•Says Gov must beg him •Declares: ‘If President Jonathan removes me as minister, I’ll continue to fight’
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State must brace up for more trouble from the opposition in the days and months ahead, if the threat, yesterday, by one of the forces against him, is anything to go by.
Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, boasted at a reception for him in Port Harcourt that he is ready to make life even more uncomfortable for the governor who is locked in the political battle of his life with the Presidency and his party (PDP), at the state and federal levels; the State Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu and the Police Command; the Minister and his five supporters in the State House of Assembly; ex-militants; as well as other political forces from within and outside the state.
The reception also doubled as a grand finale of the inauguration of units of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) in Obio/Akpor LGA of the state.
Wike is the grand patron of GDI.
“We will make sure they will not sleep again, as they are sleeping now. They will not sleep with their two eyes closed. One eye will be open because they know there is danger,” the minister said, 24 hours after Amaechi told a delegation of Niger Delta Bishops who are trying to resolve the political crisis in the state that Wike remains a minister today by “the grace of God” and his (Amaechi’s) effort.
The governor’s words: “Nyesom Wike was appointed Chief of Staff by me. Nyesom Wike as a Minister of State, I nominated him. I was under pressure by the President to drop him, I refused. The President persuaded me to drop him and bring a woman but I refused.
” I heard he is going all over town saying I didn’t appoint him, I didn’t appoint him, the President appointed him but I nominated him to be a minister as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum. I did, but you know character doesn’t come easily, character is a very difficult thing and I am a man of character.”
But in what looked like a response to the broadside fired at him on Friday by Amaechi, the minister said yesterday that the governor and the 27 members of the State Assembly on his side have not had enough trouble occasioned by their April 22 suspension of the Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.
Wike, who is aspiring to replace Amaechi as governor in 2015, hails from the local government area. He was a two-term chairman of the council.
The minister, speaking at yesterday’s rally, said: “They said we are nobody. Then they have seen. When you are dealing with nobody, be careful. The nobody will show you that he is somebody. We will make sure they will not sleep again. As they are sleeping, they will not sleep with their two eyes closed. One eye will be open, because they know there is danger.
“Those who are saying they must remove me, I have even overstayed. For you to be minister for two years, you must thank your God. If today we are no longer minister, do not worry yourself. It will not change us. We will continue to fight for what we believe in.
“We were not minister when we fought for them in 2007. When we were here, they were not having problems. Now, we have gone, they are having problems.
“We have always told them: you cannot do it. What you do not know, you do not know. It does not matter, whatever money you have, money cannot buy everything. Now, they are having sleepless nights. When we were here, were they having sleepless nights?
“When we were here, were they not travelling up and down? Are they travelling again? Tell them, they should come and beg us. Tell them to come back and beg us. We will tell them the secret. What God has not given to you, you do not need to do anything about it.
“I can assure you, all they are asking for: they want a commissioner of police that will be arresting you. Anytime they call the CP, he will arrest you. But let me tell you, we are not interested in whoever comes here (CP), all we are interested in is to have somebody who will not be partial.
“Let them bring whoever they want to bring (as CP).We want somebody who will want democracy to be practised in Rivers State. They said one man, one vote. Now, they do not want one man, one vote again.
“Obio/Akpor LGA is not a place you can toy with. Those who feel they can suspend Obio/Akpor council officials, we will make them uncomfortable. They felt once they had dissolved the council, they would sleep.
“The party has suspended them, because they have touched the lion and when you touch the lion, you know the consequences. Since they said the councillors will not take their salaries, they also will know that they will not belong to the PDP.
“The party chairman (Chief Felix Obuah) warned them and they said he would not be able to do anything. At the end of the day, they are going to court to challenge us. We will meet them in court. We are not afraid of the court. We are accustomed to it. All the ones they have gone, we have been winning them and we will continue to win them.
“They are doing everything they can. They are using their power and their money. Money cannot solve all problems. Sometimes, you have to come back home and realise that the people matter a lot. It is the power of the people that has put us in positions and you must come back to thank the people.
“Forget about what they are doing to you (his supporters). Do not worry. We are all together. Do not lose hope. God is on the throne.”
Wike said the suspended Chairman of Obio/Akpor LG, Mr. Timothy Nsirim, who also attended the rally; his deputy, Solomon Eke, and the 17 councillors have been denied their salaries since April, but said that is part of the sacrifice to make democracy survive.
The minister asked the people of the state to continue to support President Jonathan and the party.
He urged members of the GDI, in particular, to go to all the wards, communities and families in the state not to abandon President Jonathan and his wife.
Wike added: “Your duty as GDI members is to go and mobilise the entire state for our son (Jonathan), eventually when he decides to run and we believe the people of the Southsouth zone cannot sacrifice, for whatever it is, our own son, for anything less than President.”
Factional Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Felix Obuah, pledged at the function to reconcile Amaechi, Wike and other aggrieved members of the party in the state.
Obuah said: “I want to invite the governor (Amaechi), the minister (Wike) and all aggrieved members of Ikwerre community, to be with me in my palace next weekend. Let us sit down and fashion a way forward. I will not sit down and see my children quarrelling, and I will not feel concerned.”
A former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, described Obio/Akpor LGA as the home of the GDI and the PDP, stressing that “anybody standing on your way is standing before a moving train and will be crushed.”
The President-General of the GDI, Bright Amewhule, in his remarks, stated that President Jonathan would be supported to return in 2015 and that they were solidly behind Wike.
The ceremony is the latest by the anti-Amaechi camp in the state.
Similar ceremonies by pro-Amaechi groups are routinely disallowed by the police, prompting observers from within and outside the state to accuse the police leadership in the state of taking sides.
A rally scheduled for last Tuesday by civil rights groups to protest what they called anti-democratic tendencies in the state was not allowed to hold by the police.
Some militants even threatened that the lives of some of those expected at the rally were not safe should they come.