Rivers State Governor and recently re-elected Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has declared that the people’s votes must count in the choice of who becomes governor of the state in 2015.
Addressing an inter-party summit with the theme “Cohesive inter-party relations as a panacea for peace and sustainable development in Rivers State”, in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Tuesday, Governor Amaechi noted that any government which could not attribute its victory to the people’s votes would not be responsible to the people.
He said government at all levels become transparent and accountable only when they fear they could be voted out for poor performance.
Amaechi said: “Indeed, it is only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the guts to suspend a governor without a reason. I leave them to God and to you (the people).... We must come together to defend Rivers State. It’s not about me, I have served eight years as Speaker, nearly six years as Governor. Even if I am removed tomorrow, I am satisfied that this state, this country and history will recognize and remember me."
“If there is no history that I have made, the one God has helped me to make is the one that I stood out and fought for my right and became a governor. You voted on my behalf and the Supreme Court confirmed that when you people were voting, you were voting for me. But you also need to make your own history and that history is that let Abuja know that you can stand for your right, whether you belong to PDP or APC or any other party."
“If you listen to me yesterday (Monday) when I was addressing Rivers youths, I told them ‘all those from 18 and above should please get up’ and they got up. I asked them to sit down, they did and I asked again, ‘all those that have voters’ card should please get up’ and a lot of them did and I said we shall punish irresponsible politicians with our cards. So what I expect from all of you whether you belong to APC, CPC, where ever you belong to, start now to mobilize the state for one man, one vote. We will not allow them intimidate us with police or anything. Instead, we shall intimidate them with our votes”, Amaechi said.
Again, he said: “Any government formed without the people’s votes cannot be responsible to the people. The only way government or governors or presidents or whoever can stop corruption, can stop mal-administration is when that government is put in place by you (the people) and they know that if they don’t govern well, you (the people) will vote them out. So your first demand should be that all governments must be responsible enough to allow for a free and fair election”.
Keynote Speaker and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Magnus Abe urged politicians in the state to preserve and not destroy Rivers State by their actions.
He lamented the lack of participatory democracy among political parties and the sole desire by parties to acquire and retain political power for selfish interests.
Abe said, “In Nigeria, the evolution of our party politics has been less than satisfactory. I say this because our country today is deeply divided along ethnic, religious and cultural lines. The main challenge facing our country has been the development of national political parties that will promote issue and idea-based contest for power. In other words, the contest for power will be a contest of ideas. The parties in Nigeria have evolved into vehicles strictly for the acquisition and retention of political power. In this evolution, our political parties have lost one of the key attributes of participatory democracy, that leadership should be a contest not of persons but of ideas”.
On his part, the chairman of the occasion and retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Karibi Whyte, urged political parties to believe and mean well for the country they serve.
He tasked politicians to uphold the truth and justify and accept fairness: “I believe truth must be upheld, fairness must be justified and accepted and those who think that it is enough to conspire against truth have to be exposed”.
He advised political office holders to be patriotic and work for the common good of the people who voted them to power: “We are talking about governor, the office of the governor. We admire the governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi because of his performance. We follow him because of his performance, we’ll do everything to ensure that he succeeds and the institution still carries on”.
He criticized those plotting against the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, calling them conspirators with a destructive motive: “the group which as all of us know, they are all conspirators. The conspiracy runs foul when it is directed towards a wrong motive. When it is a conspiracy which is destructive, which is oppressive and which makes it difficult for the common man to admire what is going on, then there is a foreboding of anarchy”.