I have noted with mixed feelings the demonic outbursts of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, on the person of the President, DR. Jonathan Goodluck. In the first place, there is a need to state without any fear of contradiction that there would have been no Governor Amaechi in the political ambience of Nigeria today if the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) had lived up to expectation as the biggest political party in Africa. It is sad to note that Governor Rotimi Amaechi is a Frankenstein Monster created by the PDP and as usual Frankenstein Monsters have always consumed their creators. Briefly put, a Frankenstein monster has been defined as “ a destructive agency or creation that cannot be controlled and which in the long run brings about the creator’s or owner’s ruin”. So, before we bury Governor Amaechi, we must understand our differences first; we must apportion blame to the PDP for giving Governor Amaechi the latitude and platform to be a bull in a China Shop. For the whole of over seven years, this Amaechi has been so temerarious and lawless; yet the PDP has not found a solution to rein in his excesses or cage him. It is hoped that in the long run, the PDP will learn lessons from the impunity of Rotimi Amaechi and thereafter endeavour to plug all loopholes and crevices that will facilitate a recrudescence or reoccurrence of Amaechi’s obscenity and disgrace to democracy. The founding fathers of democracy did not envisage that a person with such toxic behaviour and mannerisms as Governor Amaechi will ever hold the levers of power in any democracy.
Now follow me and listen attentively in order to understand my message. If the PDP had played its part well, it would have impeached Governor Amaechi within the first six months of his second tenure. Why? Just follow me. Governor Rotimi Amaechi was inaugurated Governor of Rivers State on Thursday,25th October, 2007 in the aftermath of the Supreme Court controversial judgment which declared him the validly elected governor of Rivers State in the April 14th 2007 governorship election. It is pertinent to state that in that election, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi was neither on the ballot nor was he in the contemplation of the voters as candidate in the election. He had been earlier disqualified by the INEC on the grounds that there was an indictment against him. After the governorship election of April 14th, 2007 the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) returned the then PDP governorship and cousin to Rotimi Amaechi, Celestine Omehia, as the winner of the governorship election.
Dissatisfied with the result, Rotimi Amaechi challenged the result of the election in court. His grouse was that it was wrong to disqualify him from the race after he had participated and won the governorship primaries. He challenged the legality of the indictment which was purportedly imposed him and which was the basis of his disqualification. He was actually asking to be reinstated as the authentic candidate of the PDP and, perhaps, for a fresh election to be held. Delivering the lead judgment in the Supreme Court Judgment of Thursday, 25th October, 2007 Katsina-Alu, J.S.C held: ”……It is my view that the candidate of the P.D.P at the election was the appellant(i.e. Rotimi Amechi and not Celestine Omehia).His name was unlawfully removed. In the eyes of the law he remained the candidate and this court must treat him as such. My view is that it was the appellant and not the 2nd respondent(Celestine Omehia) who must be deemed to have won the election. It is ordered that the 2nd respondent, Celestine Omehia, vacate the seat of Governor of Rivers State immediately and that that the appellant(i.e. Rotimi Amaechi) be forthwith sworn into office…….”.Briefly put, this is how Amaechi became governor of Rivers State on October 25th, 2007.This is a man who the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in his wisdom, rejected as governorship candidate of P.D.P in that election. In the words of Chief Obasanjo, “Amaechi’s ticket had a K-leg”.
Having been sworn into office on October 25th, 2007, his first tenure would have ended on October 24th,2011 after a four year first tenure. This is in line with the relevant section of Section 180 of the 1999 Constitution. Recall that the issue of tenure was the bone of contention in the suit MR. PETER Obi (Governor of Anambra State) Vs INEC and 7 others. In that suit, Mr Peter Obi had dragged the INEC and seven others to court as he sought the interpretation of the Supreme Court on whether his first tenure as governor had expired and whether it was in order for the INEC to conduct an election for governor in Anambra State in the election of April 14th , 2007. Governor Peter Obi’s first tenure commenced on March 17th, 2006 after over 30 months of election litigation to retrieve his victory which was stolen by the PDP and Dr Chris Ngige who was the Governorship candidate of the PDP in Anambra State in 2007.
Delivering the lead judgment on Thursday, 14th June, 2007 in the suit NO. SC.123/2007, Katsina-Alu J.S.C held…..”In the interest of justice and having regard to the fact that the relevant facts in this matter are not in dispute, I ought to proceed to exercise the power vested in this court under section 22 of the of the Supreme Court Act. Let me reiterate that the only relevant fact is the date when the plaintiff/appellant took his Oath of office of Allegiance and Oath of Office which is 17TH March, 2006.Happily, the provision is very clear and explicit and all I need do is apply it. The provision reads:”180-(2) Subject to the provisions subsection (1) of this section, the governor shall vacate office at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date when-
- In the case of a person first elected as governor under this constitution, he took the Oath of Allegiance and oath of ”
- There being no dispute on the fact that plaintiff/appellant took his oath of allegiance and oath of office on 17th March,2006, his term of office will expire on 17th March, ”He went further make the following declaration and order-(1)That the office of governor of Anambra State was not vacant as at 29th May, 2007
(2)It is ordered that the 5th Respondent, DR, Andy Uba should vacate the office of the governor of Anambra State with immediate effect to enable the plaintiff/appellant, MR. Peter Obi, to exhaust his term of office”. The crux of this Supreme Court judgment is that tenure starts counting from the moment one is sworn into office. In the case of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, his tenure started on October 25th, 2007 and would have ended on 24th October, 2011.
As a lawless person who manifests impunity, Governor Amechi did not wait for his first tenure to end before he illegally participated in the governorship election of April 2011. By the time he was sworn in for a second tenure on May 29th, 2011, he had served for only three years and seven months in his first term leaving behind a residue of tenure of five months. This is a dangerous violation of the Constitution which constitutes an impeachable offence. If the PDP had used one of the governorship candidates or referred the breach to a brilliant lawyer, they would have filed a suit to seek a pronouncement of the Supreme Court on whether it was legal for Governor Amaechi to unilaterally and arbitrarily cut down his first tenure from the laid down period of four years to three years-seven months.
The Constitution of Nigeria confers on the Supreme Court the jurisdiction to interpret any provision of the Constitution or the law. The suit is not about a pre-election or post-election matter; it’s strictly about an issue bordering on the interpretation/breach of the Constitution and the Supreme Court has inherent jurisdiction to intervene at each point there is a barefaced travesty/breach of the Constitution. But PDP missed a great opportunity to disgrace Governor Amaechi out of office.I am sure that if the matter was brought before the Supreme Court, the Panel of erudite Judges who declared him governor even when his name was not on the ballot, would have chastised him brutally; they would not have hesitated to disrobe him of the accoutrements and appurtenances of gubernatorial power. I made the observation in one of my viewpoints at the time but it was a case of a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I was later made to understand that some half-hearted effort was made in that direction but Governor Amaechi used petrodollars to buy over all those who would have taken the matter up. The issue died a natural death. In normal societies, a political party(PDP) that was in control of all the levers of power at the federal level would not have encountered any problems in getting the Supreme Court to sack Governor Amaechi for illegally shriveling his tenure in order to retain power.
Chief Obasanjo as Nostradamus: But why did Governor Amaechi reduce his first tenure by five months thus serving three-years-seven months instead of serving a full tenure of four years? This impeachable offence which constitutes a high crime was perpetrated for reasons of enlightened self-interest. What happened was that long before the 2007 governorship election, the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, had looked into the crystal ball and seen that a Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi would be a nemesis to PDP in Rivers State .It was on this ground that he swiftly, albeit unilaterally, confiscated Amechi’s victory in the Governorship primaries when he said that “Amaechi’s ticket get K-Leg”. That was a prophetic statement which has just been fulfilled. That prophecy puts Chief Obasanjo in the group of the like of Nostradamus- the man who saw tomorrow. Please ask someone to brief you on the feats of Nostradamus. As stated earlier, it was this decision by Obasanjo that impelled Governor Amaechi to seek judicial intervention through which he eventually became governor. So, even as governor, he was still afraid that the party would deal with him in the fullness of time. This is why he tactically reduced his first tenure in order to benefit from the bandwagon amnesty granted PDP governors at the time. He knew that if he had to wait for October 2011, the PDP might not give him a ticket. As a result of the Supreme Court judgment which declared Governor Amaechi Governor on October 25th, 2011, governorship elections in Rivers State should have been staggered like those of Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and others. So, Governor Amaechi simply manipulated and hoodwinked the PDP through buying the conscience of many PDP chieftains to turn a blind eye to his high crime which would have earned him an impeachment or a sack by the Supreme Court. It’s unfortunate that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the only person who was able to discern that Chief Chibuike Amaechi was a security risk to both the country and the PDP .
On the strength of the points canvassed above, I move a motion that the P.D.P should immediately seek the interpretation of the Supreme Court as to whether it was in order for Governor Rotimi Amaechi to arbitrarily reduce his tenure from four years to three years-seven months. It is my candid opinion that this is a high crime for which he should have been impeached immediately he was sworn into office on May 29th, 2011.Since the legislators have abysmally failed to perform their duty of impeaching Governor Amaechi on the grounds of committing a high crime, the Supreme Court should intervene in order to throw him out of office. This impending suit is similar to the one which MR. Peter Obi, the immediate past governor of Anambra State, initiated in order to sack the illegal occupation of Anambra Governorship stool by Chief Andy Uba for 17 days. Although time is of the essence, this case could be determined in a very short time because it is not an election petition; it’s a case that borders on the interpretation of the Constitution. Again, although equity is not for the indolent, there is no expiry date for trying a case of crime. I am also of the opinion that the fact that the Supreme Court declared in that Rotimi Amaechi suit something to the effect that “Votes are cast for the Party and not for the individual” is not a mitigating factor that will justify the high crime of shriveling his tenure through mago mago and wuru wuru. Above all, the Supreme Court decision in the suit will expand the horizon of Jurisprudence in the Governorship domain as it will provide pertinent clarifications in the efforts toward the building of strong democratic institutions. It will also throw some light in some recondite areas of the law which will provide invaluable guide in the running of the so-called ever nascent and fledgling democracy which Nigeria has become.
Finally, I feel reluctant to express a strong sense of premonition on the person of Governor Amaechi each time I look at his infantile and erratic actions and inactions against the PDP and President Jonathan. Governor Amaechi needs our prayers because in the long run, the group he is now helping to take control of his State/Niger Delta will eventually dump him the way they dumped his predecessors:Isaac Boro and Ken Saro-Wiwa. I don’t know how old Governor Amechi was then but as a graduate, he must have some sense of history. Briefly put, what happened was that these two fellows(Isaac Boro and Ken Saro – Wiwa) were used to fight against the Biafrans during the Civil War (1967-1970).They helped to advance the cause of the Nigerian troops which culminated in the defeat of the Biafran Army. Once this feat was achieved, both of them were dumped like a disposal syringe. While Isaac Adaka Boro was killed by the Nigerian troops in the war theatre under bizarre circumstances, Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged in Port Harcourt Prison together with about eight (or so) others in the Late General Sani Abacha’s military Junta for merely agitating for the rights of the Ogoni nation. If Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi does not pull back from the quicksand of a perilous idea now, he may go the way of Boro and Ken. Yes, the same people he is working for will descend on him; even if they spare him, I doubt if his Niger Delta militants will tolerate or spare him. Governor Rotimi Amechi needs our prayers for divine intervention in order to extricate him from the demons who now hold him hostage.
LESSON:As stated above, the former Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was able to know ahead of time that MR. Chibuike Amaechi was a dangerous person. It was on account of this that he tried to stop him from the governorship race by saying that his ticket had a K-LEG. So, next time elders like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo speak, people should listen. The PDP has not learnt any lessons. As long as the PDP continues to give automatic governorship tickets to returnee members to the detriment of those who are loyal and consistent, the Party will continue to lose governorship elections in its erstwhile strongholds. This ugly scenario is hovering over the PDP governorship flag bearer agenda in Imo State. In spite of the array of eminent personalities who have remained loyal to the PDP during its troubled periods, there are clandestine moves to allow some returnee politician to hijack the ticket on the grounds that he is well connected in the Board of Trustees of the PDP or on the grounds that he is stinking rich. It appears there is a demon in PDP that makes the party to embark on wild and incoherent decisions during election seasons. Once the PDP makes that mistake of giving its governorship ticket to any of the returnee governorship aspirants, that will be the beginning of another election defeat for the PDP in the next election. We are just watching them with interest. Perhaps, it is pertinent to emphasize that among the group of the returnee politicians, the only one that has a cogent reason to fly PDP ticket is Chief Martin Agbaso; his case is quite unique and should be accorded especial attention for the sake of equity. This issue will be expatiated elsewhere. All in all, the P.D.P must proceed to humiliate Governor Amaechi out of office. This will serve as a deterrent to future deviants in the corridors of power. Governor Amaechi has become a massive and monumental disgrace to democracy and he must be pursued from corner to post until he is hunted down. A lot has been read about Judas Iscariot in the Bible. It is my opinion that whosoever sees Governor Rotimi Amaechi has seen a reincarnation of the notorious Fifth Columnist, Judas Iscariot. However, as Christians, we should fervently pray for him in order to avert his being enveloped in imminent cataclysm and falling into a bottomless chasm.