The growing desire to unseat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State is one of the major focus of members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, under the leadership of Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Being a former Governor of the state and former Minister of Transportation under President Muhammadu Buhari, he is at the front lines of the battle to get Nyesom Wike’s chosen successor, Siminialaye Fubara of the PDP defeated at the forth-coming Governorship election in 2023. But, the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has not been regularly seen in the state leading to a lull in governorship electioneering campaigns of his party’s candidate.
Few months ago, a sitting Federal High Court Judge at Port Harcourt Judicial Division stopped all the candidates that emerged from the congresses held by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State from participating in the 2023 elections at the State House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives and Senate and the governorship elections. Former Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has not been seen in public places in Rivers state since he lost his presidential bid during the APC primaries. This may not be unconnected to the fact that he is avoiding having physical collusion with agents of Governor Wike who had signed Executive Order 21 that banned gatherings at government facilities without due approval from him and payment of a non-refundable deposit of N5million for any political party except PDP that wants to hold rallies in Rivers State. However, APC in Rivers State had gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling that the party should not participate in the 2023 elections as it did happen in 2019 elections. But the APC in Rivers State have been urging their members not to be dismayed with the political development in the state. Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, during the inauguration of APC Campaign Council and unveiling of the manifesto of the party’s governorship candidate said “Don’t inherit my enemies. Look at how you can change Rivers State. We need to win this election. When we start, (Campaign) we should be ready for their abuse and when they abuse us, we abuse them back.”
This was the second occasion that Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi made a physical appearance after his presidential election loss to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the first being the meeting at the State Party Secretariat where he urged APC members in the state to support Asiwaju, the party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 Presidential election.
When the APC in Rivers State commences its governorship electioneering campaign, it is expected that he will lead his party to tour the 23 Local Government areas, dishing out the manifesto of the party’s Governorship candidate Pastor (Architect) Tonye Cole.
Before now, Amaechi had spoken severally on why he is afraid of the hostile attitude of the incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike who had dragged him and Tonye Cole to court, indicting them for the sales of government properties to Sahara Energy which included electricity power plants built by Rivers State. Such a court case embarrassed the former Governor contributed in checking and restricting the number of times that he visited Rivers State until the court matter was dropped by the Rivers State government on the premise that documents allegedly used by counsel to Amaechi included signatures of the incumbent governor, while he was Chief of Staff to the then Governor Amaechi, before the properties were sold. The need to avoid exposure prompted the state’s withdrawal from prosecuting the defendants.
Worried by the constant intimidation of All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Rivers State, Amaechi has kept his cool by reducing the number of times he gets involved in events, such as burial of relatives and party members, wedding ceremonies of party members, relations or political events that may require his presence. Apart from the lingering mass defections that took place in Rivers APC, as a leader of the party, he must have been hit with low morale and lack of immediate answers to numerous inquisitions about the future of the All Progress Congress in Rivers State.
For instance, the brouhaha caused by the appointment of Honourable Odum Udi, currently serving as Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment on July 6th, 2022 is one of such. Most followers of Amaechi saw that appointment as not being favourable to reward them for their loyalty. Such brought about the resignation of Dr. Dawari George who defected to Action Alliance (AA), where he is the governorship candidate of the party in the 2023 Governorship election in Rivers State. Governor Wike faulted the appointment saying that the Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment did not have the intellectual qualification needed to represent the State as a minister of the Federal Republic. In his words, “I have never seen an embarrassment like that in my life. Yes, you must appoint those who are loyal, but educated people are also loyal. It has never happened in our state. Everything cannot be politics. The image of the state is key.” He queried while swearing five newly appointed Commissioners in Rivers State. The Minister of State for Environment holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the University of Port Harcourt and served as Chairman of Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State in 2003 and for a second term in 2008 while Amaechi was executive Governor of Rivers State.
Another cause of collusion is the incumbent governor’s insistence that political parties pay N5m non-refundable deposit as security fee before accessing public facilities for political campaign rallies in Rivers State with Executive Order 21 which restricts the use of Public Schools as Campaign grounds without permission from the Commissioner for Education two weeks before the date of the rally Barrister Sogbeye Eli, Spokesman to the Tonye Cole Campaign Organization in a statement, said that it would be difficult for the opposition to get approvals from Governor Wike’s Commissioner of Education as it is a way to stifle political opposition in Rivers State.
Send Us News, Gist, more... to email@example.com | Twitter: @CitypeopleMagz