I Made Wike Minister, Opara Deputy Speaker, Now they are Fighting me – Amaechi
Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Monday said he was instrumental to the appointments of the supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara, in 2003.
He lamented that despite the roles he played in the appointment of Wike and Opara, both politicians were now fighting him.
Amaechi spoke at the 199th convention of the Ikwerre Cultural Organisation, Worldwide, in Ahai Ogbakiri, Emohua Local Government Area of the state.
The Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention is the umbrella socio-cultural body of Ikwerre people , the largest ethnic nationality in the state to which Amaechi, Wike and Opara belong.
The governor also said despite his contributions to give the Ikwerre ethnic nationality facelift and give it a pride of place in Rivers State and on the national stage, his brothers who were conniving to fight him for their personal selfish interests had betrayed him.
He said: “Gradually, we are beginning to wind up in government and I have started counting my blessings or losses one by one as a governor of Rivers State for all Rivers people but from Ikwerre ethnic nationality. I have started asking what have I done for Ikwerre people and I am convinced that the Ikwerre history cannot be complete if my name is not mentioned.
“And, I am not saying this because I am the governor. As speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, I ensured that most parts of Ikwerre have roads. The ones that didn’t get then, when I became governor they got roads. Only a few communities may not have roads in Ikwerre now, and before we go, I will make sure they have roads like most parts of the state. We will ensure that those communities have roads.
“You will ask me apart from these, what have you done? The basic thing we need in Ikwerre is basic empowerment. You will not recognise it until you take the list of our scholarship programme in the state and know how many of our children are overseas studying. They are quite many and I have met them at different airports.
How I know them is because, they greet me in Ikwerre when they see me. I have asked myself apart from those who are fighting me, how many Ikwerre sons and daughters have one way or the other benefitted from me.
“When you see Nyesom Wike, tell him I nominated him to be minister. And I have one witness sitting here today. Chief Sampson Agbaru is my witness. He led other prominent sons and daughters of Ikwerre to see President (Goodluck) Jonathan and the president told them that he had not known Nyesom Wike from Adam, that when Amaechi brought Wike’s name, he (Jonathan) opposed it. The president opposed the appointment of my former chief of staff as minister.
“He (Jonathan) opposed him (Wike) and I begged President Jonathan severally and consistently because I wanted Wike to be minister. But today, Nyesom Wike has betrayed me for selfish reasons. Also, by the grace of God, I made Chief Austin Opara, deputy speaker of House of Representatives. God used me.
“Prominent politicians met me and told me that there cannot be two captains in a boat, if I make Austin Opara, deputy speaker, I might not be the political leader in Ikwerre. But I said, I want my people to benefit and I picked Austin’s name and we battled to make him deputy speaker of House of Representatives in 2003.”
Amaechi further lamented how Opara allegedly masterminded his arrest and detention in 2006.
“In 2006, I was arrested through the machinery of Austin Opara and was detained for one day; meanwhile, he was supposedly one of my supporters to be governor. Among those, I have also helped who are now fighting me is also Prof. Achinewhu. As vice-chancellor of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Achinewhu was sick and at the point of death, and I flew him out of the country for medical treatment. But he is now one of those accusing me and writing against me in the papers.
“For those, I gave contracts, they are so many for me to mention, but, if they deny, call the Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention and summon them, I will come here and mention them one by one. For instance, Paul Nwonodi is one of them. He is now fighting me, writing, and signing all sorts of petitions against me. They are people without character, they have no character. They would easily betray anyone,” he added.
Amaechi assured his kinsmen that he would continue to pursue the development of the Ikwerre ethnic group just as he would develop other areas of the state.
“I have told Chief Andrew Uchendu that before the expiration of my tenure, I will make sure I complete all internal roads in Isiokpo and I am also considering the internal roads in Ogbakiri,” he said.
He also urged the Ogbakor Ikwerre to join forces with other well-meaning Rivers people to resist the plan by the federal government to intimidate and influence the votes through the use of police during the elections.
“We will survive the federal might and the way to survive it is to mobilise our people. We must prepare now to chase away those against our people. The president says he is an Ijaw man, he should not take the oil wells from the Kalabari people”, Amaechi said.
Also speaking, the President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention, Professor Augustine Ahiazu, described the current wave of politicking in the state as alarming, saying it could cause permanent injury to individuals and communities.
“Bitterness in politics can result in undue hatred among friends and relations. It can breed division and polarisation. It can also bring conflict and destruction. Ikwerre sons and daughters should come together to fight any plans for violence in Port Harcourt because any violence in Port Harcourt is violence in Ikwerre land,” Ahiazu said.
Meanwhile, the senator representing Rivers South-east senatorial district in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, has urged youths to support Amaechi in his struggle to defend democracy in Nigeria.
Abe said at the inauguration of the Kenule Saro-Wiwa Students’ Centre, which he secured for Ogoni Students at Bori, in Khana Local Government Area of the state that Amaechi’s fight was to enable Nigerians experience the kind of democracy that would be beneficial to all irrespective of their class, religion, and tribe.
He pledged to provide computer sets and one year free internet subscription as well as a staff member, who must be a student, to manage facilities at the centre.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS), Kpuinen Meedubari, pledged continued support to Amaechi and Abe in appreciation of their contributions to the development of students in the state.
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