How Patience Jonathan Influenced Amaechi’s Suspension From the PDP
Facts emerging show how the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, allegedly influenced the suspension of Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Amaechi was suspended by the National Working Committee (NWC) this Monday on the grounds that he violated Articles 58 1(b), (c ), (h) and (m) of the PDP. But the suspension was largely seen as a direct fallout of the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) which Amaechi won.
A highly placed source disclosed to LEADERSHIP that a bitter Mrs Jonathan allegedly summoned the members of the NWC and handed down a stern directive to them to immediately place the embattled governor on suspension after Amaechi emerged victorious in the NGF election.
But the directive, according to the source, threw the NWC members into confusion as to what “sins” would be adduced as reason for such action. Some of them, it was disclosed, attempted to argue against it on the basis that such an “extreme measure” was too hasty and that anchoring the reasons on Amaechi’s victory at the NGF polls would portray the NWC as childish.
“It became a case of what and what reason will be strong enough to justify the suspension; even at that, some members suggested that the governor should first of all be summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee of the party before any suspension. Yet somebody was said to have reminded the members that there is no subsisting disciplinary committee in place,” said the source.
At this point, continued the source, a certain petition generated by the newly inaugurated executive of the party in the state, which had been lying unattended to in the secretariat, was exhumed. The content of the petition, which has to do with the failure of the governor to reinstate the suspended elected executive of the Obio/Akpor council became very fanciful and presented an explainable reason for Amaechi’s suspension, the source added.
LEADERSHIP was told that what was done was entirely to please the first lady who allegedly has not hidden her intent to even remove Amaechi from office.
One of such moves, the source continued, was when Mrs Jonathan allegedly met some security chiefs in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, and instructed them to effect the removal of the governor immediately. “On this, she was politely rebuffed when she was reminded that, in a democracy, it is the lot of only the state House of Assembly to effect the removal of a state governor through impeachment.
Besides, some highly placed Nigerians in government who were placed in the know of the development because of the persistent pressure by the first lady warned the service chiefs to steer clear of the democratic structures and ensure that they cleared any such directive with the president and commander-in-chief whom they are answerable to.
“The issue of clearing from the president became necessary because of the frequency with which the first lady allegedly hands down some directives on the pretext that it originated from Mr President. On many occasions, the woman had had cause to assign some ‘very bizarre’ duties using the president as a backup.
It got to a hilt that sometimes the president feigned ignorance of such development, at which time it had become too late, as the deed had been done. The implication is that the issue of Amaechi was a plot finally consummated as it was an old-time project allegedly spearheaded by Mrs Jonathan,” the source added.
However, the suspension, the source further revealed, is already generating frightening ripple effects. The NWC is said to be divided down the line, but the members are afraid to revolt in the open. Some of them are said to be miffed at the development and suspect that the first lady may grow to become so overbearing in the party in the days to come, if not checked. “The Amaechi saga is a test case and is a signal that it could get to a time when the party would be used to settle scores, even personal ones at that,” the source stated.
Efforts made to get a response from the spokesman of the first lady, Mr Ayo Asinlu, were futile at press time as he neither picked several calls to his phone nor responded to text messages sent to him.
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