The Supervising Minister of Education in Nigeria, Mr Nyesom Wike, has attributed the crisis in Rivers State to the Governor’s decision to join the opposition against the cultural and historical background of the state, which has always been pro-People’s Democratic Party.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the minister said the state had enjoyed political peace until Governor Chibuike Amechi came into office.
“When you are given a mandate and that mandate is given to you by the people, you must also do something that will make the people want will want to go along with you.”
The crisis in the state is based “on decisions that the governor of the state has taken to lead Rivers State to an opposition which has not happened since 1967 that Rivers State was created and politically, Rivers State has never played an opposition politics.”
The Minister, who was once a close associate of the governor, added that, “Amaechi thinks that everybody must go along with him and if nobody goes along with him, impunity is there.”
He accused the governor of trying to impose his will on the people, saying it is the reason for the reactions.
Wike, who said the disagreements between himself and the governor are political, attributed his political success to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“I was one time council chairman for two terms in Obiakpor local government and I’ve been a chief of staff under PDP so what is that that is going to make me leave the party that has brought me up politically,” he stated.
Wike also accused the governor of intimidating the Chairman of the State chapter of the PDP, Felix Obuah, for going to the court to secure his position against Amaechi’s wishes.
“The governor declared that his hotel should be used to build a school and he revoked the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the hotel simply because he went to court and we said that is not democracy.
“If somebody feels that he will go to court to realise or get back his mandate, you should encourage him.”
“The next thing the governor could do by intimidating the young man was to revoke his C of O without due process which was cancelled by the Court of Law in favour of Obuah,” he explained.
Wike said the governor was against his support for Obuah. “I have a right to support him, just like he was supporting G.U Ake.
“In retaliation, Amaechi dissolved my local government council.
“Just because the court gave judgment sacking the G.U Ake led exco and that it is the Obuah led exco that is the legitimate exco of the party, then ‘vendetta’. You now dissolve the council, having dissolved the council” thinking it would affect the minister.
“We came into office in 2007 and as at 2009 – 2010, I saw the politics internally and then I called my friends and said I don’t think it would be proper for me to continue to stay here. I have to leave… I didn’t know that the governor had decided a succession plan that he was going to get rid of some people including myself that were becoming too powerful in the state according to his own estimation.
“I decided to run for a seat in the Senate but before I decided to run for Senate, Mr Peterside Dakuku had come to my house to tell me that the governor feels that I should run for Senate… Then I sent a close friend of the governor to him, to confirm what Dakuku Peterside informed me. He said yes, he’s encouraging that I should run for a seat in the Senate.
“Then something occurred to me that something must be going on. I started pursuing the ambition of Senate.
“A day to collection of forms, in the midnight, the Governor summoned me, the then party chairman, G.U Ake and some other people. This was in 2010-2011.
“He said he had fought the wife of the President, they had problems and he doesn’t want to have any further problems with her… and there’s no need for me to run for Senate.”
After Amaechi asked Wike to withdraw from the Senate seat race, he was appointed the Director General of the Campaign which resulted in Amaechi’s second term in office.
Wike further claimed that the governor had deterred him from running for Senate because they were both from the same Senatorial district and he wanted to run for Senate in 2015. He said that the governor had fears that he (Wike) would want to return to Senate again.
“But when he became the Chairman of the governors’ forum, he realised that the influence he wields…could be beyond being a senator. So let me use that forum to organise myself politically and become relevant nationally.”
According to the minister, the governor was on a mission to clear the state politics of some people he identified as strong in order not to have his succession plan challenged.
“Senator Magnus Abe never wanted to be a Senator. Dakuku never wanted to go to House of Reps… The day the governor told him that he was going to the House of Reps, he (Dakuku Peterside) sent traditional rulers to beg the governor that he was not interested.”
Commenting on the fact that the governor had nominated him to be minister, Wike said it was part of the plan to get rid of him.