for our rights, and that includes our oil wells. You will hear the truth of this fight in December, January. I will address the state and I will tell you the truth of the fight.
“Not between me and these people here, they are not a problem to me. But when election comes, the Rivers people will be given the chance to choose who they want,” he said.