Governor Amaechi, The Presidential Scape Goat By Muhammad Ibrahim
The recent debacle brought about by the Governors’ Forum election proved to Nigerians that our polity is still very immature and needs urgent review, if not total overhauling. This is especially worrisome in light of the fact that if 35 adult, duly elected governors could not conduct a credible election amongst themselves, just how would a hundred and fifty million people be expected to get it right? We have adopted a system of democracy reminiscent to that of developed countries, yet we continue to show that achieving their level of political stability is a dream that may never come to fruition.
What even seems to be most confounding about this case is the meddling by the Presidency – a body which should not have been involved in this process at all. Governor Rotimi Amaechi clearly emerged victorious with 19 votes; yet, Governor Jonah Jang who had just 16 declared himself winner with the active support of the Presidential Mathematical Council – the only institution in the world that can prove that 16 is indeed greater than 19. Is this mathematical transformation also part of President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda?
While the Presidency has repeatedly denied involvement in the disputed elections, accounts of the President being unsettled at the African Union Summit have been linked to his failure to deliver the speech he was initially meant to. The presidential spokespersons – in their characteristic dishonest manner – claimed that the president was suffering from a running stomach while others insisted that he didn’t deliver his speech because he was busy monitoring the election via incessant calls to Governor Godswill Akpabio instead. Why would he show so much interest if, in fact, he wasn’t interested?
Despite the strong criticism from well-meaning Nigerians, Governor Jang proceeded with an illegal mandate and in a bold move, called for a meeting of the NGF. The turn-out was paltry but he was not one to be discouraged; within a very short period of time, Amaechi was suspended from the party, no doubt as punishment for winning the election. The Presidency further proved its complicity when it organized a governors’ dinner on the same day that Amaechi had proposed to have a meeting of the NGF, thereby ensuring the governors would be at the Villa instead.
From the confiscation of his state’s N7bn (or N9bn according to the anti-Amaechi faction) private jet and the deliberate crisis that rocked the Rivers state chapter of the PDP emerged a much bigger problem when five anti-Amaechi members of the Rivers State House of Assembly attempted to ‘overthrow’ the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers and the chambers erupted in violence, the magnitude of which had been seldom previously experienced. The mace, an object held sacred by the constitution, was used as a weapon.
Constitutionally, any motion or bill that is to be passed must have a vote and endorsement of two-thirds of the House. This was, however, once again disproved by the Presidential Mathematical Council as 5 lawmakers made a brazen move to override the will of 27 others and declare the leader of the legislative coup the new Speaker. What’s even more shocking is the PDP’s endorsement of this illegality by congratulating the ‘New Speaker’, a lawless impostor.
The Presidency’s involvement was made even more glaring when security personnel refused to do the right thing to curb the menace, leaving Amaechi himself no other option than to rush down to the scene. Further proof of the Presidency’s complicity in this matter was the withdrawal of Amaechi’s security aides. As if anticipating this move, Amaechi had earlier petitioned the Inspector-General of police, asking that the Rivers State Commissioner of Police be withdrawn – a request which was, of course, turned down.
This ‘punishment’ being meted out to Amaechi can only be traced to his victory in the NGF elections and rumours that he would most likely be Sule Lamido’s running mate in the 2015 presidential elections. In a truly free democratic state, no one should be punished for exercising or wanting to exercise a constitutional right – the right to vote and be voted for.
With the drums of war being beaten by issuing threats of prosecution, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, said: “Security agencies should investigate the matter (fracas) thoroughly and keep the file because I still find it amazing and tragic for the governor to go into the House of Assembly to play an active role in the fracas. It amazes me.”
Gulak is obviously yet another deluded aide who supports every decision made by this incompetent government in order to ensure that bread crumbs do not cease to drop in his plate; and as is the norm with others like him, his statements usually always lack logic. His statement makes one want to ask whether it was Amaechi who initiated the mayhem, or the five Villa-sponsored thugs moonlighting as legislators.
The Federal House of Representatives taking control of the Rivers House of Assembly can only be a good thing if the federal lawmakers do what is right and not dance to the tune of the Presidency.
In this age and time, especially in the global political clime, it should be permissible for people to nurse whichever ambitions they wish as long as such ambitions do not contravene the laws and ethics which form the bedrock of society. Nigeria should do more than just model it’s democracy after that of advanced nations, but should also endeavor to do away with the do-or-die mentality and replicate the political stability that those nations equally possess.
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