Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has described the April 15 verdict delivered by Justice Ishaq Bello of the Abuja High Court declaring Mr. Felix Obuah and Mr. Ibibia Walter as duly elected chairman and secretary, respectively, of the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party as a desecration of the temple of justice.
This came as the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, who is widely believed to be the sponsor of the court action, declared that he had no personal problems with Amaechi. And president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Umar, described the governor as a pillar of democracy, saying Nigerians are watching his ordeal.
Amaechi spoke Saturday in Port Harcourt while addressing a massive crowd of supporters from across Rivers State who staged a solidarity march to Government House following the Abuja court ruling.
Bello had ruled on Monday that the Obuah faction of PDP in the state, backed by Wike, should be sworn in as a replacement for the serving state executive committee of PDP chaired by Chief Godspower Ake. The judge held that Obuah and Walter were the duly elected candidates at the state congress of PDP held on March 17 last year.
While the Ake committee was loyal to Amaechi, the Obuah committee is believed to be sponsored by Wike, Amaechi’s erstwhile ally who is now widely suspected to be used by President Goodluck Jonathan to get even with the Rivers State governor.
But Amaechi dismissed what he called an attempt to use the court against him as a defilement of the country’s justice system. Represented by his deputy, Mr. Tele Ikuru, Amaechi declared before the crowd of supporters Saturday, “I think as a nation one area we should not allow mud to go into is the judiciary. As a nation, one area we should not allow to become a thing of play is the judiciary. The temple of justice has been desecrated.
“Nigeria arise, Nigeria arise. If we do not rise, we will lose our country. As a nation, any day we allow the temple of justice to be desecrated we’ll lose our country.”
Amaechi, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said, “Any day a poor man cannot go to the court and state his case and get justice that country is lost…"
Also speaking, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, said, the PDP stalwarts from across the state were at Government House to agitate for freedom, saying they will never be slaves to any political group in the state.
But Wike said on Rhythm FM, which was monitored in Port Harcourt, that he still believed in the Amaechi administration in the state.
Wike stated that the change in the leadership of PDP in the state, which he championed, was as a result of injustice that he saw in the chapter, stressing that he would fight injustice anywhere he has a reason to fight it.
In response to a question, he said, “Why will I support him from the beginning and I will not support him till the end? I supported him, and my local government gave him the highest number of votes in the state. Having supported him to win the election, will I now say he should leave the office? That is unthinkable.”
Meanwhile, the NLC president at the weekend in Port Harcourt described the Rivers State governor as a pillar of democracy in the current dispensation. Umar spoke when he led a delegation of top NLC officials on a courtesy visit to the governor.
The NLC delegation was in the Rivers State capital for a conference to elect a new executive for the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services (AUCPTRC).
Umar said, “Nigerians are watching. Nigerians are very, very intelligent people. They are watching, they know things, they know what is happening (to Amaechi) and they are also passing their own judgment…
Responding, Amaechi urged the NLC to continue to represent the poor and give voice to the voiceless for a better Nigeria.
“I think that, basically, the greatest voice that the poor can have will not be any other voice than the voice of the workers,” the governor said.