PORTHARCOURT – Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari, rtd and the National Chairman of the APC Chief Bisi Akande, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, urged Governor Chibuike Amaechi to come over to the APC.
Describing Governor Amaechi as a very courageous politician, Tinubu said the APC was the party for people like the governor.
As the recruitment train of the All Progressives Congress, APC, moved to Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital yesterday, Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, one of the seven opposition governors amused his numerous supporters as he promised to consult with President Goodluck Jonathan and other stakeholders in the political sector before deciding on whether he would remain in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, or cross over to the All Progressive Congress, APC.
The governor who spoke at a rally organised to receive the national leadership of the APC in Government House; Port Harcourt, yesterday, said he was a special person among the seven governors that floated the new Peoples Democratic Party. Unlike others according to him, he hails from the same South-South zone with President Goodluck Jonathan.
I’m special among G7 govs — Amaechi
“I am peculiar in the group of the seven governors. The President comes from our zone. I will consult our leaders, the President; I will consult you, (referring to the mammoth crowd). I will consult all consultables.
I will come back to you. The day we shall take a decision it will be at the new stadium that can take 40,000 persons. If we are staying (referring to the PDP), we shall call the President to the stadium to address us, but if we are going we shall call Tinubu and Buhari to come and address us, ” he said.
The governor who took on his political foes said the political crisis in the state was largely due to his refusal to abuse public funds, stressing that he was not a corrupt governor. “They don’t accuse me of being corrupt. They only say I don’t run an inclusive government which is Chop I chop”, he said.
Continuing, he said he would continue to pray to the Almighty God to protect the state from those he accused of plotting to plunder its resources.
Governor Amaechi, who laced his speech with some gospel songs said the Almighty God had always put his opponents to shame, adding that it was part of the reasons why he danced joyously at the funeral of the foster mother of the first lady which held in Okrika, Rivers State recently.
“I was told I would be stoned at Okrika if I come there. I went there, I raised my right hand and there was applause, I raised the left, it was the same. I said God, I thank you. Those on the other side are corrupt. We shall reply them one after the other. They have served and now are hungry.”
Continuing, the governor described some of his political foes as “desperate and hungry politicians” even as he assured that he would continue to deliver on the dividends of democracy to the state.
Dismissing fears that he would be removed as governor through a court verdict on November 11, the governor also gave a brief account of how his administration had been spending public funds. “You have been hearing we will remove him since 2007. Have I been removed?
They talk as if they own God. They said we will be removed on the 11th which is Monday. Come on that day, I will dance here”. Amaechi then burst into a gospel song again which said, “there is nobody greater than God, there is no one greater than Jehovah Lord Divine”.
He said his administration was constructing roads, building health centres and schools, adding that he had also commenced an empowerment scheme for youths in various wards in the state.
Governor Amaechi further called on the people to resist acts of impunity on the part of the Police command in the state.
“I came down to march with you when I heard that they locked the gate at the airport against you. We walked five kilometres to the airport. We forced the gate open and I walked with you. We must prepare ourselves from now on”, he said.
Come, join APC — Buhari, Tinubu, Akande
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, General Muhammadu Buhari, rtd., and the National Chairman of the APC Chief Bisi Akande in their separate speeches at the event urged Governor Amaechi to come over to the APC.
While commending the achievements of the governor so far in the state, Tinubu said they were in Port Harcourt to invite him to join the APC. “We did not come here to campaign but to see and invite. Amaechi has performed well. This country can’t progress on lies.”
Tinubu later moved a motion calling on the governor to cross over to the APC and it was endorsed by the mammoth gathering.
Representatives of the 23 local governments in the state, 26 lawmakers, led by the Speaker, Hon Otelemaba Amachree and some members of the National Assembly took turns to pledge their profound loyalty to the governor.
The five anti-Amaechi lawmakers in the state House of Assembly and those against him at the National Assembly were absent.
You are epitome of courage under fire—Akande tells Amaechi
National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande in his speech said: “Today, the unstoppable APC train, which has made important stops in Kano, Jigawa and Adamawa, has arrived in Rivers State.
“This is another important stop, because it allows us, the APC leaders, not only to invite Chibuike Amaechi, the courageous governor of Rivers, to join the growing APC family, but to show our solidarity with a man who has succeeded in battling anti-democratic forces to a standstill.
“Let us be clear. Our party has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Governor Amaechi since the beginning of his travails. We have been unrelenting in our support because our party stands for justice, fairness and unfettered freedom. We abhor dictatorship clad in fake democratic garments.
“We believe that the system of government that we operate does not make provision for an imperial presidency, who can neither be criticized nor opposed. That is why we told those who said the APC is crying more than the bereaved on the Rivers State issue, that we are indeed the bereaved anytime the rule of law is supplanted with the rule of the jungle; and we are the bereaved anytime a democratically-elected President thumbs his nose at the Nigerian Constitution. Or how else do we explain a situation in which a duly elected Governor, who is known to the Constitution as the Chief Security Officer of his state, is now being made to run his state side by side with the State Police Commissioner, who has been elevated to the de facto Governor by the presidency?”
“How do we explain a situation in which a state governor is being prevented from accessing his official residence by the police who should take orders from him? Where is it done that a state governor cannot receive visitors, including fellow state governors, without being tear-gassed and humiliated by the police? Or how does one justify a situation in which armed thugs backed by the police attack lawmakers in the hallowed chambers of the State House of Assembly?
Gov. Amaechi has been enduring these and other indignities, without wilting under fire! His plane has been grounded under flimsy, cooked-up excuses! They felt they have clipped his wings, but he is soaring even higher.
What is his offence? Standing up for the defence of democracy and the Constitution, leading his fellow Governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to reject creeping dictatorship. But because he provided good leadership, because he has the support of his colleagues in the NGF and because his cause is just, he has prevailed over his adversaries, and he stands taller than his physique.
Because he stands as a bulwark against those who wanted to annihilate democracy and cripple governance, the plan to extend the anarchy in Rivers State to other states of the Federation has failed. That is why we called him an epitome of courage.
It was Maya Angelou, the African-American author and poet, who said courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. Perhaps that was why another American poet, Robert Frost, said that freedom lies in being bold. Thanks to Gov. Amaechi’s courage, Nigeria’s democracy is stronger, and our country is better.
We salute your courage under fire, your tenacity under an endless assault and your commitment to unfettered freedom for all citizens.
Since the leaking umbrella can no longer protect you from the vagaries of harsh weather, we ask you to jump on the APC train that will take Nigeria to the promised land!