By Tony Iwuoma
A frontline chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Peter Aniekwe, has taken a swipe at critics of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, saying they are mere busy-bodies who refused to acknowledge the good in the nascent administration in the state.
Pleading with opponents of the Wike administration to stop distracting the governor from his onerous task of governing the oil-rich state, Aniekwe, who is also an industrialist and astute businessman is the chief executive of Lagos-based MacPee Group of Companies, which is a freight forwarding and major player in the haulage sector of the economy, said recent developments in the state are indicators that Rivers State would soon return to its glorious past that was bastardised by the immediate past administration in the state.
Aniekwe condemned the relocation of the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja, and wondered why Rivers State was not considered good enough for the tribunal to sit.
He disagreed that it was fear of insecurity that necessitated the relocation, pointing out that election petitions in the northern part of the country which is suffering worse security challenges are still domiciled in the concerned states.
“Why were Rivers and Akwa Ibom States exceptions. The only explanation is that both states are PDP states and the APC wishes to take the states through the back door. Why must APC take over the entire country as if we are operating a one-party state. It is obvious from the way APC is going that it wants to take over everything. I just hope it does not create problems for the country. In any case, insecurity has always been there. It was even worse when former governor Chibuike Amaechi was in court with Celestine Omehia. There are worse cases of insecurity up north yet the election tribunals in affected states there have not been relocated. What explanations can be given for that?”
On the lingering feud over the local government elections in the state, Aniekwe debunked existence of crisis. “There is no crisis in the local governments of Rivers State. As you are aware, the governor recently filled vacant positions with caretaker chairmen. Thew purported elections conducted by Amaechi on the eve of his departure is a nullity, as it was held in flagrant disobedience of decision of the court. They had even tried to create confusion by misrepresenting pronouncement of the court as reinstating them. Thank God, the court clarified that it never gave such directives. It is absurd that the police sealed up the local councils; what is their business. In any case, it is good they exposed their partisanship in the matter by their action. The truth, however, remains that Governor Wike has appointed caretaker chairmen for the councils and they are fully in charge.”
Aniekwe commended Wike for restoring the rightsand privileges of former governor Celestine Omehia, describing it as part of restoration of the state to justice and equity. “Amaechi, out of malice and vindictiveness, denied Omehia his rights and privileges as a former governor of Rivers State. However, it is on record that Omehia governed the state at one time and no manipulation can eradicate that fact of history. Wike’s action impart of the healing process of all past wrongs done in the state. The governor deserves commendation instead of vilification by enemies of peace and apostles of hatred.”
Violence has been on the rise in Rivers State lately but Aniekwe said it was not all politically related. “A lot of the killings and violence are cult-related; they have nothing to do with politics. The issue of cultism is a problem that is assuming national calamity and all must join hands with security personnel to track it down. It is not a Rivers State affair only. Of course, there are also incidents that are not cult-sponsored but the handiwork of renegades who want to create the wrong impression of the Wike administration. But I tell you, they have failed already.”
Aniekwe charged all men of goodwill to team up with Wike in the overall interest of the state. He urged opponents of Wike to sheath their swords and dialogue with the governor on the way forward. “Wike is an accommodating gentleman; he had already extended olive branch to his opponents and I urge them to embrace peace handwork together with the governor for the good of all. In elections, there must be winners and losers and people must learn to accept outcome of elections without heating up the polity. Wike will not be governor forever, why cannot people exercise patience and wait for their turn?’
He insisted that Wike should be allowed to concentrate on governing the state, as all these distractions may not allow him to do his best for the state.
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