Buhari, Akande, Tinubu, Masari, Jaja, others storm Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi joined yesterday the raging controversy sparked by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The former President accused Dr. Jonathan of training snipers and putting 1,000 Nigerians on a watch list ahead of the 2015 elections. Jonathan denied it all, saying Obasanjo should prove the allegations.
“I’m number one on the list. They want to kill me,” Amaechi told a huge crowd at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
It was at an exciting rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement – a political group backing Amaechi’s stand on the state’s political future.
Amaechi dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Listening to Amaechi were many APC leaders, interim National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande; former House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Bello Masari, who is the party’s interim Deputy National Chairman; interim National Vice Chairman (Southsouth) Chief Tom Ikimi and Dr. Sam Sam-Jaja.
Edo State Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was represented by his deputy, Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu. Also there were the interim National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; two senators from Rivers State – Magnus Abe (Rivers Southeast) and Wilson Ake (Rivers West)- as well as a member of the House of Representatives from Rivers state, Dakuku Peterside (Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro constituency). There were many other eminent personalities.
One of the leaders, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari described the Jonathan’s administration as “lawless” vowing that the main opposition party will deliver Nigeria democratically in 2015.
Gen. Buhari, a former Head of State, also promised that he and other stakeholders, especially of the APC, would do everything constitutional, to ensure the 2015 elections were credible.
Another national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said the party would sweep away evil, corruption and abuse of power from Rivers State and other parts of Nigeria.
Amaechi, who is also the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) chairman, said: “Today (yesterday), I am not declaring. I said I would declare at the new stadium. The reason for gathering today is to remind Nigerians that the current Federal Government is carrying on with impunity. There is no rule of law in Nigeria. They are using police to molest us. Where police fail to molest us, they are using thugs to shoot dynamites and guns against innocent people.
“I read the President’s (Jonathan’s) letter and he said ex-President Obasanjo should prove the 1,000 names on the watch list. I am number one on the list. They want to kill me, but they have no God. The God we worship will protect me. Before the end of the year, I will address the state.
“They will shoot you. They have no fear for your blood. They want the position at all costs. Whether you all die, they do not mind governing just the land. You must know that if you read the story of revolution, you must sacrifice. Somebody said my son should come to the front. If you want my son tomorrow, I will produce him.
“If I have surrendered myself and I am ready to be in front, let them shoot. Anytime you start a street march and you do not see me in the front, you must know something must be wrong and you must know that they have arrested me. I am not a big man governor. I am a governor that is on the streets with his people.
“One other thing that is bothering me is that all those who are on the other side, saying they want Southsouth President, I agree with them, they want Southsouth President. In politics, you are not here today (yesterday) because you like Amaechi; you are here because of your own political interest. If a Southsouth President refused to give you water, you will push him out.
“We gave the President (Jonathan in 2011) nearly two million votes, let him tell us one project he has done for us. I have challenged the President that I belong to the APC. If he wants Rivers people to vote for him, let him give Kalabari people back their oil wells and I will come back (to the PDP). He cannot. The President cannot. Instead, he will take more.”
Amaechi also admonished the people, especially his teeming supporters, to be prepared for the struggle ahead, stating that on elections’ days, the “oppressors” would come with tanks and policemen, but urged them to stand and watch their votes.
The Rivers governor said: “They said Buhari is not a Christian. Buhari is a Muslim. We are not preaching religious politics. Everybody in Nigeria has the right to worship where he wants to worship. I am a Catholic and I will worship Christ. I will die a Christian, but do not bring politics into good governance.
“It is only when there is bad governance that they begin to look for who is an Ikwerre man, who is an Ijaw man, who is an Hausa man, who is a Yoruba man. If there is good governance, you will be talking about schools. Have I told you I am an Ikwerre man? I told you I have done schools, health centres and roads. I am facing power. They should tell us what they are doing. We are prepared for a debate with them.
“In Etche, they have taken our 41 oil wells across (to Abia State). They are denying us our rights. We have suffered enough. I was a students’ leader. I learnt in the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) that nobody should trample on your rights. If I did not fight for my rights, I would not have been governor. I suffered and my children suffered, but today we are in government.
“If you listen to them closely, our brothers, who are on the other side, they are hungry. They have been out of power for nearly eight years. If you vote them into power, what will happen? They will steal all the money. They are broke. The ones that are not broke, that are in government, they are busy stealing and building mansions everywhere. They have no fear. I have never seen corruption like this in Nigeria before.
“President Jonathan said in his letter that former President Obasanjo should apologise on the issue of $49.8 billion. Right on television, a debate between the Minister of Finance (Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) and the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) Governor (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi). The CBN Governor said they had reconciled, but they had not found $12 billion, but the Minister for Finance said it was $10.8 billion. Even if it is $1 billion, it is stealing. $1 billion is N170 billion. There are some states that their budget (annually) is N130 billion. Bring our money. I have never seen corruption like this.
“They are busy pursuing us with the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), they have never pursed any federal agency with EFCC. I will quote the Governor of Edo State (Comrade Adams Oshiomhole); he said if you write examination and you score 26 per cent, have you passed? If you score 52 per cent, have you not passed? The Federal Government is holding 52 per cent of our money. EFCC should pursue the 52 per cent and leave 26 per cent. If EFCC succeeds in doing that, have we not succeeded?”
Amaechi also stated that President Jonathan, in his reply of ex-President Obasanjo’s letter said the African Development Bank (AFDB) was carrying out the process of giving Rivers peoples water.
The NGF chairman said: “Tell Mr. President that World Bank, not AFDB. Two banks are involved. One is AfDB’ the other is World Bank. We were told by the staff of the World Bank that they are ready. Tell the President (Jonathan) to give us our water.
“If it is the President, I can understand, because the President has not served in any international organisation, but what about the woman (Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala), whose job it is to sign off, to give the water project.
“The Minister of Finance has refused to sign off, despite the fact that she served in the World Bank. She wants you (Rivers people) to die of water-borne diseases, in the name of politics. Holy Ghost fire.
“They are quarrelling with Amaechi and they want you (Rivers people) to die the death of Amaechi. I will not die. I drink bottled water. You do not drink bottled water. So, the best I can do for you and the best that the President can do for you, because he is your President, is to ask the World Bank, we hereby sign this document, that in 40 years, Rivers State will pay you your money, but they have refused to sign, just because of politics.
“If they tell us that it is AFDB, tell them I said it is both AFDB and the World Bank and we have completed everything we need to complete. All parties are ready, including the AFDB and the World Bank. They do not want to sign. They want you to die of water-borne diseases.”
The Rivers governor spoke also of the metaphor of the broom – Amaechi studied Literature at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) – stressing that the broom would sweep out dirt, but while sweeping, the sweeper must bend down.
He noted that the sweeper must suffer a bit and in suffering, the broom would be sweeping, but at the end, the house would be clean. He urged his teeming supporters to prepare to suffer under the current government, but assured them that come 2015, things would get better.
Amaechi said: “One of our sons, a Kalabari son, said that the oil wells were taken under Rufus Ada-George (former Rivers governor, from Okrika). Tell him I said he is lying. He has never been in government.
“I served in Rufus Ada-George’s government. There was no oil well taken from Rivers State. I served in Dr. Peter Odili’s government. The oil wells were taken in 2006. They put the money in an escrow account.
“By 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, they took all the money from the escrow account and gave to our brothers (in Bayelsa State) and they converted Soku to Bayelsa. My friend and brother in Bayelsa (Governor) said we do not want Soku, we just want the oil wells.”
The Rivers governor also stated that he was determined to continue to develop the state, adding that truth would prevail at the end.
The Chief Felix Obuah-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, through the Special Adviser to the Chairman on Media, Jerry Needam, however, alleged that Amaechi was no longer relevant in the Niger Delta state’s political calculation.
Gen. Buhari said: “I congratulate the people of Rivers State for moving to the APC. The fundamental thing is one Nigeria. In spite of our differences, we have found ourselves as one people. Nigeria is a country with tremendous resources and talented people, but we are unable to organise ourselves to raise this country.
“The efforts we are making is for Nigeria. We have to put the party firmly on the ground. We will do everything constitutional to make sure that 2015 elections are credible.
“We are in an extremely difficult position, where a government is lawless. Courageous Amaechi has done well. Let us support him. We are behind his government. We are going to deliver our country democratically come 2015. Nigeria will survive.”
The interim National Chairman of the APC (Akande) also stated that the last time the leaders of the opposition party were at the Government House, Port Harcourt, they came to persuade Amaechi to join the APC, while describing Rivers as an APC state.
Akande also presented the opposition party’s flag to the interim Rivers Chairman of the party, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, a former Rivers Commissioner for Special Duties, while asking him to ensure that the PDP became totally dead in the state.
While also speaking, Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, described the Rivers governor as a “wonderboy,” while disclosing that it was only on Sunday that Buhari was communicated about yesterday’s journey to Port Harcourt, while he (Buhari) was in Lagos, but rushed back to Kaduna to have a change of clothes and was in the Rivers State capital yesterday morning, ahead of most leaders of the party.
Tinubu also stated that Akande planned to travel, but because of yesterday’s rally of the APC, he decided to postpone the journey, while lauding the leaders of the party, particularly the members of the House of Representatives, whom he said at the threat of the fraudulent declaration of their seats vacant, pulled the courage together and were strongly determined and got into the progressives camp, for the progress and good of Rivers State and Nigeria.
The former Lagos governor assured the people that members of the House of Representatives who defected to the opposition party that they would “never” regret joining the APC.
Tinubu said: “The great quality of leadership is the ability to convince his followers and admirers that courage and determination are omnipotent. Amaechi, thank you. Few weeks ago, we came and we said we wanted you in our party, because of your courage, achievements and strong determination to liberate humans from the shackles of oppression, mismanagement and misgovernance.
“Thank you, for overcoming the primordial blackmail, all the plans and punishment available in the rank of the oppressors. We salute Rotimi Amaechi, because without your courage, determination, perseverance, degree of honesty and the prominent level you are, we will not witness today (yesterday) in Rivers State. You are no chicken; you are an eagle.
“The great people of Rivers State, the Save Rivers Movement and many other movements, today is the launch of the broom revolution. We want to sweep the evil away from Rivers State. We are here to sweep corruption away from Rivers State. We are here to sweep the abuse of power away from Rivers State.
“We are here to be with you, to help you clean the cobweb of lies, the cockroach of destruction, the termites of democracy, the enemies of progress and usurpation of power. Your courage is the answer.”
The APC leader (Tinubu) also urged members of the opposition party in the state not to submit to intimidation, stressing that he had experienced it before, but he is a very proud man today.
The ex-Lagos governor reiterated that the APC now has 16 governors. More will join the camp of the progressives and the challenge would be for the leaders to liberate the people, he said.
Ikimi, who is also a patron of the Save Rivers Movement, in his remarks, noted that Amaechi was fully in charge of Rivers State and had taken a giant step forward, while embracing change.
The national vice chairman, Southsouth, of the APC, stated that the NGF chairman had given Nigerians the opportunity of having an idea of what would happen in the country in the next few months, declaring that there would be fundamental change in Nigeria, describing the APC as a true national party.
He assured the people that more states in the Southsouth would soon be taken over by the APC, to bring about the desired change in Nigeria, thereby putting an end to misgovernance in the country.
Ikimi declared that persons parading themselves as leaders of the Southsouth were hangers-on and impostors, who were deceiving and taking money from President Jonathan, while asking him (the President) to chase them away.
The APC’s national vice chairman, Southsouth, later inaugurated the 37-member interim executive of the opposition party in Rivers State, with Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya as the chairman, while urging them to ensure that the opposition party was firmly rooted in the state.
Ikanya, earlier in his welcome address, stated that Amaechi’s entrance into the APC had brought the entire Rivers State into the opposition party, while declaring that the PDP no longer existed in the state.
The chairmen of the 23 local government areas of Rivers State, led by the Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers chapter, Chimbiko Iche Akarolo, came with thousands of their supporters to the stadium, and were singing, drumming and dancing.
Akarolo, who is also the Chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Council, described Amaechi as the symbol and pillar of democracy in Nigeria, assuring them that the people would continue to support him.
The Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Save Rivers Movement, Igo Aguma, stressed that the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) was to secure the future of Rivers people, while insisting that Soku is in Rivers State.
Aguma noted that he and other leaders of the PDP decided to move to the APC to get the Soku oil wells back to Rivers State, while lamenting that the Amaechi’s administration had so far spent N130 billion on Federal Government’s roads in Rivers State, without refund, while similar funds were being refunded to other state governments, describing it as double standard and injustice.
The Save Rivers Movement boss also lamented the refusal of the Federal Government to release the $1 billion for Ogoniland’s development, recommended by the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), in view of the four LGAs’ (Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme’s) years of pollution and marginalisation.
Aguma described the list of injustice done to Rivers State and its people as very long, while assuring that they would continue to support Amaechi and fight with him. – See more at: http://apc.com.ng/index.php/media-center/latest-news/item/454-2015-i%E2%80%99m-on-jonathan%E2%80%99s-watch-list-says-amaechi#sthash.w1PyTwqH.dpuf