Amaechi’s acceptance to work with Wike: Matters arising

Rivers people were jolted to unexpected news on Monday April 29, 2019, when the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led faction of Rivers APC declared its resolve

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Rivers people were jolted to unexpected news on Monday April 29, 2019, when the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led faction of Rivers APC declared its resolve and readiness to partner its archenemy, Nyesom Wike, in response to the governor’s call for the restoration of peace in Rivers State. This position was revealed at a press conference address by no less a personality than the Chairman of Amaechi’s political family, Senator Andrew Uchendu. It is believed that he spoke for the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who has not put up a disclaimer.

Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi

It would be recalled that Governor Wike had, a fortnight or so ago, in a state broadcast, called for general forgiveness amongst politicians in Rivers State, promised to form a unity government and pleaded for peace in the state. That call by Governor Wike was as surprising as the acceptance of it by the Amaechi-led faction of the APC. Both actions came as a rude or pleasant surprise to many political watchers in Rivers State and Nigeria.

The surprise stems primarily from the fact that both men are sworn enemies that would go to great length to destroy each other. They act as though the ascendancy of one is the downfall of the other, the success of one is the failure of the other and any uplifting of either must be fought with all the venom available to the other.

Another reason for the surprise in Wike’s call and Amaechi’s acceptance, is the well-known uncompromising and violent personality traits of both men who have acted in the last six years in the most unbending and defiant manner. The protracted feud between them since 2013, has defied mediations even at the highest quarters, leaving in its trail, tales of sorrows, tears and blood. Many Rivers people had been killed, unquantifiable property damaged, the political and economic fortunes of many politicians destroyed. Both Wike and Amaechi had received fanatical support of their followers all the way.

Gov. Wike

Then last Monday, just like deus ex machina of the Roman theatre, feeeuuu… shiiiriii… the palaver is over or is about to be over, just like that? Silence…

The palaver that sent many to their untimely graves; the palaver that saw Amaechi, running out of Brick House in 2015 like a gorgeously dressed lady, struggling with overflowing garment in the toilet, due to a  sudden running stomach at dinner. The palaver that saw Governor Wike lose weight like a diabetic. The palaver is over, just like that! Just like that!!

The sudden call for truce by Wike, the “High Tension of Rivers politics” and the immediate acceptance of that call by Amaechi, “the Lion of Niger Delta politics” have led many political watchers to conjecture reasons behind such sudden and far-reaching decisions.

Many are confused as to the sudden and unexpected resolution of the long-standing crisis because the so-called resolution did not follow any known dispute resolution procedure that could earn the trust of Rivers people who are the real victims of the six-year old bloody political war. As it stands, Wike and Amaechi just ended the war the way they liked, unmindful of the rest of us, since it was a selfish war all along.

Some political commentators are quick to shout “Ikwerre Agenda”. They say that having succeeded in the assignment to destroy Rivers APC in order to pave way for his Ikwerre brother (Wike) to continue in office as governor, Amaechi now wants to remain as Minister, thereby keeping both topmost political offices in Ikwerre land, as it has been since 2011.

The weakness in the so-called Ikwerre agenda stems from the ferocity and recklessness with which Wike and Amaechi had worked to destroy each other. If they were actually acting a script, then they must be the most dastardly persons on earth. It is true that Ikwerre is having more than its fair share in a multiethnic Rivers State but Wike and Amaechi are clearly driven by selfish ambitions, the type that destroys everybody just to save their juicy jobs.

Other political watchers opine that this is a classic case of mutual political self-preservation. They argue that fate has thrown Wike and Amaechi back into the debacle of the post 2015 election era when Amaechi fought through the courts to unseat Wike and Wike used the report of a judicial panel to stop Amaechi’s confirmation at the Senate. Both attempts were unsuccessful yet devastating.

In that post 2015 election epic battle, Wike survived by the whiskers at the Supreme Court, a place that has been described severely as “Wike’s supermarket”. The governor was sacked both at the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which triggered the first round of Wikes drastic emaciation before his current loss of weight during INEC’s suspension of the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Rivers State.

For Amaechi, though thoroughly bruised, he was pulled over the line by the Senate leadership, an act that has continued to dent the anti-corruption credentials of President Buhari, who is constantly accused of surrounding himself with corrupt ex-governors.

Those who say that Wike’s sudden quest for political truce and Amaechi’s quick acceptance of same are acts of mutual political self-preservation, point to Wike’s realization that he has lost his alleged influence over the Supreme Court with the ‘removal’ of the recently suspended Chief Justice.

Governor Wike realizes that like in 2015, if the 2019 governorship election is pursued by the AAC with the backing of Amaechi up to the Supreme Court, there is the very high likelihood that the election would be nullified, considering that the 2019 governorship election was far less credible than the 2015 election, even by INEC’s own admission in suspending the March 9, 2019 governorship election processes.

If this happens, Wike would lose his seat and with it, his constitutional immunity and fall straight into the hands of the police, army and the EFCC who are eagerly laying siege to grab him by the collars to account for his numerous sins. It is therefore in Wike’s survival interest to broker peace with his enemies before his fears befall him.

For the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, what is uppermost in his mind is how to remain in office as Minister and by it, remain politically relevant, ahead of his 2023 presidential ambition. Nothing more is important to Amaechi and he would do anything to actualize his dreams.

Amaechi knows that, unlike in the post-2015 election period, President Buhari would not tolerate another round of embarrassing corruption charges against his close aides in national and international media. He knows that Wike knows a lot about him and the PDP having won all the three Senatorial seats, could make Amaechi pass through a blazing furnace during a ministerial screening. It is therefore in his interest to accept any peace offer from Wike before his morbid fears befall him.

There is therefore much credibility in the argument that sees the unfolding scenario as nothing but a classic case of mutual political self-preservation. The entire drama currently being staged by Wike and Amaechi is a smokescreen to achieving yet another round of selfish political gains. It is a facade put forward to achieving something totally different from what is dished to the public.

If it were not a smokescreen, then Amaechi should have been seen making deliberate efforts at reconciliation in the Rivers APC and rebuilding the party so that a united APC under his leadership could make greater contributions to the proposed peace in Rivers State.

If what is unfolding were not a smokescreen, then Governor Wike would have, since his state broadcast, called town hall meetings, put across phone calls to key players in opposing camps and apologizing to some where necessary.

As incumbent governor and former governor, Wike and Amaechi know how to bring real peace and security to the Rivers State, not by radio broadcasts and press conferences.

Let no one be deceived, Governor Wike and Transport Minister Amaechi are like petrol and fire that must be kept away to avoid conflagration. If peace must return to Rivers State at least one of them, if not both must leave office. We have suffered enough and must not be deceived by any melodramatic performance.

 

©Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo

01/05/19

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