Rivers crisis: Amaechi gives Jonathan condition for peace



There are indications that the political crisis in Rivers State may linger following the condition given to President Goodluck Jonathan by the State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.


Amaechi, who had visited the President in Aso Villa Friday last week, had gone into a brief meeting with Jonathan with a view to resolving the crisis rocking the state, including the dwindling security situation in the state.

An impeccable source had told Saturday PUNCH that one of the conditions given to President Jonathan by the state governor was the sacking of the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike.

The governor, according to the source, who is a stakeholder of the PDP in Rivers State, had expressed his discomfort over Wike’s overbearing attitude in the state.

It was gathered that Amaechi had told the President that the minister’s utterances in recent times were worsening the already tensed situation in the state.

“He specifically told President Goodluck Jonathan that Wike should be sacked so that peace would come back to Rivers. That was one of the things he (Amaechi) demanded from the President.

“The governor believes that with Wike’s utterances, it will be difficult for peace to reign in the state. Amaechi was particularly not comfortable with the influence of the minister on the PDP in the state,” the source said.

Wike had told his supporters to be ready to fight, a directive that appeared not to have gone down well with Amaechi and his supporters.

But the Chairman of the state chapter of the PDP, Mr. Felix Obuah, explained that Amaechi could not have asked President Jonathan to sack a man who was the brain behind his rise in politics.

Obuah pointed out that if Amaechi had made such a demand, the President would not accede to it, even as he described the minister as one of the best in Jonathan’s administration.

On the call by the minister on his (Wike) supporters to fight, the state PDP state chairman, in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, said the move was aimed at ensuring that his followers stood for their right.

Obuah said, “I am not sure that he (Amaechi) made such demand because I was not there. I don’t think that Amaechi will ask for Wike’s sacking because he (Wike) is the brain behind the governor’s rise in politics.

“But if Amaechi said so, I don’t think the President would sack one of his best hands. Wike has tried his best in terms of performance and has imbibed the principle of ‘go-round’ because he believes in reaching out to everybody.

“When Wike told his supporters to fight, what he meant was that his supporters must fight for their right. A situation where the governor does not embrace the rule of law, what does he (Amaechi) expect?”

Also, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Tony Okocha, insisted that his boss would not demand for the sacking of the minister.

Okocha, who spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent, however, pointed out that although Amaechi was not interested in the removal of Wike as a minister, it did not remove the fact that the minister was the hatchet man fuelling the crisis in the state.

The governor’s aide explained that the minister’s call on his supporters exposed his (Wike) inordinate ambition to become the governor in 2015, even when the zoning principle did not favour him..

“He is an Ikwerre man and the governor is also from Ikwerre and we do not think that it is fair for another Ikwerre person to be governor in 2015 based on the zoning principle,” Okocha added.


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