Thursday, 14 March 2013

Rivers Assembly Splits into Two Camps...As Amaechi, Wike's Men Clash Over Vote of Confidence on Amaechi

Speaker RSHA
By Chinedu Uchegbu
The Rivers State House of Assembly has now been splintered into two main contending camps. This is coming after four months of speculation on when ans how the simmering rift in the Assembly will burst into the open.
The catalyst for the 'first public outing' of the lingering division in the House was the confidence vote passed on the state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi last week Thursday.

The lingering face-off between Amaechi and his erstwhile confidant and minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesome Wike, took centre stage at the State House of Assembly, as supporters of both parties squared up against each other, using the confidence vote to test each camp's resolve and strength. Amaechi and Wike had been involved in a long battle of political supremacy in the state. Cick on read more to continue...
Rivers State Government officials had in the past denied the rumours making the rounds that the governor and his former Chief of Staff and Nyesome Wike, had been at logger heads.

But while both Amaechi and Wike had refused to come out openly to confirm or deny the rift. Events in the state recently have brought to the fore, the disagreement between them over their political interests.
Government statement make veiled references to an Abuja based politician who is working against the interest of the state and championing attempts by the Presidency to remove Amaechi as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum.

While Amaechi has not made any specific reference to Wike as the leader of the plot, his body language had long shown that he was battle ready to confront the man, generally believed to have been behind his successful assuption of office as governor of the state.

The governor was said to have shunned activities involving Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Wike's area, and had also excluded the council from handling state activities in the council area.

Thus it was drama on the floor of the House as supporters of two rival political leaders in the state battled for supremacy.
The State Assembly was thrown into confusion as law makers took opposing sides disagreeing on the motion to pass a vote of confidence in the state governor.

Twenty six of thirty two members supported the motion presented by the House Leader, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, while three others, believed to be believed to be followers of the Wike, opposed the motion. With three members absent from the House.

A member representing Obio/Akpor II in the House, Hon. Michael Chinda, had opposed the 'vote of confidence' motion, arguing that the achievements of the governor was part of his duties as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

Chinda known to be Wike's strong ally said Amaechi owed the people of the state the responsibility to protect lives properties.
"This motion ought not to come to this hallowed chambers because the governor has already performed his duties," Chinda said, adding that the delay in the completion of the Ease West Road was because of other competing federal projects.

Chinda said that Assembly should pass a motion compelling the Federal Government to allot more funds to the road project rather than passing a vote of confidence in the governor.
Chinda's contribution obviously did not go down well with other members and it appeared that the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, did not want other Wike's supporters in the Assembly to speak on the motion.

Several attempts by member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency I, Hon. Martins Amehwule, to speak were not successful even after he called the house to order with 38, Rule 1.
Amaewhule insisted he would speak on the motion, arguing that all sides must be heard in the House. His insistence tried to create rowdiness in the chambers and the Speaker had to call the Sergent-at-Arms to arrest Amaewhule.

Amaewhule later calmed down and Amaechi's men had their way in passing the motion when the Speaker divided the House.
Twenty three law makers voted in support of the motion, while three: Hon Kelechi Nwogu, Amaewhule and Chinda voted against it.

Hon. Evans Bapakaye Bipi, believed to be very close to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, was not present at the sitting ans also did not sign the motion.

Part of the resolution read "That the people of Rivers State do herein resate our total confidence in the person, leadership, disposition, and response of His Excellency, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Governor of Rivers State to the centripetal political forces of the Nigerian State..."

Lloyd. who presented the motion, urged Presidential Goodluck Jonathan not to allow political jobbers to distract him, recalling that the state gave him the highest votes in the 2011 Presidential election.

"You will recall that our governor and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) has come under attacks by reason of his principled position in presenting in issues that affect the vision and mission of Rivers people.
Rivers people did not vote for the governor to sit in Government House ans watch sister states excise from us sections of our people and property.
Again, Rivers people did not vote for him to sit in Government House and watch the East-West road devalue the Rivers economy and/or our people roasted  like chicken in recurrent but avoidable accidents on the East-West road," Chidi said.

Continuing, he said, You will recall that in recent past, our governor and chairman of NGF has come under premeditated political attacks by rason of his principled position in presenting issues that affect the vision and mission of Rivers people," he finished.

Hon. Victor Amadi, Hon Onari Brown (Akuku Toru constituency I) and Hon. Aye Pepple all spoke in favour of the motion, stating that the governor was being attacked because he wanted the best for the state and its people.

It will recalled that on Monday, February 4th, Rivers State caucus in the House of Representives paid a solidarity visit to Amaechi, pledging their support and stating that they would intensify their call for more action  to ensure the speedy completion of the East-West road.

All members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State were in the delegation, except member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, also believed to be Wike's man.

Perhaps, the first political in the state to openly accuse Wike of working against Amaechi is former chairman of the House committee on Gas, Mr. Igo Aguma.
Aguma at a press briefing in Port Harcourt recently, accused Wike of rallying "Abuja- based politicians to fight Amaechi."

"I hear that sme people are ganging up against Amaechi. I laugh. That gang-up will fail. The God that brought Amaechi and made him to put these projects in place; that God will make them fail.
That brings me to those who say they are ganging up against the governor. Well, let them draw from experience. No matter how you do it, the answer is failure," Aguma had said.

Continuing, he added, "Is it not somebody who has worked under the governor and is now a minister of state? The governor had asked Wike, "How come you are working under me and you are exhibiting such affluence? So you go to Abuja and start ganging up. Nyesom Wike is the head of the Abuja group. They will only fail," Aguma emphasised.

Of recent members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has taken sides over lingering rift between Amaechi and Wike.
The increased tension can be traced to politicians jostling for positions of advantage ahead of the 2015 elections and aligning with leaders who they believe would best protect their interests in the emerging political era.

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