Sunrise Daily Host, Chamberlain Usoh on Wednesday morning gave a review of the major highlights, issues and episodes of the programme in 2013, including the Nigeria Governor’s Forum crisis in which two chairmen, Jonah Jang and Chibuike Amaechi, emerged following a controversial election which was held in May 2013.
According to a statement by Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, the purported election that returned Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) was a ruse.
Other issues highlighted were the return of Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai, who was deemed unfit to continue to hold office as a result of his health, alleged fabrications by the Abia state government on its various achievements which an investigative journalist challenged on the programme.
Finally, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) employment scam which led to an interview with the then Lagos State commandant, Obafaiye Shem. The interview with the officer, who was unable to state the official website of the agency, went viral online and produced the popular phrase, ‘Oga At The Top.”
Although the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is currently battling with its first major fallout in over 12 years of reigning as the ruling party, which has resulted in the emergence of a faction led by Abubakar Baraje, some members are certain that the new faction will come back soon.
A PDP chieftain and former special assistant to the Minister of Works, Patrick Mba, while speaking on Sunrise said that the party is still in one piece as “we have only one PDP under Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.”
“A lot of people at the Eagle Square that day were not surprised because they’ve done it before; their doing it again for selfish reasons was not surprising to most of us” assuring that they would “definitely come back” to the main fold.
Citing an example of the few Rivers State Assembly lawmakers who said they had impeached the Speaker, Mr Mba explained that the Baraje led faction cannot overthrow the Tukur faction because they are the minority.
That most of them were laid off by the court because they were wrongly brought into the national working committee of the PDP and then walked out of the Special Convention “does not make them new PDP members”.
He said that the exit of 6 top members of the party at the convention did not surprise them as some members of the new faction had left the party in the past but later came back.
Reactions and divided opinions continue to trail the 9 July mayhem which ensued at a botched sitting of the Rivers State Assembly with a legal practitioner, Ladipo Johnson, on Tuesday raising concerns of the possibility of a declaration of a state of emergency in the troubled state had the situation gone worse.
The situation which led to protests by citizens in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, he said “is quite dangerous for the country.”
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ladipo said that if the situation had gone any worse than it did, “it would have opened the path for a declaration of a state of emergency”.
The crisis, which is currently being investigated by the Senate, has been touted as ‘a cocktail of misdeeds’ by analysts. Mr Ladipo added that a lot of people “are not convinced that the executive arm at the Federal Level isn’t involved.”
House of Representatives passed a resolution that the National Assembly take over the duties of the state assembly. However, being more cautious, the Senate set up an investigative panel and also directed the Inspector General of Police to redeploy Joseph Mbu, the Rivers state Commissioner of Police, a debate which caused the Senate to conducting physical vote for the first time in nine years.
Mr Ladipo stated that although the House of Representatives’call for an immediate take-over is in a bid to restore peace and order. He believes the Senate’s position is “more mature”.
He noted that the National Assembly should have looked into the issue as the Rivers Assembly had been inactive for 3 months before the fall out last Tuesday.
“They probably didn’t know such a thing will happen at the time it happen,” he said.
Owing to the fact that majority of the persons involved in the Rivers Assembly fracas are members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), many have criticised the silence of the party with respect to the issue.
Reacting to this, Mr Ladipo said that the PDP is bound to have problems as a result of its size and diversity.
“The PDP is such a big party size-wise. It takes in various interest groups, various ethnic groups/interests, divergent interests in the country, so it is bound to have problems”.
He went further to say that “the people there are politicians, they are not saints. They are Nigerians. We know what we are, we know how we are,” he said implying that the characters of the party members is a reflection of the society.
We can be better but “Unfortunately, that mirrors what the average Nigerian is like at the moment,” he said.
He encouraged people with honest motives to become involved in politics.
“Nigerians have to be involved.” The solution to the issue, he said, lies with the people.
He also said that “the party (at the National level) should have stepped in much earlier. If there’s a problem with the state PDP, the National level should have stepped in
If they haven’t to date, then questions need to be asked”.
The Senate committee on states and local government administration has commenced investigations over the crisis rocking the Rivers State House Assembly.
The Chairman of the committee; Senator Kabiru Gaya who led other eight other members on a fact finding mission to the state assured Nigerians of finding lasting peace to the stalemate during a courtesy visit to governor Chibuike Amaechi yesterday in Port Harcourt, and hinted that peace moves have begun.
Shortly after meeting with the governor in a closed door session on Thursday afternoon, chairman of the committee told newsmen in an interview that the body will meet the major parties in the matter which include the commissioner of police, Joint Military Taskforce (JTF), including the pro and anti-Amaechi legislators, before heading back for their final report to the upper legislative house.
He assured that their duty will be done objectively as mandated by the senate with the aim of finding lasting peace to end the crisis that have rocked the state over the past two months.
Senator Gaya however frowned at the withdrawal of security from Governor Amaechi stressing that the governor is the chief executive, chief security officer and number one citizen of the state and he should be protected.
Responding, Governor Amaechi told the Senate committee that the state has been under siege since his victory at the elections of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
The committee will be meeting with members of the state house of assembly today as scheduled.
It would be recalled that mayhem broke out during a session in the Rivers State House of Assembly on Tuesday the 9th of July morning when it was reported that hoodlums broke into the House and attempted to seize the mace.
The group also assaulted the Speaker of the House, Hon. Otelema Amachree and the hoodlums were led by 5 members of the House with Hon Evans Bipi being the leader of the gang who moved to impeach the Speaker.
Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, in a telephone interview with Channels Television revealed that commotion started when Mr Bipi walked up to the speaker and started ‘slapping’ him as members were still exchanging pleasantries.
“While that was going on, some hoodlums had accessed the assembly. The governor (Rotimi Amaechi) was informed and therefore left the government house for the state house of assembly.
A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Thursday analysed the Rivers State Assembly crisis, stating that the incident is ‘symptomatic’ of what the Nigerian political system is about.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika decried the actions of a lawmaker, Chidi Llyod, who was filmed assaulting a fellow lawmaker with the mace of the State House of Assembly.
Mr Lloyd was subsequently rushed to the Government House clinic where he received treatment for injuries allegedly inflicted on him before he battered his colleague.
Mr Odidika, a former politician with the People’s Democratic Party, claims that any wounds on Mr Lloyd may have been self-inflicted to gather pity as such is typical of the nation’s political class.
Narrating his experience as a former politician, he questioned the credibility of Lloyd’s medical condition, asking how someone who was seen attacking a victim land in the hospital for injuries.
He said that Lloyd must be ‘Mike Tyson’ to have had enough strength to attack someone who allegedly attacked him first.
Politics in Nigeria, he added, is all about personal interest and the saga in Rivers state is the same thing that happens all over the nation, only that the situation reached a ‘boiling point’.
“The average Nigerian politician is very devious” he said, stating that this could be an initiative of either the pro-Amaechi faction or the anti-Amaechi faction.
“The characters that have the appellation leader or leaders in Nigeria will not, from what I’m seeing or from what I’m observing, take Nigeria anywhere, except downhill.”
He called on Nigerians to “rise and take back their country.”