By Codratus Godson
The new man on the bloc in Rivers exlosive political firmament says he turned down a whopping N3Bn carrot few days ago to chicken out of the partnership with Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s All Progresives Congress (APC).
The battlefield may have shifted to the African Action Congress (ACC) which the former governor, Amaechi, now Transportation Minister, wants to use to unseat Gov Nyesom Wike. One day after the running mate in the candidacy, Akpo Bomba Yeeh, defected to support Gov Wike’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his boss, Engineer Awara Biokpomabo, has said in Abuja that he turned down a N3Bn offer from persons believed to be from Gov Wike.
He said he told his deputy about the offer and his reason to turn it down but that his running mate did not object to his decision. He said he was surprised to start hearing about N200m being offered to his running mate, and soon after, the man’s telephone number stopped ging through. The next thing Biokpomabo heard was that his running mate has jumped ship. He insisted that he and his running mate did not sign any deal and that the alliance with the APC was unconditional.
The African Action Congress, AAC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Engr. Biokpomabo Awara has expressed disappointment over the purported resignation of his running mate Akpo Bomba Yeeh and his reported defection to the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP.
Awara debunked claims by his erstwhile deputy candidate that the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the APC, had made them sign resignation letters.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, Tuesday, Awara dismissed all of the allegations against the minister as false, stating that Amaechi and the APC offered him and his party unconditional support, owing to their shared ideology and love for Rivers State and Rivers people.
He also dismissed his running mate’s ‘compromising’ actions as pathetic, claiming that he had himself been offered 3 billion naira to drop his ambition, but he rejected it and his deputy was aware.
His words, “When the story of his resignation first came out as a rumour, that Rivers State Governor have offered him 200m naira to abandon me, I had no reason to believe it because that Elder Yeeh was aware I had earlier turned down an offer of N3b, Gov. Wike offered to me some days ago through his associates. I discussed this with my running mate and outlined why we must not succumb to the lure from the governor or any interest group. I was convinced that we were in agreement because he neither expressed nor alluded to a difference in opinion on the matter.
“When the rumour became rife by Sunday, I made several attempts to reach my deputy without success. I started developing some strange feelings pointing to a possible sell-out by him.
“I am aware that a key component of their plot is to attempt to smear the towering image and figure of the Honourable Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. I want to state categorically that all the accusations made by my running mate against the Honourable Minister are blatant lies poorly crafted by his paymaster, Governor Wike and associates, and you could see how tough it was for him to read the script handed to him.
“Let me be clear. I was never asked to and did not sign any letter of resignation. I am aware that my deputy also was not asked to or signed any letter of resignation. My deputy, Elder Akpo Bomba Yeeh is believed to be under tremendous financial pressure based on his statements.
“The support the AAC got from the Honourable Minister and the APC was unconditional. Those conditions my deputy alleged in the statement drafted for him by Governor Wike are false, crude lies. The alliance between AAC and APC for the governorship election is as a result of our shared love for the State and our shared vision to liberate Rivers State from the shackles of cultism, rapidly growing poverty and the unsafe nature of our State in the hands of an administration that has wrecked almost everything in our State.
“It is indeed sad, regrettable, disheartening and pathetic that my running mate will act in the way he did. I feel pity and sorry for him. However, I must be quick to add that it is one move that has no consequences on the AAC governorship ticket. It is inconsequential in all ramifications. No sane man standing an election as crucial as that of Rivers State will say the things he said.
One of the reasons I picked him as my running mate is because of the long running relationship between the Ogoni and Kalabari people, dating back to pre-independence. I also choose him because I saw a fatherly figure and capacity in him that could benefit Rivers Youths… I personally saw our joint ticket as Obama/Joe Biden ticket…,” Awara said.
The AAC guber flag bearer further stated that governor Nyesom Wike and his squandering of state resources to get him a second term by all means would fail because Rivers people are wiser. He appealed to the youth and elders alike to work with him to turn around the fortunes of the state.
“Rivers people have firmly taken the position that the outgoing Governor Wike can no longer lead them. The antics of Wike in using State resources, our collective wealth to attempt to buy everyone and buy him a second term in office will certainly fail. The so-called defection of my deputy is a ploy to distract us. We will not be distracted. We remain focused on liberating Rivers people, our people from the inept, cruel and clueless administration currently running the State aground.
“Unemployment is on the rise daily. Private sector growth has a record low in our State. Kidnappings, criminality and youths in cultism is on the rise. Go to Trans Amadi, the industry daughter of Rivers State, all the industries are packing out to new places outside our State. I weep with deep sense of sorrow because our attention is taken off human and material value.
“HRM King Alfred Diette Spiff and his likes were older than me when they turned around the old Rivers State into a garden city of wealth with numerous infrastructure and bonded our rich Rivers heritage. But today, we are losing it. I speak to you my fellow youths and critics, you can be me too one day. Rivers State belong to us and we must work together to salvage her from sinking.
The AAC gubernatorial candidate, Biokpmabo Awara has officially filed a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC against its Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Obo Effanga, whom they accused of gross incompetence and bias.
Awara told newsmen in Abuja, “ My party and all well meaning citizens of Rivers State are dissatisfied with the gross incompetence of the REC and INEC’s decision to continue with the suspended electoral process, as it is clearly not a fair or transparent process.
We are concerned about the looming electoral crises unfolding in Rivers State and this may most likely result in a breakdown of law and order, destruction of property and loss of lives.
In its petition, the AAC laid its grievances and demands bare to INEC and forwarded same to other reputable human rights and international bodies.
Some of its demands include:
That, in view of the ceaseless crisis arising from all elections conducted by the REC in Rivers State since 2015, we appeal that the activities of officials of Rivers INEC should be thoroughly investigated.
We demand for the Removal of the REC and all the Heads of Department at INEC Rivers State as it is clear that they and indeed most of the Rivers INEC Adhoc staff have all been compromised and cannot be trusted to regulate and superintend the conduct of credible elections in Rivers State.
INEC should stop further collation and announcement of results of the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections which they unilaterally and surreptitiously compiled after the suspension of the electoral processes as the outcome will undoubtedly be prejudicial and contentious.
The declaration of results in the 7 LGA’s namely Ikwerre, Ahoada West, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, Oyigbo, Eleme, and Port Harcourt LGA’s which were collated and announced both at the unit, ward and LGA levels before the suspension of the electoral processes should be upheld by INEC, whilst all other collations should be declared null and void.
We are aware that direct attempts have been made to the RO’s of Asari Toru, Akuku Toru and Eleme LGA’s by unscrupulous politicians and corrupt INEC officials to prevail on them to alter the already collated and announced results in the 7 LGA’s namely Ikwerre, Ahoada West, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, Oyigbo, Eleme, and Port Harcourt LGA’s. We salute the courage of these RO’s that have withstood these overtures. We emphasize that AAC will not accept any altered results already declared in the 7 afore stated LGA’s.
Fresh elections should be conducted in the 16 LGA’s where collations and announcements had not been concluded as at the time the election was suspended. We reiterate that any results declared after the suspension is completely compromised and totally unacceptable. They should not and cannot be declared or upheld as valid results.
Announcement of any results based on the compromised process will only lead to a breakdown of law and order which will aggravate the already tense security challenges in the State.