Josef Omorotionmwan contends that in the face of the confusion in Rivers State, anything goes

Nigerians are smart, even sometimes to a fault. They are quick to recognise that there are two sides to a coin. While our Legislators crack their brains trying to come up with good laws for the order and good governance of the people, there are those who occupy themselves with how to pervert such laws.

When times become extremely difficult, for lack of what to do next, some leaders resort to rationalization by the use of negative connotations to otherwise good intentions.

There was a President in the country whose tenure was fast running out while the road to his community was fast becoming a death trap. A delegation was despatched to him to remind him of the opportunity that was slipping away. They reminded him that the road to the community was so deplorable that accidents on that road have become a daily occurrence.

His response to them was short and direct to the point: Bad roads don’t cause accidents. Good roads do.

Truly, most ghastly accidents occur on good roads, particularly the new ones where reckless drivers sometimes close their eyes and “match down” without any regard to speed limits and other regulations on the road.

We remember the round-trips during the Christmas season. That is where commercial drivers will make say Port-Harcourt to Lagos and back to Port-Harcourt on the same day – no rest, no sleep and no food. They do the same thing throughout the Christmas week, all because the road is good, You cannot cheat nature. Many have perished in the process.

We remember Jim Rex Lawson (1938-1971). He was easily the undisputed heavy weight champion of High Life Music in his time. We had Saturday and Sunday Jump at Empire Hotel, Idioro, virtually every week-end.

The Benin-Warri and the Agbor-Warri Roads had just been reconstructed. They were widened and smoothened. Many perished on them!

Rex and his band had an engagement in Warri. After all, the Road was good. So, they pressed down. And at the bend in Urhonigbe, gbam! They had an accident; and that was the end!

The President who made the assertion that bad roads don’t cause accidents chose his words very carefully. He did not say that bad roads are better than good ones. Otherwise, he would have been reminded of the cases where in an attempt to avoid a pothole on a bad road, drivers have plunged into the lagoon and that was their end. In an attempt to avoid a bad spot on a bad road, drivers had head-long collisions with oncoming vehicles and that was their end!

That President would also have been reminded that at a point armed robbers and our law-enforcement agents have the same modus operandi on our bad roads. They lay ambush on the worst spot on the road where their prey cannot easily escape!

Nigerians are perhaps getting tired of complaining that they are hungry. At the peak of the cry for hunger, some senior officials of the current administration may have claimed that the hunger they were shouting about could be a sign that the administrations health programs were working. After all, to be hungry is to be well. As they say in local parlance, “Na who well dey feel hungry”. In all this, it is bad enough that our development is retarded; and it is worse that leaders must rationalize their failure with negative connotations! 

What we might be seeing in Rivers State today could be reminiscent of the rise and fall of States. It gets pretty difficult sometimes to believe that we are still dealing with the same River State, a State that was once the envy of everyone and a state of nice and great people.

The political situation in Rivers State today is as volatile as it is confusing. Understandably, nobody can remain inside confusion for too long without becoming confused.

We have always maintained that impeachment is not a conviction, not an end in itself but a means to an end.

Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, provides for immunity from prosecution for the President and Vice President as well as State Governors and their Deputies while their tenures last.

The same Constitution, however, foresees a situation where the people who enjoy immunity from prosecution could commit some felony or high crime for which they could have been prosecuted but for the immunity that they enjoy.

The Constitution now says that since we cannot wait for four years to deal with them, we must find a way of getting them out of office now so that we can deal with them. We are dealing here with the State Governor and the process for impeaching a State Governor and his Deputy is clearly spelled out in Section 188 of the Constitution.

It bears repeating that impeachment is not meant for addressing political differences. In Nigeria, this rule has been kept more in the breach than in the observance. Right from the Second Republic Case of Governor Balarabe Musa in Kaduna State to the floodgates we have in our courts today, virtually every case of impeachment has had very thick political colouration. That is also one way of explaining why in case after case, almost every measure of  impeachment has been overturned by the courts.

[ENTER CHIEF TONY OKOCHA]. We have followed with keen interest, Okocha’s forays in the politics of Rivers State.

When people who do not know display a degree of ignorance, they can be excused. But not a man who has been up there; and who ought reasonably to know.

In the turbulent days of Rivers politics – the days of Police Commissioner Mbu, Okocha was brought in by Governor Rotimi Amaechi as Chief of Staff as a replacement for Nyesom Wike when Wike moved up at the Federal Level as Minister of State for Education, much to the consternation of Wike who thought at that time that Okocha was not in the inner circle.

Amaechi and Wike quarreled bitterly over this appointment but Amaechi insisted that he did not want to be dictated to. This perhaps was the genesis of their disagreement, which blossomed over time. 

Today, Wike and Okocha are together. Okocha is questionably, the State Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC in Rivers State. 

Chief Emeka Beke who claims to be the duly elected chairman of the APC whose term has not expired is in court with him. Meanwhile, Okocha has taken everyone on a jolly ride to the very height of absurdity: He has called on the apparently illegitimate Rivers State House of Assembly to immediately impeach the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

He decrees that if they failed to impeach the Governor they would be impeached with the APC Constitution! This is what we call invitation to tender for impeachment. It is bad enough that he is issuing all the wrong proclamations, but it is worse that he chose to make the proclamations on a World Press Conference.

Certainly, what we see here is a complete innovation in public administration. And the world is watching us!

Omorotionmwan writes from Canada

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