(From BD Sunday)
The unexpected acceptance by the Chibuike Amaechi section of the All progressives Congress (APC) of the olive branch offered by Gov Nesom Wike of Rivers State has rather come with some shock. The shock is measured in the silence that has greeted it in both sides.
Although few leaders have made comments, but key persons leading the three big political families in the state are yet to make public statements. Some of their followers have maintained subdued silence. Some aides had said few hours to the turnaround that their master would never consider reconciliation. They now appear stunned.
Amaechi has not made a statement denying or endorsing the press briefing given by his trusted ally and senator, Andrew Uchendu. Gov Wike has not made any statement welcoming Amaechi’s camp, while Magnus Abe, an APC senator, who led the court wars that denied the party of any candidate in the 2019 elections, has not said a word. It appears both Abe and Wike did not anticipate the move to accept peace by Amaechi’s camp, and thus may not have prepared how to react.
Wike had made a statewide broadcast on April 17, 2019, offering the APC and Amaechi in particular the olive branch, saying it was better to work together to move the state forward. Many say no single collaborative project between the FG and Rivers State Government has taken place since 2012 when the PDP family ran into crisis and broke up because of personal ambitions.
Amaechi followed in his Easter Monday radio statement and called for reconciliation and forgiveness, but he left it open to guessing whether it was spiritual reconciliation or political one he had in mind. His aides clarified that he never meant to accept the Wike reconciliation offer. Wike had offered to pull back state judicial actions targeted at Amaechi and his followers.
While the aides were hitting each other, Andrew Uchendu summoned a press briefing and announced unbelievably that the Amaechi camp had decided to give peace a chance and support Wike to succeed for now.
Most members of the public did not believe the breaking news of the acceptance of reconciliation until the full text was released.
Senator Andrew Uchendu
Good morning, our dear friends, ladies and gentlemen of the media. On April 17, 2019, the world woke up to a live broadcast by His Excellency, Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike, CON, Governor, Rivers State in which he extended his hand of fellowship to Rivers people, including all political parties which have been engaged in the struggle for power to guarantee a better life for the people of Rivers State
About two weeks have passed since this broadcast was made and as stakeholders in the Rivers project, we have waited with bated breath in the hope that we would see deliberate actions arising from that broadcast geared towards rebuilding our state and restoring the dignity of every Rivers person. Although we are yet to see indications of any intent in this direction, we are still resolved not to give up. We believe Gov. Wike is very sincere in this initiative. It is for this reason that we want to commend Governor Wike’s call for collaboration and peaceful coexistence.
Happily enough, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, in his Easter Message re-echoed Gov. Wike’s position on the fact that Rivers State has suffered enough and that every true son and daughter should be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice for the return of peace in our land. His clarion call we hope is one that should signal the end of politicking and the beginning of governance. It is our considered opinion that Rivers people must now become the centre of all politics and governance. We cannot continue to toy with the lives of our people or take them for granted any longer. A key indicator of good governance is the return of peace and security in the State.
Thankfully, Governor Wike can draw from the experience of his predecessor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who inherited a state that was plagued by massive insecurity and infrastructural decay but within the first few years of his administration had addressed these challenges and set the state on the path of recovery. Then, Governor Wike was the Chief of Staff (CoS) and can attest to the massive investments in men and materials by former Gov. Amaechi in the security sector to enable the state gain respite.
As it stands today, life in Rivers state has become brutish and worthless with kidnapping and killings occurring daily. Only last week, four youths were beheaded in Ovogo, Emohua LGA. This is the narrative our reformed Governor must change. We can offer some more areas of immediate intervention: revitalization of the C4i Security architecture of the previous administration. b) Rehabilitation of sons and daughters that are roaming the streets of foreign lands because of the cancellation or stoppage of their scholarship awards. c) Re-activation of the Greater Port Harcourt Project and, d) Completion of some of the laudable pro-people projects embarked upon by the administration of the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. These done, we can expect to begin to see some changes.
Perhaps another critical area deserving of the governor’s attention is unemployment and closely linked to that is education. Agriculture has been identified as the next big earner and a major generator of employment opportunities. Sadly all the agriculture infrastructure put in place by Governor Amaechi as a means for ensuring fiscal and physical security have all been jettisoned. Worse still Rivers state government has failed to take advantage of numerous federal government initiatives by the Buhari Administration to create jobs and support micro businesses for others at the bottom rung of the ladder.
Let us assure Governor Wike that the All Progressives Congress has never and will never shy away from doing all it can to ensure a more secured, purposeful and prosperous Rivers State. Indeed this has been our ethos and mantra ever since we began elections. We abhor the thought not to mention the fact that any Rivers resident should be killed. We therefore join our voices to the call for a peaceful and united Rivers State. One in which every stakeholder is treated equally and no one is held as a pariah for holding a different political view.
We thank you for your kind attention.