Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi
A political career-threatening plot is building up against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State ahead of the 2015 presidential race.
At least two of his counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some ministers are co-ordinating the plot aimed at checking what a party source yesterday called his “excesses and political rascality.”
The governor is widely believed to have been pencilled down as the running mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in the 2015 race.
Amaechi and the Minister of the Niger Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe, were recently locked in a dirty war of words over the governor’s perceived ambition and the threat it portends for the second term bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Orubebe lashed out at Amaechi for allegedly spending the resources of the people of Rivers State on extraneous things and at the expense of those who elected him into office.
He also said that in the USA, once a serving President indicates his interest in seeking a second term in office, the whole of his party members throw their weight behind him.
The current plot, according to sources, was provoked by Amaechi’s alleged insubordination and disrespect for President Jonathan, cold war with the President on boundary demarcation and oil wells between Rivers and Bayelsa States, undermining the South-South agenda to retain the presidency in 2015, and instigating the Nigerian Governors Forum, of which he is Chairman, against the presidency on the Excess Crude Account and Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which has not taken-off effectively, and sponsoring of crisis within the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP with a view to hijacking the party’s structure ahead of 2015.
Sources said a four-dimensional strategy has been put in place by some PDP hawks to deal with Amaechi including demystifying him through impeachment by the House of Assembly; sponsoring of revolt within the NGF; suspension of the governor from PDP for alleged anti-party activities; and outright distraction of his administration through internal crisis within the Rivers State Executive Council.
It was gathered that the recent verbal assault on state governors by the Ijaw leader , Chief Edwin Clark was ‘tactically’ directed at Amaechi.
A source, who spoke in confidence said: “The moves against Amaechi are real. The plotters are alleging that the governor has shown disrespect to the President four times including his open confrontation with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan in Okrika.
“Another sin committed by Amaechi is alleged meddling in Bayelsa State politics in 2012 when he backed ex-Governor Timpreye Sylva against Governor Seriake Dickson, the anointed candidate of the President.
“While fence-mending was being done, he accused presidency of ceding some oil wells belonging to Rivers to Bayelsa State. Jonathan and his strategists felt bad that the image of the presidency was dragged into it.
“The President was personally touched by the press war such that he had to issue a statement absolving himself of any complicity in the Soku Oil wells. But Amaechi appeared to have had an upper hand in the media.”
Another source cited the recent crisis of confidence between the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) as an issue why some forces in the party and the presidency are after Amaechi.
The source said: “As a matter of fact, the Deputy National Chairman of PDP, who was installed by Amaechi led the revolt against Tukur. That was seen as an affront against the President, who is the Leader of the party.”
But in a curious move, Tukur on Friday arrived in Port Harcourt for a visit during which he inspected projects executed by the Amaechi administration and commended him for his ‘performances.’
However, a party source said:”In spite of Tukur’s surprise visit to Rivers State, there is still a gulf between the presidency and Amaechi.
“Although the visit may be a rapprochement by Tukur, some loyalists of Jonathan are not ready to forgive Amaechi.
“In fact, the rumoured presidential aspiration of Governor Lamido-Amaechi ticket has made the presidency to be permanently suspicious of the Rivers State governor. They know Amaechi to be a long-distance runner.
“The face-off between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs over the East-West Road has earned Amaechi enemy’s tag. The President was allegedly portrayed as not doing anything for his people.”
It was gathered that anti-Amaechi forces are trying to woo those rated as politically powerful in Rivers State but abandoned or sidelined to fight the governor.
Speaking to reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday Tukur described Amaechi as the best for him, and hailed his achievements as excellent and fantastic.
Tukur inspected the new Kesley Harrison Hospital, the ultra- modern Maxillo-Facial Dental Hospital, the Port Harcourt-Owerri road, a 42 kilometre federal road done by the Amaechi administration, the new model primary and secondary schools, one of the over 120 new Health Centres, Songhai Farm in Tai, Afam Power project, Obiri-Ikwerre Interchange on the East –West road, and the over 38,000-seater new stadium being constructed in the Greater Port Harcourt city.
He said with the level of social and economic transformation in the state, Port Harcourt now ranks among developed cities of the world.
Speaking at a dinner party held in his honour at Government House on friday Tukur declared that, PDP will never lose to any party, if transformational leaders like Amaechi are boldly behind the party.
On his part, Amaechi assured Tukur that PDP Governors will support and remain loyal to the party at all times, urging him to always lead the party to victory.
“We assure you that Governors will support and remain loyal to the party, we need each other at such a challenging moment,” he said.