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End of the road for Amaechi?

By Isaac Umunna on 30/04/2013

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Except a miracle takes place, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi may not complete his tenure as governor of the oil-rich Rivers State in Nigeria’s South-South.

The signs for him are ominous. In just a few weeks, the once-powerful Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, who is believed to be locked in a power struggle with President Goodluck Jonathan, has watched helplessly as his empire crumbled.

First, Amaechi’s power base was drastically trimmed via the sudden formation of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, with Governor Godswill Akpabio of neighbouring Akwa Ibom State as Chairman. Then before you could say “A-m-a-e-c-h-i!” control of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was taken away from him after a court in the country’s capital, Abuja, declared the executive illegal, thus paving the way for the rival executive promoted by Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike to be inaugurated by the national headquarters of the ruling party.

For Amaechi, the implication of this development started manifesting yesterday when the new state PDP Executive led by Felix Obuah launched a double offensive against the embattled governor. At a press briefing in the state capital, Port Harcourt, Obuah announced that the party had given Amaechi 48 hours to explain to Rivers people the circumstances behind the purchase of the $45.7m private jet grounded over the weekend by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for alleged lack of operational licence. Insinuating that the transaction was not transparaent, Obuah warned darkly that PDP would not tolerate corruption in the state.

Obuah, at the same time, announced the suspension of Speaker Chidi Lloyd and 26 other members of the Rivers State House of Assembly  – leaving only four members off the hook in the Assembly of 31 members. The suspension, according to him, was was as a result of the lawmakers’ refusal to obey an order by the party to reinstate the suspended Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government Area. The council chairman, Chief Timothy Nsirim, his deputy, Mr. Solomon Eke, and all the 17 councillors of the council were suspended April 22 for alleged financial recklessness but it is believed that they were so punished for being Wike's loyalists.

As all this is playing out, feelers are that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may soon revisit a N20 billion case against Amaechi, who was accused of embezzling the said sum in 2006 while serving as Speaker of the state House of Assembly.

Everything points to the likely impeachment of Amaechi, who came to power in 2007 via a Supreme Court order even though he never contested election, but won re-election in 2011. Considering his sudden fall from grace, the governor’s surname becomes all the more significant, for Amaechi is an Igbo name which, translated, means that no one knows tomorrow. Indeed, no one knows tomorrow, as Amaechi’s current travails have showed.

•Photo: Governor Amaechi.

Source News Express

Posted 30/04/2013 05:57:52 AM

 

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