Highlights

Amaechi and Wike: Issues Outstanding.

imageGovernor Amaechi and President Jonathan’s failure to reconcile their differences created a vacancy in Rivers State PDP. Once it was determined that Governor Amaechi had become a confirmed adversary of the president, the need arose for the president to find another man to take care of his business in Rivers State. It was the kind of opportunity which the Minister of State for Education could not miss. The minister was Amaechi’s estranged former chief of staff Nyesom Wike. Though his rapacious qualities were well known; though he had been a very important player in Amaechi’s Supreme Court victory, Wike’s ability to pull off the near impossible was not yet quite well known.
When Justice Ishaq Bello delivered a judgement in April 2013 sacking the G.U Ake led executive council of the Rivers PDP and installed Felix Obuah as the chairman of the Rivers PDP, Rivers State was momentarily shocked; next the Amaechi camp was outraged and at the same time all those who had been bruised by Amaechi’s governorship exploded in excitement. One side saw the judgement as a mockery of justice while the other side saw it as poetic justice. Nyesom Wike had pulled off the judicial feat and Jonathan would look no further for the man to put Rotimi Amaechi in his place.
Despite having written tirelessly against Amaechi’s provocative confrontation of President Jonathan, I was still shocked at what Nyesom Wike and Felix Obuah had achieved in the name of Justice. A man who had been physically absent from the Rivers PDP chairmanship primary had been installed by the court while the duly elected chairman, a second term chairman had been sent packing. It was incredible and quite disappointing to see the president celebrate such a travesty of justice. The trouble with Amaechi had reduced Jonathan to embracing impunity. That was when I withdrew my support for the president.
Backed by presidential clout and the knowledge that no court would overturn the judgement procured, Wike, soon declared the party leader once Amaechi was suspended, continued a well planned battle against the stupendously courageous but weak strategist Amaechi right up to August 31, 2013 when the Amaechi camp formally broke away at the PDP mini-primary in Abuja with the rest of the Kawu Baraje faction. During the period from the sacking of the Ake led executive council to the factionalisation of the PDP, Wike had masterminded a botched impeachment saga at the Rivers State House of Assembly, the inhospitable reception for some Northern governors in cahoots with Amaechi in the rebellion against the president and the conspiracy with Joseph Mbu the Rivers Police Commissioner at the time to rubbish Governor Amaechi’s authority as the chief security officer of the state. At a point, Mbu even surpassed Amaechi’s blunt and tactless utterances in the public space by insulting the governor in a manner most unexpected of a very senior police officer . It was impossible for me despite Amaechi’s indiscretion to support a siege on the authority and person of the duly elected governor.
Pound for pound, Governor Amaechi should go down as the most courageous fighter of the Jonathan era. It will always be argued, whether he made the right choice or otherwise to have moved against Jonathan, so early in the second term. It certainly served the APC perfectly but for the rest of his tenure, President Jonathan, his wife and other presidential agents would ensure that Wike would have control over the security forces in the state. In a nutshell, that should explain how Wike managed to impose his will on the elections in Rivers State
It has been argued that if Amaechi had concentrated his attention on Rivers State instead of accepting to be the director-general of the Buhari campaign that he could have stemmed Wike’s rampage on the election. Probably not. Though Wike planned and supervised the electoral heist in Rivers, the powers that he wielded came from the commander in chief and his wife. As a governor, Amaechi was rendered impotent on election day by powers presidential. The electoral process in Rivers was a rape, no less. The governor watched helplessly, only managing to cuss and call for a boycott of the voting process. At the end of the day, Wike delivered 1.4 million votes to the president while Amaechi could not even deliver his home town to Buhari. I had warned Governor Amaechi earlier of the danger of abandoning Rivers and throwing himself completely into the Buhari campaign. Buhari did not need his political skills to win the election. He only needed his dosh. I did realize that Amaechi had to make a hard choice about his future. He probably felt that the only way he would be safe from the vengeance of the Jonathan was to ensure their exit from power and not by scoring gubernatorial victory in Rivers. The facts showed however that Buhari’s victory came from the massive support he garnered in the North and West. He would have still acquired those votes without Amaechi as DG. Amaechi’s irreplaceable role was probably as a major financier of the campaign. His opponents have alleged that this had a direct bearing on the arrears of salary and pension which he failed to pay, creating the need for a popular rescue mission, giving Wike another opportunity to rescue those in need, this time not the president. Perhaps, Amaechi should have been more mindful of stopping Wike than stopping Jonathan.
Amaechi’s protégé the Rivers APC gubernatorial candidate Dakuku Peterside is presently conducting a determined battle to annul the election which made Wike governor. There is no way that Wike will not be having anxious moments about this especially as Amaechi is the big political clout behind Dakuku Peterside.  It can not be coincidental that ever since Amaechi left office, the Wike administration has hounded him with allegations from looting Government House on his way out to looting the treasury. An official probe of the Amaechi administration has begun. It is ironic.
When Wike was arrested by the EFCC for allegedly laundering billions of naira in 2008, Governor Amaechi came to his rescue. Wiki was then his trusted chief of staff. Was Amaechi obstructing the cause of justice then by shielding Wike? Recently, Amaechi recounted a story he had told before, narrating how Wike as his chief of staff, embezzled billions of naira meant for road projects. Why did Amaechi allow this? Does that not make him an accessory to embezzlement? Is this not self-indictment? How can he buy houses abroad without a bank account in those places? Amaechi and Wike have both dipped hands into the euphoric cesspool of government corruption.
The current probe is obviously part of Wike’s fight plan to degrade Amaechi. It is not clear if the mud already thrown at him is the reason why he was not appointed SGF as many of his supporters had hoped. There is no proof that he was really being considered in the first place. Nyesom Wike’s probe will uncover and cover a lot. Wike certainly had a good helping from the gravy train though that can hardly matter for as long as he enjoys the immunity of a governor.
I fiercely criticised the Rivers Mono Rail Project. It was a dim-witted waste of billions. These things always come back to haunt one. Perhaps, Amaechi’s greatest indiscretion was his open warfare with Jonathan. His nemesis arose from his backyard of neglect. Can Amaechi rightly claim that he has escaped the fury of Goodluck Jonathan, if he has not rid himself of Wike’s predatory probe? One more thing is clear, as Wike enters his hundred day in office season; the pot-holes that he is filling and the other things that he is doing, all seem like a picnic against the weight of Amaechi’s first term infrastructure development. Of course Wike was there. Too bad, Amaechi had to fall down while exiting.

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