The Chairman, Editorial Board f Nations Newspaper, Sam Omatseye, on Thursday described the Block Budget Directive by the All Progressives Congress to lawmakers in the National Assembly as ‘high stakes politics.’
“This is bringing the issues of Rivers State to the plate of national discourse in the way it should be.”
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the journalist opined that the issues involving Rivers State, the Presidency and the National Assembly “have been misdirected in terms of focus by so many people who think the issue of Rivers state is about Rivers state.”
“Rivers state belongs to this federation,” he said, adding that “if one state is burning it has implication on the peace of other states.”
He faulted the President who is the Chief Security Officer of the nation, for not taking any official steps to curb the crisis especially in light of the fact that “the state is burning, the commissioner of police is acting as though he does not respect rule of law, he does not respect lives and property and who is supposed to be the chief security officer of the state which is the governor.”
Despite criticisms against its directive, APC has defended its stance on grounds that the directive is working because the third Save Rivers Movement rally held without interruption.
Asked why the opposition is yet to back down, Mr Omatseye said “the directive has been misappropriated by the Presidency and people in the PDP to mean that the APC does not want the budget passed or the minister screened and nominated or passed as well as the service chiefs.
The real thing, he said, is that they are trying to use the instruments of democracy for the purpose of democracy.
Filibuster does not mean we don’t want the budget, he said, adding that “there’s a high stake principle involved here. Let us face that high stake principle. Get it done, then we can go ahead with the budget after all what is the purpose of budget without security.”
On the internal wranglings in some chapters of the APC, especially in Ogun state, Mr Omatseye who criticised the developments played down the issue in comparison to the crisis in Rivers state, adding that there was no issue of impunity on the part of the police commissioner.
He also said “it’s not appearing, as of now, to be an issue of protracted significance. It is a party issue and they are trying to resolve it.”
However, the problem of Rivers state began when Rotimi Amaechi expressed dissatisfaction with how the President removed his successor while the First Lady caused problems before the 2011 elections, followed by the “almighty crisis of the governors’ forum election,” including the issue of Soku oil wells.
Omatseye claimed that the Police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, had become important to the President and is even more powerful than the IG in matters of Rivers State,” adding that, “the IG himself has been completely quiet and complicit in whatever goes on.”
On recommendations that all issues be solved in the Court of Law, Omatseye said “the courts cannot ask the president to fire or remove a police commissioner. It is all within the ambit of the executive.”
He suggested that the President have a dialogue between the Bayelsa and Rivers State governors to settle the matter of Soku oil wells in a bid to get them to settle the matter in court.