Thursday, 20 May 2010

News Report: Second Tenure Ambition Of Nigeria's Major Oil State Governor In Jeopardy

                                 [Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi]

The second tenure ambition of Nigeria's major Oil state governor, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi may be in jeopardy following the displeasure of the influential Okirika and Kalabari power blocs. Amaechi, whose ascendance to the governorship of Rivers state was through a Supreme court ruling will complete his first tenure in october 2011.

The Okirika and Kalabari blocs, used to being in the mainstream of political decisions have reportedly suddenly found themself gasping for political survival.

Contacts who spoke to chidi opara reports alleged that the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi government is sympathetic to the cause of the upland area, especially the Ikwerres, to the neglect of the river rine area, especially the Okirikas and Kalabaris. The governor is an Ikwerre.

A particular contact alleged that the Amaechi administration have for instance, being paying huge sums as compensation to Ikwerres whose landed properties were demolished in the urban renewal scheme, but have always found excuses to deny payment to their Okirika and kalabari counterparts. "Even houses and fences built on drianages and other unauthorized places are paid for before demolition if they belong to Ikwerres", this contact further alleged. chidi opara reports could not verify this allegation at the time of preparing this report. When we sought the views of the state commissioner of urban development, he declined to talk on phone, inviting us to his office instead, when we suggested e-mail communication, he also decline on ground of being "very busy". One of our network members however, visited his office at the state secretariate complex twice, but could not get his attention.

Amaechi's second tenure ambition a few months ago appeared accomplished with Mr. Uche Secondus as the People's Democratic Party(PDP), National Vice President for the south-south which covers Rivers state and Mr. Godspower Ake as chairman of the state chapter. Amaechi became governor on the platform of PDP. These proteges of the governor are known to have good working relationship with the then national chairman of the party, Mr. Vincent Ogbulafor. Mr. Amaechi himself maintained a close personal relationship with key members of the then powerful Yar'Adua cabal.

Events of the past few months have however cast doubt on the accomplishment of this second tenure ambition. Amaechi, the Imo state Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, the Bayelsa state governor, Timiprey Silva are reported to have discreetly  played along side the Yar'Adua cabal to block Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from becoming acting President during the absence of late Umaru Yar'Adua due to ill health.

With the sudden "resignation" last week of the PDP national Chairman, new structures absolutely loyal to the President are expected to emerge at all levels. These structures are to ensure the emergency of candidates with unquestionable loyalty to the President in the 2011 elections and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for now is not on the list.

The Okirikas in particular are reported to be exploiting their close marital relationship with the President to try and fraustrate Amaechi's second tenure ambition. This campaign we learnt authoritatively is led by an Okirika born Amaechi political enemy based in Abuja. The President's wife is from Okirika.

chidi opara reports also learnt from another authoritative contact that the Rivers state governor is contemplating using prominent Ikwerre elders to reach out to Okirika and Kalabari elders for an amicable settlement. We also learnt that overtures are being made to a prominent Ijaw leader known to be very close to the President to intervene on the Rivers States governor's behalf. Amaechi's media campaign have also received a boost with an editor of a Lagos based news magazine and a United States of America(USA) based online publisher planning a campaign "to further showcase the governor's developmental strides".