Beleaguered Rivers State Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, Tuesday received support from opposition governors from political parties seeking to coalesce on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in his current travails.
The governors, rising from a meeting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, denounced Amaechi’s harassment, which they described as an affront to the nation’s constitution and federalism.
The presidency has in recent time, engaged Amaechi in a war of attrition that has led to spirited attempts to ensure that he does not return as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the wresting of the party structure of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from his loyalists.
The face-off took a turn for the worse last week with the suspension of the state House of Assembly speaker and 26 lawmakers by a faction of the PDP in the state.
But the opposition governors, in a communiqué after their meeting in Owerri, expressed grave concern over the developments in the nation’s polity generally, adding that what was playing itself out in Rivers was “an open assault on the nation, federalism and sovereignty of the people.”
Besides the meeting, they attended a rally where they solicited support for APC, which they said would give Nigeria better leadership.
Calling on the presidency “to stop the unwarranted assault on the sovereignty of Nigerians, the governors said: “A government freely formed by the democratic choice of Nigerians cannot be arbitrarily harassed and intimidated out of office through brazen use of power and outright abuse of same.
“We are concerned about developments in the polity. What is playing itself out in Rivers is an affront to the constitution and Nigerian federalism/federation. We, therefore, strongly condemn the open assault on our nation, federalism and sovereignty of our people. We call on the presidency to stop the unwarranted assault on the sovereignty of Nigerians.”
The governors also condoled with the government and people of Ekiti State on the death of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka.
The governors who later took turns to address a rally at the Heroes Square, Owerri, blamed the PDP for Nigeria’s woes and promised that the APC would provide better leadership if voted into power in 2015.
They described the APC as the ultimate remedy for the headache that the PDP has caused Nigerians in the past 14 years that it has been in power.
The host governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, said 23 governors were already members of the APC, adding that his All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is not joining any political party nor is it in alliance but in a merger to form a new party called APC.
He said it was a matter of time for the APC to take over every level of governance in the country because the PDP had failed the people.
In his speech, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, described APC as “a great train of change.”
According to him, “We have set about a course that is irrevocably committed to giving power back to the people. We believe that Nigeria needs a change and APC will bring about that change.”
His Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, said given the poor performance of the PDP, the only option left to salvage the nation was APC, adding that those who do not join APC now will regret later.
Speaking in the same vein, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shettima, said the exceptional performance of the opposition governors was a testimony to how great the country would be if APC emerged the ruling party and urged the people to support the party in their own interest.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State who applauded the achievements of Okorocha as he marked his second year in office, said the governors were pleased to see that the performance of their Imo counterpart was real and concrete and not a media creation.
Similarly, Nasarawa State Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, extolled the achievements of Okorocha, saying his performance is just the beginning of what the people will witness in terms of development if APC came into power.
Governor Fayemi Kayode of Ekiti State, observed that God gave them the victory originally given them by the people, adding that “a time like this calls for visionary leaders as seen in all the states where the APC is holding sway.”
His Osun State counterpart, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, described APC as a bulldozer that will crush everything on its way, including the PDP.
In his remarks, Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, recalled that when he, as a labour leader, led workers to the state on protest, he met a state with filthy streets and dilapidated infrastructure and expressed happiness that the state is now wearing a better look.
He said that was how Nigeria would look like under APC.