Buhari is not a traitor, will adequately compensate Amaechi – NemiebokaWritten by The Neighbourhood
Dason Nemieboka is not a stranger to Rivers politics. In fact his book, Understanding Rivers Politics gives an insight into his depth and passion. A political activist as he prefers to brand himself, he has played very critical roles in the search for governorship since 2002.
A journalist’s delight if you asked him, he responds to questions with the frankness of a child and boldness of a man. In this interview Nemieboka speaks on issues ranging from the fall of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; the ‘disgrace of Okrika’; the April 11 elections in Rivers State; and former Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s fate in politics.
Sir, could we have your thoughts on the current political situation in Rivers State?
My dear, Rivers State is almost frozen. Nationally we have a situation where the government is being careful understandably so, yet in Rivers State the reverse is the case. The Governor (Nyesom Wike) started like a man determined to hit the ground running.
He started making appointments and declarations at the swearing-in ceremony only to hit his pause button soon after.
The situation in the State is a reflection of the air of uncertainty that has enveloped it.
What is this air of uncertainty about…?
Oh, the outcome of the last elections has for the first time polarised the State in a portion never before experienced.
If you look into the social media, you hear people saying; “Wike my Governor, Dakuku, my Governor,” even after one has been sworn-in and is serving. From 1979 we have been having Governors defeat opponents and after the elections Rivers people all get past that phase and move allow as a people, but it appears the people are so disenchanted with the recent elections that a large session of the State cannot come to terms with the fact that there is someone in Government House.
But the matter is at the tribunal?
Exactly my point! We shall avoid making statements that can be considered sub-judicial. The people should ordinarily support the Governor to govern as Nigerians are supporting President Muhammadu Buhari, but this is not the case.
Is this not a creation of the defeated All Progressives Congress in the state?
I think it is the inability of many to accept the verdict of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Let me state that
I personally believe that almost all elections in Nigeria (national and local) have been rigged or compromised in different ways, yet the people often accept the outcome when regardless of the flaws they observe that substantially the process was credible. I think many in Rivers State are yet to wake up from their dreams.
Are you implying that the elections in Rivers State were rigged?
I will be foolish to say yes or no on a matter before a tribunal of competent jurisdiction. All I can do is interpret the mood of the people as a social scientist, and let the tribunal determine what the case is based on the facts and evidence before them.
Do you personally expect the tribunal to cancel the governorship election?
Let them do their job justly. If that means retaining the status or reversing it, only the distinguished judges will know.
Can you comment on the activities of Governor Wike, since May 29?
Well, I have personally observed what I will describe as lack-lustre governance or better put fast fading goodwill from his supporters. I say this because if you observe his style, language and appointments you will notice that the only clear things are reward supporters and witch-hunt opponents.
On the reward scheme, he is getting serious bashing from his men already. I give you an example; from the Okrika axis, there were close supporters who were promised Secretary to Government, Speaker of the House, Chief of Staff, Government House, Chairman of civil service commission etc. Remember this is the axis that made Wike get the PDP flag blocking very credible Ijaw sons from Kalabari, Okrika, Andoni etc. They were so fanatical and intoxicated that they lost control of decency and thrice denied the APC campaign train berthing rights in Okrika.
After those shameful outings that they are yet to be considered for any sensitive appointment is already generating bad blood within their ranks.
On the issue of witch-hunting, I will be very careful, so am not misrepresented. I think and believe that every incoming government should bend backwards and see how things were done and possibly punish offenders to deter future abuse. However,
I think that a man who has a programme for his people and who claims that things have been poorly handled, should first settle down to laying structures and orientating or mobilizing his team for the work ahead. All a probe can give us is deter future offenders by punishing offenders and recovering a little of the lost, so it must not take centre stage for a new government.
What do you mean by ‘Okrika Shame’?
My dear, it’s our collective embarrassment as Okrika speaking people that in Nigeria even under the threat of Boko Haram in the North East, Governorship election campaigns held freely in 772 local Government areas of the federation except in Okrika land. For the leadership of the PDP in Okrika, it was a reflection of their zeal and commitment to the Wike project, yet it has given us a negative historical mark.
Could you kindly give us an insight into what happened then?
I have only facts gotten from eye witnesses and the media.
What is your assessment of the controversy over the appointability or otherwise of Rotimi Amaechi as Secretary to Government of the Federation?
Sincerely, I think Amaechi will be a major asset to Buhari and must be kept close. I am not a fan of Amaechi. I am angry that he pushed down (former President Goodluck) Jonathan the way he did, but if appointments are reward for efforts then the President will have a moral burden if he fails to appoint Amaechi SFG or something significant. I want to categorically say that it will be hard to find any other Nigerian who played a more significant role in the emergence of Buhari (as Amaechi). I challenge any one who considers Amaechi’s role marginal to a debate on national television.
I however believe that Buhari as an elder will see through the intrigues and do the needful. I believe Buhari is not a traitor, he will adequately compensate Amaechi.
Do you think that Amaechi is capable of holding that office?
If he governed Rivers State successfully, especially in the first term, then the capacity is there. Say it or not, politics distracted him and that politics is what Buhari benefitted from. So Buhari should ignore haters of Amaechi and give him the opportunity to serve his country and people, especially now that Buhari has enemies in the APC too.
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