Following a very public feud during the 2019 general elections that saw both parties attack each other in the media, Rivers state governor-elect, Nyesom Wike, has appealed for a ceasefire with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and called on the ex-governor to work with him to develop Rivers state.
Backstory: Wike’s request came during a broadcast on Thursday to address the recent Supreme Court ruling striking out the appeals made by Amaechi’s faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
- “I appeal to the APC and the Minister of Transportation (Amaechi) to join hands with us to move our dear State forward,” Wike said. “We cannot as leaders continue to remain divided and expect Government to deliver on its responsibilities to our people. Let us from henceforth seek the common ground instead of allowing our differences to be exploited to retard our march to progress.”
On criminal cases arising from the election: Wike directed the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice to “review all pending criminal proceedings filed against any person by the State and directly related to political activities prior to the 2019 general elections and make appropriate recommendations to me for necessary action to promote reconciliation among us.”
- Question for the governor: In his haste for reconciliation, what happens to the judicial commission he set up last month to “investigate the violence, killings and other related matters which occurred during the elections”?
Why the truce may not work: Speaking about the need for reconciliation is one thing, but actually working towards it with honesty is another matter.
- Recall: In 2016, as political violence worsened in Rivers state in the build-up to scheduled re-run polls, the former Police Inspector-General, Ibrahim Idris and the former Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Musa Daura, called for a truce meeting between Amaechi and Wike. The two men “committed to lasting peace”, but their truce did not last a week before hostilities resumed.
- The big picture: At the core of the disagreement between the two men is power and who controls it in the state. None of them is willing to play second fiddle, and Wike’s broadcast is not expected to change that dynamic.