Except the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is mentioned in any of their plots, the scheming of the opposition remains tacky. Shola Oyeipo writes
From all indications, the debate trailing the allegations by some of the arrested justices, Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme against former Rivers State governor and Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi will continue to attract interpretations by different commentators until the issue loses its steam in the court of public opinion and dies a natural death.
In quick succession, the two judges had alleged that Amaechi attempted to make the apex court influence the judgments on the Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Ekiti States governorship elections.
Against the backdrop of the allegation from both sides, some have insisted that the affected justices and judges step down to allow justice take its course. There are others also calling on Amaechi to step down. But in the midst of the arguments, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Amaechi have continued to deny that the minister was involved in any shady deal with the judges and that the allegation was only orchestrated by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“For emphasis, we want to state categorically that Amaechi did not and has never tried to lobby, induce or make the Hon. Justice Ngwuta to influence the outcome of any matter before the Supreme Court or any other court,” a statement by Mr. Amaechi’s media office said.
Continuing, the statement reads further: “Amaechi did not and has never lobbied, approached or attempted to make the CJN or any other Justice of the apex court to influence the Supreme Court judgment on the Rivers State and Ekiti State Governorship Elections petition appeals or any other matter before the apex court or any other court”, the APC contended.
Amaechi on his part has maintained that both judges were conscripted in the ongoing plot to destroy him politically through every means possible.
While it may still be difficult to take a stand on the matter, a significant proportion of the people of Rivers State and other admirers of the former governor across the country are buying into his argument due to the antagonisim he faced with PDP forces in his home state, Rivers, when he was nominated minister. Therefore, the thriving sentiment among the pro-Amaechi group is that several top PDP leaders, including three sitting governors and a past governor are the ones instigating the Supreme Court judges to raise allegations against Amaechi
The PDP bigwigs are considered as those behind the stupendous money and properties found with the judges by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the forces conniving with Justices Okoro and Ngwuta to bring a “common enemy” (Amaechi) into their mess, particularly being a major contender that their emergence did not go through a free and fair process.
The hook would be that Amaechi is particularly unhappy because was unable to deliver Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta States in the governorship elections petitions handled by Justices Okoro and Ngwuta and that it is the reason he masterminded their arrest and investigation.
There is also a consensus among the APC loyalists that Amaechi, with his rising profile within his geo-political region and across other states is gradually becoming a major obstacle to the success of the PDP ahead of the 2019 elections, and as such, the antics to disrepute him as a way to severe whatever relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, who has shown genuine readiness to address issues pertaining to the development of the Niger Delta region.
Regardless of those views, the Rivers State PDP chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah has insisted that the minister must step aside to allow for thorough investigation of the allegations. He has insisted that President Buhari should relieve him of his appointment as a minister in his cabinet on the grounds that he has no moral basis to remain in office after the allegations of bribery leveled against him by the judges and that has been the main talking point.
“To further prove his innocence of the various allegations, Mr. Amaechi should resign, cooperate and allow the process of his investigation by not sabotaging any of such efforts in getting to the truth”, Obuah reportedly said.
Interestingly, the disposition of Obuah to Amaechi in recent times has been the most shocking to those conversant with Rivers politics. For a man whom God was said to have given a second chance to live through Amaechi, many are yet to come to terms with his recent hatred for the former governor.
A story was told of how Obuah was once shot around his genital area by his some of the goons said to be working for him and left in the pool of his own blood. And when the news of the development was brought to the attention of Amaechi, he was said to have immediately flown him out with an air ambulance to South Africa where he was given a resounding medical attention and now boasts a new life.
In a reverse dimension, when aggrieved members of the PDP formed the faction tagged the New-PDP and led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje, where Amaechi held sway before joining force to berth the APC, they continually called on President Jonathan to sack Governor Nyesom Wike as a matter of urgency when he was the Minister of State for Education.
In one of it attacks on Wike, the Baraje camp said: “The fact remains that to say Wike is a disaster as a minister is to state the obvious. We advise him (Jonathan) to minimise the damage he is doing to the Jonathan administration by concentrating on his work instead of busying himself making enemies for the president, whom he pretends to be loyally serving but whose downfall he is secretly plotting.
“Instead of President Jonathan addressing enemies within his cabinet, he is busy persecuting and embarrassing his true friends and political associates that matter in his political calculations! We have read with dismay the statement credited to the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike that Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State and the New Peoples Democratic Party are behind the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).”
Therefore, to those who were privy to the politics of that era, the current scenario is a reenactment of an old rivalry by sworn enemies. To them, it is mischievously crafted and as such, since the judges are those with issues with the law enforcement agents, they should face their warrants on their own without dragging the minister along with them to achieve political ends.
Evidently, Amaechi has the support of the leaders of the APC, who actually consider the allegations mere political gambit targeted at waning one of the strong forces in the ruling party. To them, except proven beyond reasonable doubt as in the cases of the judges, who have explanations to make on some of the foreign and local currencies found in their homes, there is no reason to yield to the antics of the opposition PDP on the call for Amaechi to step down.
There is also a consensus among the APC loyalists that Amaechi, with his rising profile within his geo-political region and across other states is gradually becoming a major obstacle to the success of the PDP ahead of the 2019 elections, and as such, the antics to disrepute him as a way to severe whatever relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, who has shown genuine readiness to address issues pertaining to the development of the Niger Delta region