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Thursday, 5 September 2013

How it all started



It all started soon after he helped secure a whopping unprecedented two million votes for his South-South brother to win the 2011 Presidential election...

He accompanied her to Okrika just to demonstrate that he was loyal. Just to make her feel important as Her Imperial Majesty should feel.

So suddenly, as he was speaking, outlining his revolutionary educational strategy, especially for Her Majesty's Okrika homeland, she got into a fiery rage, sprang up like she was catapulted from the spirit realm, dragged the microphone from his hand with the force of a mighty storm, and buried him in the avalanche of tirade with her characteristic magisterial swagger.

The teeming audience, mainly of Okrika origin, who had thronged the open ground to see the triumphant return of their Czarist Queen, watched on, some hilarious, some hysterical, some jamming their hands together at the awesome power of their Goddess. Others were subdued, bowing in disgust at the humiliation of the holder of their sacred mandate. Mumbling at the denigration of their Governor, a man, the husband of a beautiful wife too.

Stunned and disgraced in equal measure, head lowered, mouth agape, he walked stealthily towards the Modern Primary School that was close by, his feet unable to kill an ant, sat on the corridor and mimed to himself " oh, this school, see how much humiliation I have endured for constructing you here so that the children of fishermen here and the children of janitors and cleaners and fish sellers and market woman and traders can have world-class educational facilities like their elite contemporaries in the cities in order to arm them too with the wherewithal of the competitive 21sth century knowledge-based economy". Soliloquy! A governor's tears nearly dropped, he had to hold the eyes liquid for his closet.

In the weeks and months that followed, no official condemnation surfaced, no informal " south-south" elders' words of sympathy soothed the frayed nerves and the chagrined soul of the man. Not even a word from the deities of Aso Rock! Yet the Governor was still, for what would a "son" do having been so treated by a "mother"? He endured. And endured. And endured. But more blows were lined up.

Instead of calm, a rash of oil and territorial wars were unilaterally declared against him and Rivers people. By this time, events were progressively deteriorating. So permit me to now name the " Him". He's a certain Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Her Majesty, the Magisterial Amazonic Goddess is Her Excellency, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan.

So I said the oil wars, territorial wars, were the next phase of tribulations for Rivers people.

In late 2012, 17 BILLION naira, accruals from disputed Soku oils well in Kalabari kingdom of Rivers State, hitherto put away in an escrow account, pending the amicable resolution of the boundary dispute between two sister states of Rivers and Bayelsa, was strangely credited to the coffers of Bayelsa State Government by the RMAFC, an organ of the Federal Government which perhaps couldn't fathom why any State in Nigeria should be dragging oil well money with the President's home State of Bayelsa.

Rivers territory has been excised! Never mind that from colonial times up to the 10th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria, the boundaries between Kalabari communities of Rivers State and the neighbouring Nembe Communities of Bayelsa State had been delineated with the boundary clearly marked as the Santa barbara River. It was the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria prepared in 1999 and published in 2000 that strangely shifted the boundaries between Rivers and Bayelsa from the initial boundary between Kalabari and Nembe, west of the Santa Barbara, to San Bartholomew River, contrary to all preceding administrative maps of Nigeria.

Expectedly, Governor Peter Odili, the then Governor of Rivers State, had rightly petitioned then Chairman of NBC, Atiku Abubakar, over the wrongful boundary shift and allocation of Rivers oil wells to Bayelsa. It's interesting to note that in a letter dated 3rd July, 2002, addressed to Odili, the Governor of Rivers, the Director-General of NBC had stated thus:
" I have discussed this issue with the Surveyor-General of the federation and wish to state as follows...that the NBC has taken note of the state's observation of the INADVERTENT MISREPRESENTATION of the Bayelsa/Rivers interstate boundary..." He further promised that..." I am to assure your Excellency that your observations have been noted and necessary corrections shall be reflected on the 12th Edition of the map currently under production".... "I am to assure you that the boundary line as reflected in the said edition of the map SHALL HAVE NO BEARINGS ON THE CURRENT EFFORTS"

So doesn't it fly in the face of reason that 17 billion naira wisely housed in an escrow account pending proper resolution of the dispute was hastily transferred to the coffers of Bayelsa State in circumstances that suggest the reasonable probability that the RMAFC were under the obligation of an "order from above"?

That was not all in the free for all territorial onslaught against Rivers. Akwa Ibom state got their fair share of Rivers productive oil wells too. The Revenue of the state was becoming lean! Did Rivers win any battle of this territorial and oil well onslaught? Only some barren wells from Cross Rivers. Amaechi and his Rivers people have been pummeled! But why?

The Governor was still reeling from the pains inflicted by the heavy territorial and oil well jabs when a new dimension to the plan to cripple and make him a pariah began.

Orubebe, Jonathan's Minister of Niger Delta affairs stepped in to take the barton and lead the charge.

Amaechi had, sometimes in 2012, after visiting an accident scene on the East West Road near Ahoada, made a seemingly harmless comment expressing disappointment with the slow pace of work on the road and calling on the Federal Government to permit Governors of Niger Delta States to take over construction of the road in order to end the serial carnage the deplorable nature of the road was causing. It took Orubebe seven months to de-construct Amaechi's comment and convinced himself that it was directed against President Jonathan. Then Orubebe started his infamous outburst against the Governor. He was given enough war chest to attract gargantuan media hullabaloo. If you are at a loss as to when the " Amaechi has no respect for president" campaign started, ask Orubebe.

That took us into the NGF saga. Jonathan didn't tell Amaechi not to re-contest the Chairmanship. But he deployed unprecedented presidential power to stop him. All Federal institutions were put on alert to stop Amaechi. They battled like a bunch of excited children to please big brother. Everybody could fly in their private jets, not Amaechi. Jonathan, from being the president of Nigeria had also become the god of the sky. Bombardier! Bombardier!! Bombardier!!! By default, that company had become the most popular aircraft manufacturing company in Nigeria. Even my grand-mother in the village knew about them!

Amaechi couldn't fly at will again, his wings clipped to the root. Governors were promised heaven and earth to stop him. He contested. The prospects of victory were dim. Defeat appeared obvious. Fears palpable. Only faith was constant.

Akpabio was called to duty, hastily made the head of a quickly devised PDP-GF. The mission was unambiguous. It contained only two word: stop Amaechi!

Amaechi said, if I have to fail, let me fail at the poll. Against mountainous odds, he drove in the vehicle of his iron-clad will to dare, to challenge, to face risk. A battled-scared political veteran. What did you expect?

After the counting of ballots, the scoreboard read 16-19. Jang, a reluctant old contestant, secured 16. Amaechi got 19. Amaechi had won against obvious odds! Just as jubilation was erupting everywhere, the arithmetic abracadabra began. Bloodied, Akpabio, representing Jonathan, was not ready to take the punch.

So did we record the debut of "janglize," "janglization", "janjaweed", in our political lexicon. Arithmetic equation had been canibalized by mathematics abracadabra. The six before one had been turned upside down. 16 had become 19 and 19 had become 16. In every case, sixteen was greater than nineteen.

Presidency denied involvement as it did from the beginning. But few days after, Jang was addressed as chairman of NGF by the President himself. Not because Jang won, but because Amaechi must be reduced to nothing. Few days after, Akpabio and co gathered in the walls of Aso Rock to sing a dirge for NGF. The lyric of the dirge said:

"All hail the President
The cord of NGF is broken forever
Its grave decorated with your
Signature victory
No more will its ghost rise up to
Trouble thee
All hail the president!"

So I tell you once again, if you are at a loss as to how faction become implanted in our national consciousness, go back to the NGF debacle. Ask Akpabio, the President's hitman!

You remember Amaechi's 49th birthday gift from the presidency? Suspension from the PDP. Bamanga Tukur and his people gleefully announced to Nigerians that Amaechi had been suspended from the party for refusing to reinstate the Obio Akpor council government sacked by the Rivers legislative arm!

The First Lady also resumed her belligerence. She would come into Rivers State with riotous retinue of endless convoy and lock down the whole place. One black day on one of her mischievous visits, security forces barricaded a road where the Governor was passing. The first Lady was apparently preparing to go out. She was probably still in her bathroom, but the entire road has been locked down. The Governor's usually small convoy was turned back from passing a certain road. Mbu's men plus all the Federal security apparatuses turned back the convoy of a Governor! The Empress was in town. Didn't the Governor know?

Enter Nyesom Wike, Hon Minister of State for Education. With help from Abuja, they took away the PDP structure in the state and dashed it to Nyesom. Before you could. Say Jack, Felix Obuah, new Rivers PDP chairman anointed from above, was giving series of ultimatum to the Governor! Explain in two hours! Say this in twenty hours! Deny that in
twenty four hours or face discipline! If one forgot that we were not in a banana republic,one would have been forgiven.

Then enter GDI otherwise called gang of demented irritants. It had, and still has Nyesom's signature. They threatened, they occupied, they cursed, they spilled venom, they troubled the waters, they yelled with words of interposition, they captured the airwaves preaching belly revolutions against the Governor. Nyesom promised that he would make Rivers State ungovernable. And that Amaechi would sleep no more.

Mbu, Rivers police chief, was openly engaging the "chief security" of the State. " You are a dictator, you are this, you are that" he said over the megaphone. "Repentant" militants were unleashed on the streets of Port Harcourt, not only to protest I know not what, but to intimidate the Governor. Police escorted them in that endeavour.

Enter Evans. The template for the new arithmetic formula has already been developed in Abuja from the NGF saga. His renegades of frivolous five legislators, with active help from indian hemp- smoking, Arrow mate- chanting thugs commandeered the Rivers State House of Assembly ." Honourable members in the gallery" elected Evans as the new "speaker". Five persons have sacked 27 people. 5 had become greater than 27. The end point of the farce was to pronounce the impeachment of the Governor. Once that was done, Mbu would have mobilised his men into Government House to march Amaechi out. Amaechi would go to court and cry a lamentation of rule of law. The rest would become history.

Evans told us that he was doing all that for a certain jesus, who having ascended to heaven, decided to come town to the African tribe of Okrika. Amaechi's seat in the Brick House was the only sacrifice worthy of acceptance to our jesus on earth.

In the midst of the impasse, the invertebrate trio of Okupe, Abati and Gulag were busy throwing scud missiles at the Governor at every turn, directed from the high planes of Aso Rock's war house.

Now primed for a fight, Amaechi exported the crises to London, the capital of our formal colonial masters, and berated President Jonathan and the First Lady for scheming to sack him. Will you blame him? Presidential minders had expressed bitterness about the Senate's resolution approving the decision of the House of Reps to take over the legislative functions of Rivers Assembly. Not because they love Rivers people more, but because the takeover foreclosed their nocturnal voodoo scheme to sack the Governor.

Sam Sam Jaja, Amaechi's man, now factional National Deputy Chairman of the New PDP, was thrown out by the old factional PDP to undo Amaechi.

This has been a long one from me. Now I have a question. In view of the foregoing, did anybody expect Amaechi to take a huge political offering on his head, dance and wriggle his waist to Aso Rock in perspiration, and lay the offering at the feet of the deity in the temple of Aso Rock?

For those of us who are eager to call Amaechi a traitor of " the south-south cause", whatever that means,before you spread out your judgement sheet, consider, please consider.

Amaechimanic hatred started soon after 2011, giving the Governor and his many supporters no chance, no alternative.

Friday Kennedy Barileilo
is Lingua Scribe of Ogoni
Generation Next Project
(OGNP)

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