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Amaechi’s long, snaky path to APC

The APC delegation, led by its national leaders Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former military head of state, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the party’s…

The APC delegation, led by its national leaders Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former military head of state, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the party’s interim national chairman Chief Bisi Akande, the South-South interim coordinator of the party and former Foreign Affairs Minister Chief Tom Ikimi, appealed to the governor to join the APC, the party the delegates claimed would give him a sense of belonging and entrench internal democracy.
Governor Amaechi was, however, tactical in his response to that request as he promised his guests that he would consult President Goodluck Jonathan and the elders of the state before deciding on defection to the APC.
But Jonathan, through his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak told Amaechi that he did not need the consent of the President before joining the APC, challenging him to go ahead to join the party.
Thereafter, the governor boasted that he would mobilise millions of people in Rivers State to the newly constructed Adoki Amasiemeka Stadium the day he would defect to APC.  His guests left Port Harcourt satisfied that their political dragnet had caught a big fish.
Shortly after that, five of the G7 governors pulled out of the PDP having failed to resolve their differences with the party and President Jonathan and consequently defected to the APC. Governor Amaechi returned to the state and informed his followers that he had abandoned the PDP and had pitched his tent with APC. From that moment, the governor’s foot soldiers embarked on membership drive and sensitisation campaign to inform everyone that APC is a party that would protect the interest of Rivers’ people.
All the 23 local government council chairmen in the state held rallies in their respective areas to sensitise members and garner support for the governor’s new party. Hence, the December 23, 2013 APC sensitisation rally which took place at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt was the climax of the local government rallies. The governor organised the sensitisation rally for two reasons. Firstly, to showcase his political strength in the state and prove wrong those who are in doubt that he is still in control of large political followership in the state. The second thought the governor had in mind was to take advantage of the rally and demonstrate to the Presidency that he is relevant in Rivers State political calculation.
These were obvious in his remarks at the sensitisation rally. Amaechi said, “I have challenged the president that I belong to APC. If he wants me back in PDP, let him return the oil wells to Kalabari people and I will come back. If a South-South president refused to give you water, you will push him out. If it’s the president, I can understand because the president has not served in any international organisation but what about the Finance Minster whose job it is to sign off the water contract. She wants people to die of water borne diseases in the name of politics,” Amaechi told President Jonathan at the rally.
The governor did not stop there. He also dared the Presidency when he said, “You must know that if you read the story of revolution, you must sacrifice. Somebody said my son should come to the front. If you want my son tomorrow, I will produce him.
“If I have surrendered myself and I am ready to be in front, let them shoot. The president has refused to allow World Bank finance our water project. They are quarrelling with Amaechi and they want you, Rivers people to die the death of Amaechi. I will not die, I drink bottled water. You do not drink bottled water. They do not want to sign the water project contract. They want you to die of water borne diseases. Today, I am not declaring. I said I would declare at the new stadium.
“But the reason for the gathering today is to remind Nigerians that the current federal government is carrying on with impunity. There is no rule of law in Nigeria. They are using police to molest us. Where police fail to molest us, they are using thugs to shoot dynamites and gun against innocent people. I read the president’s letter and he said ex- President Obasanjo should prove the 1,000 names on the watch list. I am number one on the list. They want to kill me. But they have no God. They want the position at all cost. We gave the president nearly two million votes, let him tell us one project he has done for us”.
Speaking at the occasion, the former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari said the APC would do everything within the law to ensure that 2015 general elections were credible and devoid of electoral malpractices.
“I congratulate the people of Rivers State for moving to the APC. The fundamental thing is one Nigeria. In spite of our differences, we have found ourselves as one people. Nigeria is a country with tremendous resources and talented people. But we are unable to organize ourselves to raise the country. The efforts we are making are for Nigeria. We have to put the party firmly on the ground. We will do everything constitutionally to make sure that 2015 elections are credible. We are in an extremely difficult position, where government is lawless. Courageous Amaechi has done well, let us support him,” he said.
National chairman of the APC Chief Bisi Akande commended members of the House of Representatives for taking bold steps and defecting to APC despite threat from the ruling party to declare their seats vacant.
“When we visited Rivers State a couple of weeks ago, we begged you people to join our party. But today, our prayer has been answered as Rivers State is now an APC state,” Akande said.
National leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his remarks, described Amaechi as a wonder boy who is determined to liberate Rivers State from the shackles of corruption and bad leadership.
“We want Amaechi in the APC because of his courage and determination to liberate Rivers people from corruption and bad leadership. Without your courage, we would not witness what we are seeing today. Your courage has made Rivers State to be captured by the APC.
“Today is the launch of broom revolution. We are here to sweep out corruption, bad leadership and abuse of power from Rivers State. We are here to remove termite and cockroaches of bad corruption and nepotism. Our revolution for change started with 5 governors to 8 governors to 11 and now we have 16 governors in our fold,” Tinubu also said.
Also speaking, the Interim South-South zonal vice chairman of APC Chief Tom Ikimi said the gathering of APC leaders in Port Harcourt was a turning point in the political history of the state.
Ikimi said the APC revolution had swept across Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Adamawa, Kwara, Rivers and Edo states, stressing that “with Rivers and Edo states firmly in APC, the conquest of Delta is imminent”.
Before Amaechi’s decision to join the APC, it could be recalled that on July 9, 2013, the attempt to impeach Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker Otelemaba Amachree by five lawmakers loyal to President Jonathan failed, following the intervention of Governor Amaechi.
The failed plot to impose Evans Bipi by five out 32 lawmakers as speaker would have provided the much needed ingredient to impeach Governor Amaechi, who is seen as a stumbling block to the purported 2015 presidential bid of President Jonathan.
Amaechi had to intervene after realising that the security forces which ought to have brought the illegal plan under control seemed to have been compromised.
The fracas that trailed the failed impeachment bid left some lawmakers injured. Bipi was seeing at the Presidential Villa after the crisis.
The Federal House of Representatives later took over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly. A court in Abuja recently declared the take-over as illegal. But Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had announced that the House would appeal the ruling not minding if it got to the apex court.

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