Rivers pdp: Amaechi, Wike move battle to state assembly

• Tension heightens as suspended legislators vow to attend session tomorrow


Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, are putting their political strength to test tomorrow on the floor of the State House of Assembly.

The PDP-dominated Assembly is expected to resume from a recess forced by the crisis in the party.

The duo are currently locked in a fierce battle for the soul of the PDP in the state with 27 of the legislators, including the Speaker, Mr. Otelemaba Dan Amachree, on the side of the governor and five with Mr. Wike.

The pro-Amaechi group suspended the pro-Wike legislators only for the Obuah-led State Executive Committee of the PDP to suspend the 27 lawmakers for alleged anti-party activities.

The pro-Wike legislators who are in the minority have vowed to defy their suspension by the House and attend tomorrow’s session.

Speaker Amachree claimed last week that the five legislators, with the backing of powerful forces in Abuja, are plotting to impeach the governor and destabilise the state.

He cited last Friday’s invasion of the secretariat of Obio/Akpor Local Government by policemen as the first stage in the alleged destabilisation plot.

The police had asked the Chairman of the council’s Care taker Committee, Mr. Dike Chikordi, and other members to leave. The order was ignored.

The leader of the Assembly, Mr. Chidi Lloyd, said in a radio programme yesterday in Port Harcourt that Amaechi and his group would not be intimidated by anyone.

According to him, the governor would not chicken out regardless of man-made problems.

He said: “The times are perilous. On April 30, Rivers Assembly raised the alarm on plot to destabilise Rivers State. Friday’s sealing off of secretariat of Obio/Akpor LG is Act 2, Scene 3. Rivers Police Commissioner (Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu), ordered the invasion. That is why we are calling for his removal, for taking sides.

“Huge contingent of ferocious-looking policemen invaded Obio/Akpor LG secretariat. Police do not work in isolation. There is institutional collaboration. The caretaker committee chairman is the Chief Security Officer of the LG, but he was not informed of plans by some persons to disrupt activities at the secretariat, which the police command said prompted the sealing off.

“Policemen invaded Obio/Akpor LG secretariat without legal instrument. Explanation by Rivers Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ben Ugwuegbulam (DSP), that they were doing proactive policing is laughable.

“PPRO said the police command got information that Obio/Akpor LG secretariat at Rumuodomaya, Port Harcourt was to be attacked and immediately deployed their men, to prevent the breakdown of law and order, without deeming it fit to bring such matters to the attention of the caretaker chairman, who was asked to leave his office, but refused.”

On the suspension of Mr. Timothy Nsirim, the pro-Wike Chairman of Obio/Akpor LG by the Assembly, he said it followed a petition “by 17 prominent indigenes of Obio/Akpor LG” in which Nsirim was accused of misappropriation of funds and security breach. “The House’s committee submitted an interim report and recommended the suspension of Nsirim and others, with the council’s accounts frozen, pending the conclusion of investigation. The committee members were given two weeks to submit their report, which may be one of the reasons for reconvening on Monday.

“If found culpable, the suspended Obio/Akpor chairman and others will face further disciplinary action, but if the allegations are frivolous, they will be reinstated.

“The five lawmakers (anti-Amaechi) who are complaining about the suspension of Nsirim and others should be ignored. When you are part of a legislative decision, you cannot query it. We have not acted outside our powers. There is no faction in Rivers Assembly.”

Meanwhile, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Port Harcourt Local Government Area (PHALGA) chapter, have pledged their support for Governor Amaechi and the Godspower Ake-led Exco of PDP in the state.

Representatives of the party in the 20 wards in PHALGA made this declaration yesterday during a meeting in Port Harcourt.

The PHALGA PDP chairman, NyeDike Okezi Boms, told members at the meeting not to be deterred by the current crisis in the party in the state, but to support Governor Amaechi : He dismissed as invalid the suspension of the two members of the state House of Assembly by the Obuah/Wike faction of the party.

Also speaking, the Mayor of PHALGA, Mr. Chim Biko Akarolo, said: “Those troubling the state want to underdevelop us, they want to take us to the dark days, we must be focused, resist them because we are going to win this battle.”

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