Finally, the People’s Democratic Party has bared it’s fangs and the man behind the masquerade has become exposed.
It has been insinuated over times that there’s no love lost between Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The suspension of Governor Amaechi yesterday by the National Working Committee of the PDP has finally buried the denials in all quarters of a rift between the two dramatis personae, even in the midst of yet another denial by the Presidential spokesman and the party leadership that the decision of PDP’s NWC was made independent of President Jonathan’s input seeing as he’s not a member of the NWC.
Despite the claim by the PDP to the effect that the suspension was as a result of flouting party directives and constitution as regards the suspension of the chairman and executives of the Obio/Akpor Local Government Council on the allegations of corruption, keen observers of events in Rivers State attribute the recent fallout to Amaechi’s ambition. In the interim, in retaining his seat as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (even though the PDP and the Nigerian Television Authority will have us believe Jonah Jang who apparently lost by three (3) votes is the chairman) and in the long term a possible vice-presidential candidacy with a presidential candidate possibly of Northern Nigerian origin, who might oppose President Goodluck Jonathan’s bid for presidency in 2015.
The claim by the governors opposed to Amaechi that there was an agreement to rotate the chairmanship of the governors’forum between the North and South falls in the face of precedence, as the former chairman (now Senator Bukola Saraki) enjoyed a two-tenure stint of two years each as chairman and Amaechi just contested and ‘controversially’ won a second term. If there was such an agreement that bars him from seeking re-elections after his first term, then it must have been recently reached and not to our knowledge, besides that would’ve disqualified Amaechi from contesting the May 25th, 2013 chairmanship elections of the NGF.
It’s widely known that under Amaechi’s first term as chairman of the governors forum, the group antagonised lots of federal government policies such as the institution of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (the deduction from the state governments’ allocation is being challenged in court), excess crude accounts, Local Government autonomy (vigorously opposed by the NGF under Amaechi), amongst others.
But Amaechi’s chairmanship of the NGF wasn’t just about antagonizing federal government policies alone. He saw to the constitution of a Peer Review Mechanism that evaluated activities of governors in their respective states in how the delivered the so called ‘dividends of democracy’ to the people of their respective states.
Unfortunately, right from onset the relationship between Amaechi and President Jonathan was going to bè feisty. Amaechi stood by former Bayelsa State governor Timipre Sylva when he was under Jonathan’s persecution. He then later had a spat with the president’s wife Dame Patience Jonathan, who dressed him down in public.
Matters grew to a head when Chibuike’s Rivers State lost some oil wells to neighbouring states, to the anger of the people of the state who promptly registered their displeasure, by means available to them.
Soon enough there came rumours of the vice presidential ambition of Amaechi under the possible presidential candidacy of Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State. It would seem then that the proverbial line was drawn, even though Amaechi continues to insist he harbours no such ambitions, the presidency and the PDP appear not to want to take his words for it.
The fallout of the Nigerian Governors Forum elections must have been the last straw for the PDP hierarchy (and President even though his image makers deny it) and their reaction was swift, even though they claim it was for some other misdemeanour of Governor Amaechi.
Amaechi has restated his desire to remain within the PDP but with current events unfolding he seems too have become the beautiful bride of the opposition ‘yet to bè registered’ All Progressive Congress, APC who in recent months have been making efforts too draw into their fold people of character (not necessarily integrity) to challenge and wrest power at the centre from the PDP which stand mostly divided with a President that apparently lacks the ability to control his house by demanding and obtaining a modicum of respect.
It would appear that in an attempt to ridicule and embarrass Amaechi, especially with the ‘private’ jet issue, the presidency has unwittingly made a star of him and he seems to bè riding atop all that is currently bestowing on him.
He’s been in this position before when he tried to actualize his gubernatorial mandate after former President Obasanjo declared that his candidacy had some ‘k-leg’. Not a few can attest to his doggedness while the battle to regain his mandate lasted.
It’s a different ball game today, as most of those that were in the fore front of his battles back in the day, have thrown their lot against him today making very apt the statement that there’s ‘no permanent friend in politics, just permanent interests’.
In Nigeria where anything can happen, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi will do well to watch his back now. His suspension from the PDP could translate to me that anything and everything could bè thrown at him (even the kitchen sink). It can only get messier.