The Presidency received a massive shock as blow when the news filtered into the airwaves that Governor Rotimi Amaechi had opened a separate secretariat for the breakaway Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday, which he is seen as an arrowhead.
The plan to open the secretariat was a well concealed arrangement known only to trusted members of the governor’s water-tight kitchen cabinet and they kept it in wraps from the prying eyes of the federal security network and even the news-hounds until the D-day.
While Amaechi was busy at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa receiving President Goodluck Jonathan who was on the way for a one day official assignment to his home state of Bayelsa, the governor’s foot soldiers had put the home front in readiness to take the country by storm. And they did.
It was gathered that no sooner had the President’s chopper touched down at the Government House helipad in Yenagoa, than the Chief of Staff to Amaechi, Chief Tony Okocha declared the government’s willingness to “declare the secretariat for the New PDP open,” in keeping to a directive from the “national leadership” of the party.
Right under the nose of the Old GRA Police Station directly opposite the secretariat, police were also beaten to the game and it could only take the intervention of the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), to race down to the venue and intercept the flag hoisting of an event that did not take quite 30 minutes.
“This is illegality. We cannot allow anybody to carry out an act of illegality by hoisting flags anywhere in this state,” Sam Okaula, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the SCID hollered.
But, a credible source told Sunday independent that while the event lasted, the State Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu was away to United States for an undisclosed visit. Another senior police officer in the state said the action was the height of mischief on the part of Amaechi. “What was going on in his mind when he receiving Mr. President at the airport? With one hand the governor was receiving the President and with the other he was plotting against him,” the officer told Sunday Independent.
Also in the President’s home state of Bayelsa, loyalists to the immediate past governor, Chief Timipre Silva, led by his former Security Adviser, Chief Richard Kpodor, dared any security consequence to open a parallel office of the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led breakaway PDP. Sylva will ever live to “hate” Jonathan for “disgracing” him out of office and brought a man (Seriake Dickson) whom he indicted of misappropriating N150 million Law library books project, as governor.
Meanwhile, a Niger Delta activist, Ann-Kio Briggs said the present crisis rocking the ruling PDP which led to the formation of a parallel executive of the party is a calculated step to hinder President Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015.
“The gang up in PDP is not against President Jonathan, it is about South South and other geo-political zones in Nigeria that mandated Jonathan to become President . If we recall what happened when Jonathan became acting President to the time (Umaru Musa) Yar’Adua died, we see the desire by those that want to control the resources of the South and those that are now branding a purported second term agreement are all packaged to distract and make Jonathan look as if he is not ready to govern Nigeria.
“The implosion in PDP is targeted at distracting Jonathan from carrying out his transformational agenda which has impacted positively on Nigerians. They have succeeded in distracting Jonathan temporarily. Nigeria does not need these distractions.”
She called on those opposed to President Jonathan to come out with a better alternative on how to move Nigeria forward other than engaging in activities that are capable of breaking up the country.
Briggs spoke on a day the Rivers’ Peoples Forum (RPF), the leading socio-political organisation of all Rivers people both at home and in Diaspora said the Presidency is responsible for the many political travails of Amaechi and that the Presidency will be held responsible if any harm befalls the governor.
In a statement signed by its President, Charles Bekwele, the Forum also described as shameful and a big insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians, the comments of the Bamanga Tukur-led faction of the party on the incident.
“This current attack on the office and person of the governor of Rivers State is one attack too many. They have grounded the official plane of the Rivers State Government. They have withdrawn some of Amaechi security aides, thereby exposing the Governor to harm and danger. And all these are being orchestrated by certain interests within the Presidency. The Presidency has been consistent in its harassment, intimidation and attack of Governor Amaechi. They are doing this because of 2015. They believe Amaechi won’t support President Jonathan 2015 election.”