By Odimegwu Onwumere
A great man or group is not destroyed, defeated or deterred by the past. But this is not the same with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State since it lost the much hyped 2015 gubernatorial elections in the state, of which it had anticipated would be in its favour. Since then, this defeated political party in Rivers has been clattering clandestinely irritating songs of destruction, defeat, and determent in order to cite the public against Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike.
Only those with discerning spirit would understand the depth of self-political damage the Rivers APC has been going through, yet it does not want to own up. This branch of the bungling political party at the federal level that has stranded Nigerians today with its hoodwinking ‘change’ mantra has been biting anything on its way like a wounded dangerous snake on the run. This glaring ham-fisted political party in Rivers has been sounding like a derailed one that has lost focus but still wants people’s attention with irrelevance it has been dishing out against Wike.
The Rivers APC recently made a remark against Governor Wike and former President Goodluck Jonathan. The remark has however shown that the APC in Rivers State is either ashamed to accept the trampled of its life that Governor Wike gave to it as the then Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election in the state. The APC barefacedly accused Jonathan while he was of late commissioning the Nkpogu Bridge in Port Harcourt, as part of the second year anniversary of the Wike administration, saying that he imposed Wike as governor on Rivers State as against the wish of the residents.
On the contrary, this is fictitious and blatantly nuisance oozing out from the abandoned and proud APC that came with ‘change’ mantra at the federal level but has held Nigerians and the entire world spellbound with misleading and counter-misleading features not expected of a sound democracy. The APC if perchance had won the Rivers guber elections, would have plunged the state into inglorious affairs just as its parent body is doing at Abuja, the seat of power, with mis-governance and turning democracy into a hoax. It was the Rivers APC Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya who replayed what he heard that Jonathan said at the event in the media. Nevertheless, some of us who know Ikanya and had related with him on a personal ground, would attest to the fact that he was a gentleman, soft-spoken and a self-acclaimed cleric. Then again, his stance politically, saying that the Jonathan’s comment has exposed the APC’s somewhat earlier stand that the residents of the state didn’t vote for Wike, makes him (Ikanya) a scriptwriter against the wish and application of the Supreme Court of the country that acknowledged Wike governor of the state against all odds that the APC wanted Wike out as governor.
We could remember that before the January 27 2016 victory of Wike at the Supreme Court, the Ikanyas had on May 30 2015, when the matter was still at the lower Court, saying, “We remain confident that the Election Petition Tribunal will do the needful and sack him (Wike) accordingly in view of the materials submitted to them, in view of the immorality associated with his occupation of the Government House and in view of the outcry of the people of Rivers State that he does not have their mandate to serve as their governor.” But the Supreme Court on that faithful of January 27 2016 judgment sent the Ikanyas packing with the statement pointing out that Wike was denied fair hearing at the Appeal Court, which had on December 16 2015 affirmed the judgment of the Rivers Governorship Election Tribunal against Wike. With this, it’s not surprising that the Rivers APC celebrates shame the same way divorce makes headline in the recent times. If not, Ikanya would have lacked the locus standi to accuse Jonathan (only that Ikanya was acting on emotions) and note that upon his accusations that Jonathan made Wike governor against Rivers residents’ wish, yet, Wike won the Rivers APC in the APC-controlled Rivers State under the ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi government, Wike won in the APC-controlled Supreme Court and, Wike won in the APC-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria.
If Ikanya was insinuating that Jonathan apparently used the federal might during the Rivers guber elections for the emergence of Wike as governor, is the Rivers APC which Amaechi is the leader and Ikanya, the chairman, not ashamed that it could not oust Wike in the APC-controlled River State under Amaechi then and now, under the APC controlled Federal Government? If Wike had won at the Supreme Court in a PDP-led federal government, Ikanya would have been saying that Jonathan influenced the court. All the same, before 2014 that Wike and Amaechi had fallen out, the later who was Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum had vowed that Wike would not be governor.
Amaechi even swore with the matrix, “Over my dead body”. Amaechi gave his preposterous defense, saying that Wike who was then the Supervising Minister for Education and he, belonged to the same ethnic group. Yet, Wike defeated Amaechi upon the swank and upon that Amaechi was Governor of Rivers State. Therefore, Ikanya should stop saying that Wike has become a disaster since “Jonathan made Wike governor”. Maybe, Ikanya wanted us to note that with the political precedence between Wike and Amaechi in the state, the former has become indestructible, upon all the perceived plots by the Amaechis to outsmart Wike. But if Ikanya meant ‘disaster’ in the true meaning of the word, we shall come to that.
The truth is that APC is dead in Rivers, a hard truth that the Ikanyas are finding hard to accept hence their extraneous tantrums against Wike. Well, before Ikanya would paint Wike black, let’s take a little retrospection on Amaechi whom Ikanya would at all cost defend as a saint when he reigned as Governor of Rivers State and now. Amaechi ruled Rivers State with unprecedented unedited words and flagrant exposition of his rascality laced with his un-anticipation of becoming who he is today given his once desolate and inconvenient family background. If at all Wike has become a disaster in the state, his would never surpass Amaechi’s, who brashly took the then PDP’s flag from the then acting National Chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Mohammed, to contest in the April 26 2011 guber elections, under controversial circumstances.
When the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Rivers State was crying that the April 9 2011 National Assembly (NASS) elections in the state were marred by massive electoral fraud, and called for the cancellation, Amaechi and the likes of Ikanya were dancing alanta against the crying party. The Amaechi’s ‘disaster’ continued as his men were declared winners of all the elective positions in that year. In the 2011 elections in Rivers State, Amaechi saw the then Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega as a good man whereas no one listened to the APGA that was shouting that Amaechi was playing the Kangaroo in the politics. Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja, running mate to Sir Celestine Omehia, Rivers State APGA’s gubernatorial candidate in 2011, addressed newsmen and was disappointed by what was called ‘peaceful elections’ in Rivers State, by INEC and Amaechi.
Ikanya should remember that Amaechi and Jega refused to investigate the Rivers 2011 elections, even when Gogo Jaja said that it was saddening to say that electoral irregularities took place in Anambra Central Senatorial Zone, Bayelsa and Delta States, compared to what played in Rivers State. And Jega investigated these mentioned places, without Rivers State.
Ikanya should also remember that Mr. Jerry Godfry and Mr. Precious Barido, who were the state chairman and secretary of the APGA complained in a statement both of them signed of police brutality and criminal intimidation by Amaechi-led government officials during the elections, even as Jaja insisted that the April 9 2011 NASS election showed that the then Amaechi-led Rivers PDP had the highest rigging propensity in the country. Yet, Amaechi continued with his alanta dance ignoring whoever.
What else is the meaning of ‘disaster’ under Amaechi as governor? Ikanya should remember that the INEC said in that 2011 that Amaechi polled 1,178, 529 votes to ‘defeat’ his opponents in the gubernatorial election. The candidate of the APGA, Celestine Omehia came ‘second’ with 112,528, while the ACN, Abiye Sekibo ‘got’ 60,240. Declaring the ‘results’ in Port Harcourt, the Returning Officer in the state, who’s also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Joseph (Ajienka), said that 1,401,464 votes were cast, 141,4064 were valid and 27,995 were rejected.
Yours Truly had written after Wike won the 2015 guber elections, saying that: Even though that Wike may not be a better option for Rivers State, it behooves on all residents of Rivers State to advise Amaechi to cover his face in disgrace and stop crying foul. Amaechi is no longer dancing alanta because he feels that someone who knows the game better than he had thought he knew has outsmart him and took the trophy.
If the ‘disaster’ that Ikanya meant was about criminal gangs we hear of their activities in some parts of the state, we might revisit how they operated in the state under Amaechi as governor. The truth is that Amaechi as governor, whom some of us supported and criticized, lost touch with residents of Rivers State and became the Lord of Manor that must be venerated and worshiped. Wike nonetheless saw this in 2014 and had to buy the minds of the residents while addressing newsmen during the commissioning of his Governorship campaign office in Port Harcourt, and the APC in the state was afraid to present a guber candidate because of Wike. Although Wike defeated all the governorship aspirants at the PDP primaries in November 29, 2014 through a controversial means. But all of that have been quashed by the Supreme Court. The Ikanyas have shown that they do not respect the Supreme Court, when they continue to say that Jonathan imposed Wike on Rivers State as against the residents wish.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Tel: +2348057778358. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org