Sunday, 30 June 2013

Jonathan, Amaechi move to settle rift

Excerpts from Article written by Daniel Abia Snr Correspondent,  Port Harcourt - June 30th 2013

Friends again! President Goodluck Jonathan (left), seems to be telling Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi when the President arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa …Saturday.
As the political crisis in Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) continues, President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday afternoon at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa showed clearly where the pendulum would likely swing to when the political dust finally settles down.

Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, a former associate of the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who served as Amaechi’s Chief of Staff during governor’s first tenure, has been the arrowhead of the opposition to Amaechi as the feud between the governor and the president ensued.
Wike was nominated to the president for ministerial appointment when the going was good but, shortly after his appointment as minister, Wike fell out with Amaechi and has since pitched his tent with Aso Rock.

But the tables appear to have turned with events indicating that Jonathan and Amaechi may have initiated moves to settle their differences.
When the President arrived Port Harcourt airport in a Presidential helicopter at about midday en route Abuja from Bayelsa, he embraced Amaechi and members of the Rivers State executive council who were at the airport to receive him in order of protocol, but shunning the factional PDP opposition group in the state led by Wike who were there also to express their loyalty. The President’s disposition to Amaechi at the brief airport ceremony left Wike and his group confused and dumbfounded.

As the President alighted from the chopper, he shook  hands with Amaechi, the Managing Director of  the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), Dr. Chris Oboh; and a couple of others but ignored the roll of Wike’s loyalists who stood close to the aircraft.

When told who Wike’s loyalists are, the President completely ignored and avoided them, but moved to the line where Amaechi’s exco members were standing, waiting to greet him. The President and Amaechi could be seen talking to each other with Amaechi pointing towards the direction of his council members. Wike, who was also at the airport, was seen frantically trailing behind them.
After Jonathan boarded the presidential jet, Wike and members of his group looked perplexed and dejected.

The minister had mobilised his loyalists who consist mainly of militants and the court-installed PDP state executive to the airport to welcome the president. One of them was heard saying, “It’s like we have lost out o. Why have they been lying to us that Mr. President is with us? This has shown clearly that they have been lying to us.”

In a related development, the people of Ogoniland have expressed concern over the recent statement credited to Wike, as well as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Felix Obuah, claiming that the era of zoning in Rivers’ politics is gone for good.
Obuah made the declaration recently at a public function at Elele in Ikwere Local Government Area (LGA) of the state that the party’s executive council would no more honor any form of zoning in the forthcoming 2015 general elections with a particular reference to the governorship.

But the Ogonis have viewed the statement as a direct affront to their political dream of having a shot at the governorship position in 2015. They feel that, as the state chairman of the party, Obuah should be neutral on party affairs.
The vexation of the Ogonis is premised on the fact that, as the second largest ethnic group in the state, “we have never gone beyond the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), which Magnus Abe occupied during Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s first term in office,” lamented Tanee Bisong, a youth leader in Ogoni.

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