Deputy Governor Of River State, Tele Ikuru, Expresses His Deepest Impressions About His Boss, Rotimi Amaechi
Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
Tension in River State is approaching melting point as Deputy Governor of the state, Tele Ikuru, who on the eve of the general election, dumped his boss, Rotimi Amaechi and All Progressives Congress (APC), and rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has lashed out at the governor as “irresponsible”. Ikuru was reacting to Amaechi’s refusal to set up a transition committee to liaise with that set up by governor-elect, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, for smooth transition of power in the state. Pained by Amaechi’s refusal, Ikuru, who spoke at a press conference in Port Harcourt yesterday, in his capacity as Chairman of the Wike Transition Committee, told journalists that Amaechi’s behaviour, was the height of irresponsibility. He lamented the uncooperative attitude of the Amaechi administration and stated that the governor had turned down all entreaties to ensure that there was seamless transition on May 29.
In his remarks, Secretary of the committee, Mr. Frank Owhor, observed if the Amaechi could be appointed as a member of the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari transition, his refusal to do same in Rivers State only “confirms the conflict and contradiction in the character of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi”. Owhor further disclosed that “letters dispatched to the Rivers State governor by personal delivery and DHL courier service, were rejected and returned”. “In another instance, a top ranking officer informed the transition committee that staff was under instruction not to receive any correspondence from the transition committee. Mails dispatched to the governor by electronic mail and also delivered to the Secretary to the State Government were not even acknowledged”, he said.
The committee’s scribe described the lack of cooperation by the governor, and officials of Rivers State government, as “irresponsible” and an “embarrassment” to the people of Rivers State. He adds that Amaechi has the constitutional, legal, moral and social responsibility to ensure a smooth and orderly transition of power to the new government.“This is the way it is going in the PDP states that are in the process of handing over to the newly elected APC administrations like in Benue, Niger and Kaduna states”, Owhor stated. On the controversy surrounding the swearing-in of the governor-elect, in view of Aamechi’s refusal to appoint a substantive Chief Judge for the state or President of the Customary Court of Appeal and the Grand Khadi of the Shari’a Court, following the closure of the judiciary in Rivers State for more than one year now, Owhor assured that Wike would be sworn-in after all.
“Nothing can stop the swearing-in of the governor-elect, Barrister Nyesom Wike. The provision of the constitution must be complied with. On May 29, one government must end and another one has to take over from there. He will be sworn-in”, Owhor assured. It will be recalled that Wike had on April 29 set up the transition committee for a peaceful and seamless hand over of reins of power. On the other hand, Amaechi has refused to do same. In her reaction, the state commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari said the Amaechi administration will not set up a transition committee. She said rather the various ministries, departments and agencies are preparing briefs and handover notes for the incoming administration.
According to Semenitari “We are ready for handover much unlike the PDP at the centre that is busy making new appointments and sacking people. “They have refused to brief the Buhari Transition and the APC isn’t screaming blue murder. Rather the APC at the centre is meeting and planning and preparing for government. Unfortunately in Rivers State the PDP is busy doctoring election results to cover their stolen mandate and crying wolf to cover their mischief” Meanwhile, Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has appealed to aggrieved aspirants and supporters, who are dissatisfied with the conduct of last Tuesday’s controversial primaries for the forthcoming local government elections in the state slated for May 23, 2015, to remain calm.
APC chairman in the state, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, made the appeal in a press statement signed by his media aide, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze. Ikanya begged aggrieved chairmanship and councillorship aspirants of the party to follow laid down channels to present their grievances instead of taking actions which may portray them and the party in bad light. “We wish to remind all aggrieved aspirants that APC is a party founded on justice and to assure them that we will never deviate from that path. However, we realise that this is an imperfect human system and that mistakes are bound to occur sometimes, but we wish to assure that necessary steps would be taken to correct every proven case of injustice,” he said.
He also appealed to all aggrieved party members to exercise restraint as they seek justice, cautioning them to avoid embarking on actions which may turn out to be counter-productive. Ikanya faulted the decision of the “People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for cowardly chickening out of the Council Polls, saying that the party is taking the action because it is afraid of suffering woeful defeat in the election. “It is instructive that out of the 28 active parties in the state, only PDP is threatening to boycott the council polls on flimsy excuses. Contrary to the claims of the party, Governor Chibuike Amaechi did not fix the date of the election. It was fixed by the independent electoral body saddled with that responsibility. Besides, there is no court order stopping the polls as claimed by Rivers PDP”, he said.