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Amaechi’s Plot To Stop Wike’s Swearing-In

GOV. AMAECHIThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has alleged that Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) were plotting to stop the inauguration of the state governor- elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, on May 29, 2015, using a High Court in Awka, Anambra State.

A statement issued on Monday in Port Harcourt by the Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of PDP Campaign Organisation in Rivers State, Emma Okah, said Amaechi and the APC were poised to get an injunction from a friendly court in Awka to stop the inauguration of Wike.

According to Okah, the plot was to shop for and buy a judge outside Rivers State who will agree to do the dirty job since the judiciary in the state had been paralysed by the Amaechi administration.

“The PDP further accuses Amaechi and the APC of leaving no stone unturned in planning to carry out the governor’s threat that he will not handover to Chief Wike,” the statement said.

The PDP however expressed optimism that Wike would be sworn-in as governor on May 29.

“However, in the face of this provocation, the PDP urges the people of Rivers State to remain calm as their governor-elect will be sworn in on May 29, 2015 as ordained by God like his colleagues in other states,” Okah said.

Efforts to get the reaction of the state government were not successful.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, did not respond to an sms for her comments as at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the party has dragged the governor and others to a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, urging it to, among other things, declare that the recently constituted commission of inquiry on politically-motivated killings in the state by the governor was unconstitutional and violates the principles of natural justice.

Amaechi had recently constituted a commission of inquiry into politically-related killings in the state.

In suit no: FHC/PH/FHR/256/2015, the party also sought the court to declare that by virtue of the provisions of section 214 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and section 4 of the Police Act, the power to investigate allegations of crime, including inquiring into politically motivated killings in the state is vested in the police

Respondents in the suit are the Chairman of the commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, nine other members, Governor Amaechi, Attorney General of the state, Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in the state.

The party further urged the court to restrain the commission or its members from investigating any alleged politically-motivated killings, insisting among other things, that it is the responsibility of the police.

The party’s legal adviser, Mr. Benjamin Eke, also alleged that the first respondent, who is Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Odinkalu, was not fit to head the body because he already had fore-knowledge of the subject matter of the purported inquiry having reportedly heard allegations and counter allegations of the various parties in the state relating to political violence and killings in his capacity as Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

“He cannot come to the task of presiding as chairman of the commission of inquiry in this case with neutrality and impartiality necessary as an arbiter,” he said.

Eke also said the second respondent, Mr. Samuel Egbe, was also not fit to be a member of the commission because he was allegedly appointed permanent secretary in the state civil service by the 10th respondent, Amaechi, adding that the 6th respondent, Mrs. Asivosuo Oriye, is an employee of the state Ministry of Justice under the supervision and control of the governor and the 11th respondent, the attorney general of the state was also not fit to serve in the commission.

However, the state Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) yesterday disclosed that 27 political parties had expressed interest to contest the local government elections scheduled to hold on May 23 in 22 out of the 23 councils in the state.

A statement in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner, Media and Public Affairs of RSIEC, Miss Ibiso Dakoru, said 27 out of the 28 registered political parties in the country have collected and submitted expression of interest forms to the commission.

The statement said the political parties would have submitted the date, time and venue of their primaries to RSIEC headquarters between last Monday, April 27 and Tuesday, April 28, 2015..

She said: “The commission is committed to a free, fair, transparent and credible local government council elections and urges all the parties to abide by the rules.”

She also gave assurance of the commitment of security agencies and other stakeholders in ensuring a peaceful election in the state.

Meanwhile, the PDP has said it would not participate in the elections, stating that the election was illegal as the commission had not abided with the tenets of the law.

A statement issued by the media aide to the state PDP Chairman, Mr. Jerry Needam, said: “The PDP unequivocally rejects and dissociates itself from such arrangement by the Amaechi-controlled Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission under Prof. Augustine Ahiazu.

Accepting to organise such illegitimate and doubtful exercise at the 11th hour of the termination of the APC-led government in the State does not present the chairman and his commission as responsible, honourable and unbiased.

“In as much as the party believes that officials of RSIEC are abreast with the provisions of the electoral law and guidelines, particularly as it relates to the conduct of the local government polls, we still wish to bring to their attention the section that stipulates 90 days’ notice to the political parties before the conduct of any election.”

The party said the announcement was already generating anxiety, suspicion and distrust among the people, adding that it showed that the state was not ready for election now.

The statement said: “What the governor ought to be doing now is to constitute May 29 transition committee and to ask for submission of handover notes from his aides and executive council members as was being done at the centre by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Our analysis of this development points to the fact that hurrying to conduct election before the end of Governor Amaechi’s tenure (about four weeks) is done simply to justify the desires of the out-going governor, including causing political crisis in the state for the in-coming governor to contend with.

“The PDP is surprised by such sudden realisation to hold this exercise, wondering why Amaechi did not give attention to it long before now when he had the opportunity and time since the tenure of the elected chairmen and councillors elapsed over a year ago.

“Governor Amaechi and the APC leadership should explain to Rivers people genuine motive for holding local government polls now other than using it as means of siphoning state resources, fomenting crisis in the state and putting in known elements at the various local government areas that will act as a cog in the wheel of the laudable development programmes to be initiated by the in-coming government in the state.

The party called on the people of the state to ignore the announcement by RSIEC calling for their participation in the proposed election, saying such action by Amaechi was a waste of time and Rivers money.

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