06 October 2013, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – It was in September 2010 that I published the article reproduced below in Sweetcrude to warn Rivers people and the World that the boy – governor, Chibuike Amaechi had orchestrated a campaign to undermine democratic practices in the state. He was the aggressor at the time, deploying the police but failing with the courts to undermine the Rule of Law of and consequently, of democratic governance.
Governor Amaechi is the cheer leader for democracy these days, joining four other governors of the Peoples Democratic Party to jeopardise the fortunes of the party instead of moving out of the party as Amaechi advised his adversaries years ago. Now the pigeons have come home to roost as the factional headquarters of Amaechi’s group has been sealed by the police! How our sins manage to live with us. Enjoy this piece of prophetic journalism.
Rivers: Progression to anarchy
Although there was warning enough, Rivers people were still shocked when the news broke that their government had revoked the right of occupancy it granted several years ago to the owner of No. 25 Ohaeto Street, D/Line in Port Harcourt. The landlord’s sin was that his new tenants were members of the executive committee of a faction of the People’s Democratic Party. Days before, the factional leaders had been arraigned before a Port Harcourt magistrate who had the integrity and independence of mind to grant them bail pending the determination of the trial or the receipt of the opinion of the DPP as to whether the proper offence to charge them with was cultism! Some senior civil servants alleged that a top government house official gathered them and warned them not to sign the bail bonds of the accused persons.
The Nation reported that the Rivers State government revoked the poor bloke’s right of occupancy for the overriding public interest of establishing a health centre therein! Anybody who knows the D/Line neighbourhood of Port Harcourt well will find this reason ludicrous and hilarious because the Rivers government has several buildings between Wogu and Khana Streets, a more central part of D/Line, it abandoned a decade ago and is now being occupied gratis by the homeless. These primitive acts of political intimidation may have gone unnoticed in another state; it was in Rivers State that a government in power deployed cult figures to wipe out a community (Okuru Town) where an opposing party held sway, to ‘annex and occupy’ others and to terrorise the Southern and South Eastern suburbs of the city of Port Harcourt for political ‘disloyalty.’ The fear of most Rivers people is that in just the same manner as it happened during the last administration, there would be reactions from the victims of these wanton displays of raw power, invoking another wave of insecurity upon them. In so short a time, the government in power which sprang from the beneficence of opposition to the intimidation of a section of the PDP has forgotten the lessons its predecessor learnt about political tampering and manipulation.
Every citizen of Nigeria has a constitutional right to associate with others freely and to advance any agenda that is not forbidden by law; it is the obligation of every citizen to meet with others of like mind to plan the removal through the ballot of a government that does not advance the interest of its people. This may appear ‘criminal’ to unenlightened and unsophisticated African politicians but the whole essence of democracy is a people’s ability to renew their drive to achieve the best possible levels of development through the instrumentality of responsive representatives. The lesson of history is that within short spells of time the leaders who formulated bad policies become the citizens who suffer their effects but always its significance does not gain much currency with leaders of the day.
It is hoped the Amaechi government will retrace its steps and allow the PDP, the civil courts or the people to decide what is desirable or just or criminal. The people of Rivers State deserve to enjoy the lasting peace that Yar’Adua’s amnesty promises them.
…And a memo to my President & Kinsman
You ought to know certain truths now; truths such as that in 2011, I voted Mohammadu Buhari as a Nigerian Patriot because I felt he had better credentials than you. You see, in Nigeria, there is no difference between naivety, ignorance and patriotism. That was Chukwuma Nzeogwu’s sin. And that was my sin in 2011. But no more because I have received the precise education of our friends the Yoruba who teach us that you cannot be a good Nigerian without being a dedicated Yoruba. The Yoruba are a special breed. Their dislike for Olusegun Obasanjo changed into love overnight when he won the national elections. They trooped to the Abuja Stadium with strains and versions of “Ose oh Baba” when his administration was inaugurated. Meanwhile, they had not voted for him at the elections. My conversion into a hardcore Ijaw man was complete when, even after your inauguration, the Hausa/Fulani of Northern Nigeria who had joined me in voting Mohammadu Buhari for tribal, religious and regional affinity, started to give you notice that they shall do all in their powers to destabilise your government, not for your lack of experience or credible performance but because you are Ijaw and from the South South region where Nigerian Presidents are not supposed to be made from. Take notice, sir, that being a hard core Ijaw man does not mean I have lost all interest in the factors that will bring about positive change to the Nigerian polity. The difference now is that if the Yoruba can queue behind Obam Ezigbo and the Hausa/Fulani can lay their lives down for a non-reason like religious affinity, I should and I am now able to queue behind an Ijaw man, a PH.D, a son and scion of the Niger Delta who has held these tentative bonds called federalism together in moments of trial and of peace like a commensurate diplomat and a matador.
But now, I must bring to your notice a matter of grave importance which affects you and your place of birth, the Niger Delta. The construction of the East West Road, the road that promises a true flow of traffic from Oron in Akwa Ibom State to the outskirts of Benin City, is a matter of utmost importance for all of us from that region. When your tenure as President has elapsed with the natural passage of time, you shall be required to oil and maintain the myriad of relations you are acquiring now as President, with the difference that you shall deploy the offices of the East/West Road as the Air Force would have withdrawn their services.
The contract to construct the East/West Road was awarded by the Niger Delta Ministry to a disreputable company, SETRACO, the same company that took about 10 years to resurface the Enugu/PH Expressway. At the crawling pace that company is going about its duties, you may require three more terms to see to its completion. It is only at the bottom of the Engenni and Patani Bridges that you would see construction activities presently. From the Engenni end of that bridge to Kaiama Bridge, the second lane of the road has not even been marked out. If I am not mistaken, that is your own neck of the woods, Mr. President. Traffic control on the road is abominable; there are no signs to indicate dangerous spots, collapsed culverts or diversions on the road so that a motorist is left to the navigational skills of more experienced users or the vagaries of chance! About 1 km out of Bomadi Junction, towards Ughelli, there is a gully that was dug by SETRACO which has the potential of claiming as many lives as drivers are ignorant of the spot because there simply is no sign to indicate the gully.
What sir, is the rationale for awarding such a huge contract to one company? Why was the contract awarded a company with a poor pedigree? Again, are there no exit clauses the ministry can take advantage of to revoke its obligations? The Sagbama stretch of the road before Patani tells the story of the whole project, of a sanded second lane overgrown with weeds for lack of activity.
Mr. President, your detractors, like the simpering idiot, Amaechi have talked about your seeming disinterest in the timely execution of this project. We, your brothers, who traverse aspects of the road from Igbedi to Akipula, within a catapult distance from your late father’s grave, and from Patani to Otowvodo, are now calling upon you to do something of the pace and quality of work at the East/West Road.