by Dare Lawal
The minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike is not letting the gale of criticisms about his conduct stop him from talking tough against the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
For the second time in eight days, he hit Gov. Amaechi hard once more, declaring that he won’t fold his arms and watch the governor rubbish President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking on Sunday at the Community Secondary School, Unyeada in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. It was at the inauguration of the Local council and Wards (11) Executive Committees of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), Wike said, “The message is clear. This is a mass movement, because we want a change in Rivers State. I was a politician before I became a minister and I am still a politician. I cannot fold my arms and stay in Abuja and be doing ministerial work and somebody (Amaechi) is giving my boss conditions. I will not accept that.”
Fully-armed soldiers and policemen provided security for Wike, who moved into and out of the ancient town in helicopter. Deputy Governor Tele Ikuru hails from Ikuru Town in the Council. The chopper, with registration number 5N-BHG, landed near the venue at 3:10 pm. It immediately departed, returning at 5:46 pm to pick up the minister and his associates after the event.
Wike said: “While we were coming (to Andoni LG), I heard there were announcements going on that this occasion would not be taking place and I said this occasion would take place. We want to thank God for making it possible, that this occasion today is taking place.
“I am a loyal party person. I am a man of peace. What I said and I will continue to say, if anybody comes to destroy Andoni, will you allow the person to sleep? If somebody comes to your house to say you will not sleep, will you allow him to sleep? If you come to destroy Andoni, the people of Andoni will say we will not allow you to destroy it and they will not allow you to sleep.
“Truly, they are not sleeping. That is why they are restless. Today, you will hear a comment. Tomorrow, you will hear another comment. If they are sleeping, will they be making comments like that? They no longer have their siesta. That is what we promised them, because if you do not want people to have their siesta, you too will not have your siesta.
“We are giving them a lot of assignments. When you give students too many assignments, they will come back to the teacher and say the assignments are too many and should be reduced, for them to have their siesta. Our assignments will be too many for them and will make them not to have their siesta.
“Many prominent Rivers people are with the GDI. We are all working as one body. Those who are threatening are just wasting their time. Nobody can threaten anybody. We are all from Rivers State.
“GDI is a pressure group supporting good governance. It is a body that is supporting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is a body that is mobilising for the support of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I want to thank the GDI members for standing firm. You did not allow yourselves to be intimidated. You resisted all intimidation. You were not violent. You did not take the law into your own hands, rather you followed through the process of the law, the rule of law and you challenged the Rivers State government that what they were doing was undemocratic and the court said yes and that GDI members must hold their meetings. GDI has come to stay.
“I am here (Andoni LG) and I owe no apologies. I say it that what God has said will be, must come to be. Come August 31, 2013, I am going to lead the delegates of PDP in Rivers state, with the Chairman of the party (Chief Felix Obuah), where we shall formally vote Prince Uche Secondus to be the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP. I owe no apologies to anybody.
“I want to thank our brothers and sisters in Bayelsa State. The position was zoned to the Southsouth, Rivers and Bayelsa. It was accordingly conceded to Rivers state. We are going to back him (Secondus) up. Any other person, who is going to run, I know most of them are not PDP members; they are only trying to see whether they can cause confusion. The party chairman (Obuah), who is a peaceful person, has said he would not allow that.
“All of us must be together to support President Goodluck Jonathan, our son, our in-law and our brother in 2015, when he formally comes out to declare. He is doing well. We are not supporting President Jonathan just because he is from the Southsouth, he is from Rivers State (old) or because he married our daughter (Dame Patience Jonathan, from Okrika). We are supporting him because he is from Rivers state, he marries our daughter, he is from Southsouth and he is doing well as the President.”
Evans Bipi, the leader of the 5 anti-Amaechi lawmakers in the state assembly was also at the event. He said, “We have kept Amaechi busy. He cannot travel or sleep again.”
Secondus said the GDI stood for change, adding that Wike would soon be promoted and made a “ranking” minister.
Secondus said: “President Jonathan has so much confidence in Wike. He trusts him and he is one of the brightest ministers and performing excellently.”
A former-Transport Minister, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, said politics was about the people.
Sekibo, a former Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG) in the administration of Dr. Peter Odili urged persons who followed him to the ACN, to return to the Obuah-led PDP.
A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Austin Opara, noted that the Constitution provides for freedom of association, wondering why Amaechi’s supporters attempted to prevent the rally. The group, he said, had created fear in “them.”