The plot to impeach the Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, thickened on Monday shortly after his suspension from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following an emergency meeting of theNational Working Committee (NWC).
This is coming as Amaechi declared yesterday that the votes of the people must count in 2015. The governor spoke while addressing an inter-party summit with the theme: “Cohesive inter-party relations as a panacea for peace and sustainable development in Rivers State,” in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
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Daily Sun gathered yesterday that the anti-Amaechi forces met in Abuja over the last two days to strategise on how to remove the embattled governor from office.
At the end of the meeting, a southern governor known to be opposed to Amaechi’s continued stay as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) was allegedly mandated to raise seven billion naira within the next couple of days to facilitate the impeachment. The money is to be deployed towards lobbying members of the state House of Assembly to buy into the impeachment plot.
The calculation is that with the money, the anti-Amaechi forces would move into the state and try to induce the legislators to dump the governor.
An impeccable source told Daily Sun that those opposed to Amaechi plan to win over as many of the 27 legislators loyal to the governor as possible. But in the event that this does not yield appreciable result, the Abuja group would then fall back to the last option, which the source said, is to woo over seven of them. With those seven joining the five in the anti- Amaechi camp, the one-third needed to form a quorum to convene the House would have been met. They can then take their chance at impeaching the governor on the ground that the others, due to their suspension ,are technically disqualified from attending, the 12 then constitutes the House in effect.
The source also said the thinking is that by the time a billion naira is spent on each of the anticipated seven legislators, they would abandon the governor.
Amaechi presently enjoys the support of 27 out of the 32-member House, while the other few belong to the anti-Amaechi forces in the state led by his former Chief of Staff and present Minister of State (Education), Mr Nyesom Wike.
But speaking at the Port Harcourt event yesterday, Amaechi said government at all levels become transparent and accountable only when they fear they could be voted out for poor performance, noting that any government which could not attribute its victory to the people’s votes would not be responsible to the people.
According to him, “indeed, it is only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the guts to suspend a governor without a reason. I leave them to God and to you (the people)…. We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me, I have served eight years as Speaker, nearly six years as Governor. Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognize and remember me.
“If there is no history that I have made, the one God has helped me to make is the one that I stood out and fought for my right and became a governor. You voted on my behalf and the Supreme Court confirmed that when you people were voting, you were voting for me. But you also need to make your own history and that history is that let Abuja know that you can stand for your right, whether you belong to PDP or APC or any other party.
“If you listened to me yesterday (Monday) when I was addressing Rivers youths, I told them ‘all those from 18 and above should please, get up’ and they got up. I asked them to sit down, they did and I asked again, ‘all those that have voters’ cards should please, get up’ and a lot of them did and I said we shall punish irresponsible politicians with our cards. So, what I expect from all of you whether you belong to APC, CPC, whereever you belong to, start now to mobilize the state for one man, one vote. We will not allow them intimidate us with police or anything. Instead, we shall intimidate them with our votes,” Amaechi said.
Again, he said: “Any government formed without the people’s votes cannot be responsible to the people. The only way government or governors or presidents or whoever can stop corruption, can stop mal-administration is when that government is put in place by you (the people) and they know that if they don’t govern well, you (the people) will vote them out. So, your first demand should be that all governments must be responsible enough to allow for a free and fair election”.
Amaechi, who was re-elected as the NGF’s Chairman last Friday, has been having a running battle with the PDP, both in his state and at the national level. The face-off is traceable to his speculated 2015 vice presidential ambition.
The governor is alleged to be eyeing a joint ticket with the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, a charge both men have continued to deny. To weaken Amaechi, the Presidency earlier in the year plotted to have him removed as the chairman of the influential NGF. When that did not immediately materialize, the Presidency allegedly backed the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum with Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, as Chairman.
However, to the utmost disappointment of the PDP and Presidency, Amaechi defeated the party’s preferred candidate for the chairmanship of the NGF, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State to return as chairman of the forum.
Back home in Rivers State, an Abuja High Court on April 15 sacked the state PDP executive loyal to the governor and replaced them with another loyal to Wike.
Following the removal of the chairman, vice chairman and councillors of Obia-Akpor Local Government Area by the state Assembly, the new party executive led by Mr Felix Obuah, ordered Amaechi and the House to rescind the decision within 48 hours, a directive the governor and state legislature ignored.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the governor’s refusal to obey the party’s directive on the Obio-Akpor LGA crisis was the reason for his suspension.
The anti-Amaechi forces, it was gathered, believed that with seven more legislators on their side, then Amaechi is gone as governor.
However, the Constitution provides that two-thirds majority of the members of a state Assembly are required to remove a governor or his deputy. In the case of Rivers, the two-thirds would be 22.
Recall that the Speaker, Mr. Otelemaba Dan Amachree, a fortnight ago alleged that there was a plan by the five anti- Ameachi legislators to falsely impeach the governor. He alleged that a false mace had been smuggled into the state for that purpose. But Obuah denied the allegation, saying the party had no plan to instigate the governor’s removal.
While speaking at the inter-party summit, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Magnus Abe, who was the keynote speaker, urged politicians in the state to preserve and not destroy Rivers State by their actions.
He lamented the lack of participatory democracy among political parties and the sole desire by parties to acquire and retain political power for selfish interests.
Abe said, “In Nigeria, the evolution of our party politics has been less than satisfactory. I say this because our country today is deeply divided along ethnic, religious and cultural lines. The main challenge facing our country has been the development of national political parties that will promote issue and idea-based contest for power. In other words, the contest for power will be a contest of ideas. The parties in Nigeria have evolved into vehicles strictly for the acquisition and retention of political power.”
On his part, the chairman on the occasion and retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Karibi Whyte, urged political parties to believe and mean well for the country they serve.
He tasked politicians to uphold the truth and justify and accept fairness: “I believe truth must be upheld, fairness must be justified and accepted and those who think that it is enough to conspire against truth have to be exposed.”
He advised political office holders to be patriotic and work for the common good of the people who voted them to power: “We are talking about governor, the office of the governor. We admire the Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, because of his performance. We follow him because of his performance, we’ll do everything to ensure that he succeeds and the institution still carries on.”
He criticized those plotting against Amaechi, calling them conspirators with a destructive motive: “the group which as all of us know, they are all conspirators. The conspiracy runs foul when it is directed towards a wrong motive. When it is a conspiracy which is destructive, which is oppressive and which makes it difficult for the common man to admire what is going on, then there is a foreboding of anarchy.” Source: The Sun