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Amaechi: I Won’t Quit PDP

News » Politics

Image: Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi



*Debunks allegation on aircraft purchase for 2015 campaign


* Jibril: No opposition to Akpabio’s chairmanship of PDP Govs’ Forum


By Muhammad Bello

Embattled Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chibuike Amaechi, has debunked speculations that he is quitting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the coalition of merging opposition parties in the face of the challenges he is facing with the presidency.

Amaechi, last month, was upstaged by the presidency when it pushed for the establishment of the PDP Governors Forum, a parallel body, intended to whittle the influence of the NGF.

The presidency was alleged to have also been behind the plot to unseat Amaechi as the chairman of the NGF and the amendment of its constitution.

Another issue, which had made Amaechi unhappy, was the handling of the dispute over the ownership of the oil wells between his state and Bayelsa State, which  is President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state.

It was as a result of the presidency’s alleged antagonism towards Amaechi that led to the widely held belief that he was at the vanguard of aggrieved governors elected on the PDP platform who might defect.

However, in order to stop their defection, the president had mandated the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, to embark on reconciliatory visits to each of the aggrieved governors to appeal that that they remained with the party.

The Rivers State governor was reported to have made his grievances on these matters known on Monday, when Anenih and other members of the BoT visited him in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Amaechi, who was at the State House Thursday to attend a meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo, told journalists that he was still in the PDP, as it remains the only party with appeal and spread across the country.

“I am still in the PDP. I am a member of the PDP. PDP is the only national party in the country for now. Why will one want to leave a national party and go to another party?” he queried.

Also addressing the allegation in a newspaper that he had procured an aircraft to facilitate his 2015 campaign for a vice presidential or presidential slot, the governor dismissed the publication, saying joining issues with the newspaper that carried the story was tantamount to making it significant.

“Why do you want to make that newspaper popular? It is a newspaper that does not sell beyond Abuja,” he said.

He explained that the federal government gave approval to his state to purchase helicopters for aerial patrol because of the peculiar security situation in the state.

Amaechi further added that it was glaringly mischievous for anybody to insinuate that a politician would divert what was clearly meant for security purposes to his own personal use.

He pointed out that his state had not even taken delivery of the helicopters, jocularly observing that perhaps the federal government was worried about the insinuations coming to pass.

“Up till now, they have not allowed the helicopter to come in. Maybe, they are afraid that it is for 2015. Please help us beg them on behalf of Rivers State that we need the aircraft to be able to secure the people of the state,” he said.

Speaking further, he said:  “The truth is that, and the Federal Government is aware, they give us approval to buy a helicopter to fly around Rivers State for the purpose of security and we have done that, we bought and we paid.

“Again, it is not within our control, it is in the control of the Nigerian Air Force. Although we will hire a civilian pilot but the Nigerian security apparatus will manage it, not us.

“How will you use what is in the hands of Nigerian security to campaign? You see the mischief? The helicopter is to ensure that Rivers State is under watch 24 hours. It has cameras, so if somebody is committing a crime, we are seeing it.”

He also explained that the monitors of the surveillance helicopter “are in the Office of the Brigade Commander, Office of the State Director of State Secutiry Service (SSS), Office of the Governor and Office of Commissioner of Police.

“So for Christ’s sake, tell me how you will use it for campaign?” he again asked.

“You can see a lot of mischief. As usual, people will try to dent your image to show that this man is not as transparent as he claims after all. “We once argued about the first aircraft we bought, so that is no longer a story. We did not buy two jets,” he stressed.

In the meantime, the Secretary of the party’s BoT, Senator Walid Jibril, Thursday clarified that there was no opposition to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio’s chairmanship of the party’s governors’ forum from his colleagues in the PDP.

Jibril, who was reacting to a report in Thursday’s edition of THISDAY that Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Magatakada Wamakko, had during a visit to the state by a BoT delegation led by Anenih, said the PDP governors did not recognise Akpabio as the chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum.

Jibril, in a statement, said at no time during the visit did Wamakko make such a remark, adding: “ is my view that had such a statement been made by the governor or any other person, Chief Tony Anenih, as I know him would have given an appropriate reply.”


Article Credit: Thisday Newspaper

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Updated 6 Years ago

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