Tag Archives: Amaechi Rotimi

Prince Tonye Princewill breaks his silence on Amaechi and Jonathan’s Political Entanglement By Nwaorgu Faustinus Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill is a member of the PDP and a key player in the politics of Rivers State. After a long period of silence, the young man who quite easily has one of the most respected voices in not only Rivers state but the Niger Delta Spoke on his relationship with president Jonathan and Amaechi, his view on the battle between them, the 2015 governorship race and a plethora of other issues that affect our region. Excerpts You’ve been silent for a while. Why? Sometimes in life we need to listen more than we talk. As you rightly observed, I have been doing a lot more listening lately. My political career is just beginning and so I have a lot to learn. I have seen a lot of mistakes that I Tonye Princewill cannot afford to make. And it is only by watching the people dancing in the town square that I have been able to see their backs. I have resisted the temptation to join them because neither side are short of sycophants. There are no vacancies in that department. And since I am not a sycophant, I want to continue look either of them in the eye and tell them the truth. And what is this truth? None of them are saints. All of us are sinners. So we all need peace. I am an advocate for peace, but in the meantime I am taking a lesson in how not to play politics. What is your position on the Amaechi /Jonathan saga? Whose side are you on? I am not taking sides. If all of us take sides, who will work for peace? There is still plenty of time to make peace between now and 2015 so allow me to preach my peace and avoid trying to make me a warrior. When the time to fight comes, if it does, we will see who the true warriors are. 2007 is still fresh in our memories. I laugh at those people who are looking for Amaechi or Mr President to make them Governor or Minister or LGA chairmen and whatever. Their hope is that their side will win and that since in PDP politics it is the winner who takes all, they will decide who gets what, where and when. This time they will be in for a big shock. Neither of them alone will produce the next Governor. God will do that and he will use people who do not have big names, so blind loyalty which hides the truth is a recipe for disaster. Count me out of that. They must work together. They have both made mistakes and are still making them. My responsibility as a son of the soil is to tell them the truth and find a way out of the mess. Since I am fortunate enough to have their ear, I tell them what they don’t want to hear. I blame my friend and brother Amaechi for this mess but where Amaechi erred, the President should have called him aside and told him so and as an older brother he should have forgiven him. Do you know what Amaechi has done for this President when nobody gave him any notice? And on the other side, do we know what Wike has done for this Governor? They have all at one time or the other conspired against me and many others. Now they want me to fight their war? I won’t. They should go and settle or else, God will settle them. In 2008, Amaechi and Wike conspired against me for the Local government elections, the LGA structure we see today was “engineered” into place by these same people fighting each other today. In 2011, Amaechi refused to work with Atiku but went to work for Goodluck against my friendly advice. When he won and Jonathan won, did they look in my direction? Please let me have peace. Amaechi won the Governor’s forum election, intimidating him is unnecessary and counter productive even if he is not totally innocent. The sacking of the Obio Akpor council was wrong as was the refusal to recognise the Felix Obuah led PDP in the state. What goes around comes around. I have told Amaechi this. What happened when a parallel PDP was formed in Rivers state? To be fair, both Amaechi and Atiku have listened to me when I have given advice. They were both ready to work with Jonathan even when it appeared that he was not willing to work with them. At first when I sat with the President, he acknowledged the need to build bridges with them. I can only think that there are people around him who saw advice like mine through a jaundiced lense and proceeded to act counter to it. Go to the streets of Port Harcourt and ask people. They will say Amaechi and Tonye are twins. How? Why? Go today and ask people they will say Atiku is my father. I will follow him to the grave. How? Why? My loyalty is to the people. The poorer they are, the more loyal I am. What will benefit them is what I will advocate for. In 2011, I advocated Atiku. For now, we watch but I refuse to fight Jonathan so Sule Lamido can be my President. Is Lamido a better option for my people? Currently peace between these children of God (Amaechi and Mr President) is what will benefit my people. I will work for peace. Not take sides and call one side a saint and the other side a sinner. People don’t like to look well before they talk. I do. Man no be God is what I will say. 2015 is not by power, it is by faith. The child that does not want his mother to sleep will not sleep either. We abused Obasanjo, God gave us Yaradua, we cried and lamented, he died on us and along came Jonathan. Some of us including those who voted for him only two years ago are abusing him too. Ask yourselves, who next? Sule Lamido? No way. Our leaders should quickly move away from the current politics towards the politics of persuasion before they make enemies out of potential friends. Re 2015, Amaechi is not Mr President’s problem or vice versa. Fighting each other will not work. Nobody should underestimate anybody. Even Atiku. If you can’t even attempt to win my vote by simple persuasion, how can you lead me? Are you going to run in 2015? Yes. It appears I will. Things have to be done right but it appears that all I need, to do what has to be done, is either in place or will be. Initially I was concerned about the moral and financial support but that is no longer a concern for me. The next step is to consult more widely, identify real leaders old and new and engage our youth even more. Unless they are central to what I am doing, I will not succeed. People who know me know that I have a passion for youths and women, especially rural women. Orphans and disabled people will also enjoy my government too but my focus will be JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. That affects every household. If Ikwerre and Ogonis have the population, how will you win? That is the same question my Governor asked me on January 6th, 2012. “By the hand of God” is my answer. It will take a miracle for me to win and that is why I have to contest. Rivers state needs a miracle. I expect Ogonis and Ikwerres will not look at me just as a Kalabari man but more as a people’s man just the same way I look at all of us as Rivers people. We need people who can bring us together not pull us apart. Just the other day, I heard someone say that I will make history as the first Kalabari Governor. I said to the person while that may be true, I prefer to make history because of where I will take Rivers state and not because of where I come from within it. To win we must reach out to all, majorities and minorities. In the end we must bring out our best. Many people will agree that they have had sons and daughters representing them before now and yet crises and poverty have not gone away, it has even increased. So Rivers people know who cares about them even when there is no election and who opens their door when there is nothing to gain. They will not forget. They know who has the ideas and who represents change you can trust because they know the Prince will and that the Prince means well. I don’t have the political baggage of the others, I have no cult affiliations and have never had I have done all I have done from my own pocket without even a political office. They know what I will do if I do attain more. My message to my Kalabari brothers and sisters is that they should talk to their neighbours and make them see what they see. Politics should be about persuasion not power. Numbers are irrelevant in the eyes of God, otherwise Odili would never have been Governor. Our upland brothers know fairness when they see it but if you try to dictate fairness its name changes to intimidation and nobody will be intimidated in 2015. The state belongs to all of us. You have been outside PH quite a lot, is that how you will rule Rivers state? No. Like I said it is deliberate. Since you have asked so bluntly let me open up to you. 95% of my income does not come from Rivers state. Amaechi my friend knows that I do not disturb him for money and that I go about my business irrespective of what is going on. Schools and hospitals were given to political friends and enemies to execute all over the state, he didn’t give me any, refused to give my political allies and in the end all I had to boast of was the single contract I did in 2007 finished in 2008 and didn’t get paid for till 2011. This contract was given to all governorship candidates in 2007 that decided to work with Amaechi at the time even though I probably spent more on the 2007 election than all of them put together. I am a net looser so far in this government and I doubt anyone in my position has brought more into this state and taken less out. That comes with its consequences. But I am not bitter. My time will come. To keep afloat I have to keep my businesses afloat and since many of them are outside the state, I have to be outside the state. Also and more importantly, I wanted to improve my relationship with God and so I took time out to fellowship with him and get to know him one on one. This has involved a rigorous fasting and prayer routine which sometimes made me think I was going to die but now I am stronger than I have ever been and physically much more fit. So my reason for my absence is not as a habit but for a purpose. It has also shown me who can survive without me and yet still stay focused. So all in all it has been a revelation. What of the political structure needed to win elections? Only a greedy man wants to rely on himself alone for victory maybe because he wants to chop alone. I cannot do this alone. Government is big. I can only occupy one position so we need a team. My job is to find that team. The structure that will win the election will respect local interests, community interests and state dynamics. Let us not sit down in one place and write a new story for each community where one already exists. My job is not to build a structure from scratch but to bring together other structures into one big one. Political structures, religious bodies, youth groups, women groups, the disabled, market women, unemployed graduates, community organisations, etc. I will lead but I cannot do it alone. A leader needs generals and that is what I am busy looking for now. Politics is too important to be left to politicians alone. Our structure will make politicians of non politicians. It is never too late to learn something new. I entered politics in 2006 and ran for Governor in 2007. What structure did I use to defeat Sgt Awuse and shake PDP? What structure did Fashola use to win Lagos and what structure did Goodluck Jonathan use to win the Presidency? God gives structures. Has Jonathan done well? Yes. In certain areas he has, but in certain areas he needs a lot more work. I think as far as recent Presidents go, he is better than both Yar Adua and Obasanjo and IBB and Abacha but for this time, this is not good enough. He can do better. Especially in the politics. Where we are today could have been avoided. I wouldn’t want to say more than that for now. The President knows my views on this. Judgement will come at the end of the tenure so he still has his destiny in his hands. Has Amaechi done well? Same difference. He is the best since Diete Spiff without a doubt in my mind but he has not done well in some areas. Especially in the politics. Before the political space became heated I felt he was drifting a little but now it is clear to me that governance has been sacrificed at the altar of politics. This is typical politics and so I predicted it. It could have been avoided but the Governor was the Chairman of the forum and that tied his hands. If he hadn’t been, maybe we wouldn’t be here today. But he is so here we are. Let us see what happens before full time. This is only the beginning of the second half and just like the President, Amaechi is a child of God so anything can happen. What do you think of Wike? I think he is the best politician amongst them. He is less interested in what you think about him and more interested in getting results. He is an asset to any team and right now the President is using it to his advantage just as Amaechi has used it to his benefit in the past. He has served others in the past and may harbour ambitions for others to serve him in the future. You can’t deny him that. My job is to make sure that when the dust settles, we are not fighting each other. Wike is somebody I will not fight unless I have to. I begged the Governor to settle with him when this first started but I do not believe that he exhausted the options for peace. Maybe he felt that there was no point. I disagree. Tell us about PDM PDM is the mother of PDP and to cut a long story short because I know where you are going, it decided recently at a meeting of its national executive management committee to move away from remaining a movement to becoming a party. For two main reasons. 1. PDP was drifting and needed to be reminded that people had options and 2. We heard that some unscrupulous elements were planning to do likewise and register the party so we the custodians decided to beat them to it. Even though we have given PDM life, some of us have remained inside the PDP because becoming a political party in Nigeria is not going to be business as usual just because you have a certificate. it needs to have a clearly defined position on major issues, tell Nigerians how it will be different and show the youths how much better it is than PDP or APC. Also I believe that it should concentrate on grassroots politics for now and remove its eyes from a Presidential election till 2019. It can fight for elections at state and local levels but support any of the other two at Presidential level if they set a people’s agenda PDM can subscribe to. These are the tasks and considerations before the new leadership of the PDM. We await their final position but I remain inclined to a PDM/PDP alliance than a PDM/APC one. But you never know. Registration has commenced online at www.pdm.ng . The first political party in Nigeria to do so exactly one month after INEC registered it. Amazing. Manual registration commences shortly. No more hoarding of party cards as is currently the case. PDP and others need to take note. If you become Governor, what will you do different? I will never underestimate anybody, I will find peace wherever it hides for the sake of my people’s development and I will learn from others who came before me. Odili, Omehia and Amaechi have a lot to teach me about what not to do and I will be willing to lean a lot from their examples

28 Sep

By Nwaorgu  Faustinus 
ImagePrince Tonye T.J.T Princewill is a member of the PDP and a key player 
in the politics of Rivers State. After a long period of silence, the 
young man who quite easily has one of the most respected voices in not 
only Rivers state but the Niger Delta Spoke on his relationship with 
president Jonathan and Amaechi, his view on the battle between them, 
the 2015 governorship race and a plethora of other issues that affect 
our region. Excerpts 
 
You’ve been silent for a while. Why? 
 
Sometimes in life we need to listen more than we talk. As you rightly 
observed, I have been doing a lot more listening lately. My political 
career is just beginning and so I have a lot to learn. I have seen a 
lot of mistakes that I Tonye Princewill cannot afford to make. And it 
is only by watching the people dancing in the town square that I have 
been able to see their backs. I have resisted the temptation to join 
them because neither side are short of sycophants. There are no 
vacancies in that department. And since I am not a sycophant, I want 
to continue look either of them in the eye and tell them the truth. 
And what is this truth? None of them are saints. All of us are 
sinners. So we all need peace. I am an advocate for peace, but in the 
meantime I am taking a lesson in how not to play politics. 
 
What is your position on the Amaechi /Jonathan saga? Whose side are you on? 
 
I am not taking sides. If all of us take sides, who will work for 
peace? There is still plenty of time to make peace between now and 
2015 so allow me to preach my peace and avoid trying to make me a 
warrior. When the time to fight comes, if it does, we will see who the 
true warriors are. 2007 is still fresh in our memories. I laugh at 
those people who are looking for Amaechi or Mr President to make them 
Governor or Minister or LGA chairmen and whatever. Their hope is that 
their side will win and that since in PDP politics it is the winner 
who takes all, they will decide who gets what, where and when. This 
time they will be in for a big shock. Neither of them alone will 
produce the next Governor. God will do that and he will use people who 
do not have big names, so blind loyalty which hides the truth is a 
recipe for disaster. Count me out of that. They must work together. 
 
They have both made mistakes and are still making them. My 
responsibility as a son of the soil is to tell them the truth and find 
a way out of the mess. Since I am fortunate enough to have their ear, 
I tell them what they don’t want to hear. I blame my friend and 
brother Amaechi for this mess but where Amaechi erred, the President 
should have called him aside and told him so and as an older brother 
he should have forgiven him. Do you know what Amaechi has done for 
this President when nobody gave him any notice? And on the other side, 
do we know what Wike has done for this Governor? They have all at one 
time or the other conspired against me and many others. Now they want 
me to fight their war? I won’t. They should go and settle or else, God 
will settle them. 
 
In 2008, Amaechi and Wike conspired against me for the Local 
government elections, the LGA structure we see today was “engineered” 
into place by these same people fighting each other today. In 2011, 
Amaechi refused to work with Atiku but went to work for Goodluck 
against my friendly advice. When he won and Jonathan won, did they 
look in my direction? Please let me have peace. Amaechi won the 
Governor’s forum election, intimidating him is unnecessary and counter 
productive even if he is not totally innocent. The sacking of the Obio 
Akpor council was wrong as was the refusal to recognise the Felix 
Obuah led PDP in the state. What goes around comes around. I have told 
Amaechi this. What happened when a parallel PDP was formed in Rivers 
state? 
 
To be fair, both Amaechi and Atiku have listened to me when I have 
given advice. They were both ready to work with Jonathan even when it 
appeared that he was not willing to work with them. At first when I 
sat with the President, he acknowledged the need to build bridges with 
them. I can only think that there are people around him who saw advice 
like mine through a jaundiced lense and proceeded to act counter to 
it. Go to the streets of Port Harcourt and ask people. They will say 
Amaechi and Tonye are twins. How? Why? Go today and ask people they 
will say Atiku is my father. I will follow him to the grave. How? Why? 
My loyalty is to the people. The poorer they are, the more loyal I am. 
What will benefit them is what I will advocate for. 
 
In 2011, I advocated Atiku. For now, we watch but I refuse to fight 
Jonathan so Sule Lamido can be my President. Is Lamido a better option 
for my people? Currently peace between these children of God (Amaechi 
and Mr President) is what will benefit my people. I will work for 
peace. Not take sides and call one side a saint and the other side a 
sinner. People don’t like to look well before they talk. I do. Man no 
be God is what I will say. 2015 is not by power, it is by faith. The 
child that does not want his mother to sleep will not sleep either. We 
abused Obasanjo, God gave us Yaradua, we cried and lamented, he died 
on us and along came Jonathan. Some of us including those who voted 
for him only two years ago are abusing him too. Ask yourselves, who 
next? Sule Lamido? No way. 
 
Our leaders should quickly move away from the current politics towards 
the politics of persuasion before they make enemies out of potential 
friends. Re 2015, Amaechi is not Mr President’s problem or vice versa. 
Fighting each other will not work. Nobody should underestimate 
anybody. Even Atiku. If you can’t even attempt to win my vote by 
simple persuasion, how can you lead me? 
 
Are you going to run in 2015? 
 
Yes. It appears I will. Things have to be done right but it appears 
that all I need, to do what has to be done, is either in place or will 
be. Initially I was concerned about the moral and financial support 
but that is no longer a concern for me. The next step is to consult 
more widely, identify real leaders old and new and engage our youth 
even more. Unless they are central to what I am doing, I will not 
succeed. People who know me know that I have a passion for youths and 
women, especially rural women. Orphans and disabled people will also 
enjoy my government too but my focus will be JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. That 
affects every household. 
 
If Ikwerre and Ogonis have the population, how will you win? 
 
That is the same question my Governor asked me on January 6th, 2012. 
“By the hand of God” is my answer. It will take a miracle for me to 
win and that is why I have to contest. Rivers state needs a miracle. I 
expect Ogonis and Ikwerres will not look at me just as a Kalabari man 
but more as a people’s man just the same way I look at all of us as 
Rivers people. We need people who can bring us together not pull us 
apart. Just the other day, I heard someone say that I will make 
history as the first Kalabari Governor. I said to the person while 
that may be true, I prefer to make history because of where I will 
take Rivers state and not because of where I come from within it. 
 
To win we must reach out to all, majorities and minorities. In the end 
we must bring out our best. Many people will agree that they have had 
sons and daughters representing them before now and yet crises and 
poverty have not gone away, it has even increased. So Rivers people 
know who cares about them even when there is no election and who opens 
their door when there is nothing to gain. They will not forget. They 
know who has the ideas and who represents change you can trust because 
they know the Prince will and that the Prince means well. I don’t have 
the political baggage of the others, I have no cult affiliations and 
have never had I have done all I have done from my own pocket without 
even a political office. They know what I will do if I do attain more. 
 
My message to my Kalabari brothers and sisters is that they should 
talk to their neighbours and make them see what they see. Politics 
should be about persuasion not power. Numbers are irrelevant in the 
eyes of God, otherwise Odili would never have been Governor. Our 
upland brothers know fairness when they see it but if you try to 
dictate fairness its name changes to intimidation and nobody will be 
intimidated in 2015. The state belongs to all of us. 
 
You have been outside PH quite a lot, is that how you will rule Rivers state? 
 
No. Like I said it is deliberate. Since you have asked so bluntly let 
me open up to you. 95% of my income does not come from Rivers state. 
Amaechi my friend knows that I do not disturb him for money and that I 
go about my business irrespective of what is going on. Schools and 
hospitals were given to political friends and enemies to execute all 
over the state, he didn’t give me any, refused to give my political 
allies and in the end all I had to boast of was the single contract I 
did in 2007 finished in 2008 and didn’t get paid for till 2011. This 
contract was given to all governorship candidates in 2007 that decided 
to work with Amaechi at the time even though I probably spent more on 
the 2007 election than all of them put together. I am a net looser so 
far in this government and I doubt anyone in my position has brought 
more into this state and taken less out. That comes with its 
consequences. But I am not bitter. My time will come. To keep afloat I 
have to keep my businesses afloat and since many of them are outside 
the state, I have to be outside the state. 
 
Also and more importantly, I wanted to improve my relationship with 
God and so I took time out to fellowship with him and get to know him 
one on one. This has involved a rigorous fasting and prayer routine 
which sometimes made me think I was going to die but now I am stronger 
than I have ever been and physically much more fit. So my reason for 
my absence is not as a habit but for a purpose. It has also shown me 
who can survive without me and yet still stay focused. So all in all 
it has been a revelation. 
 
What of the political structure needed to win elections? 
 
Only a greedy man wants to rely on himself alone for victory maybe 
because he wants to chop alone. I cannot do this alone. Government is 
big. I can only occupy one position so we need a team. My job is to 
find that team. The structure that will win the election will respect 
local interests, community interests and state dynamics. Let us not 
sit down in one place and write a new story for each community where 
one already exists. My job is not to build a structure from scratch 
but to bring together other structures into one big one. Political 
structures, religious bodies, youth groups, women groups, the 
disabled, market women, unemployed graduates, community organisations, 
etc. I will lead but I cannot do it alone. A leader needs generals and 
that is what I am busy looking for now. Politics is too important to 
be left to politicians alone. Our structure will make politicians of 
non politicians. It is never too late to learn something new. I 
entered politics in 2006 and ran for Governor in 2007. What structure 
did I use to defeat Sgt Awuse and shake PDP? What structure did 
Fashola use to win Lagos and what structure did Goodluck Jonathan use 
to win the Presidency? God gives structures. 
 
Has Jonathan done well? 
 
Yes. In certain areas he has, but in certain areas he needs a lot more 
work. I think as far as recent Presidents go, he is better than both 
Yar Adua and Obasanjo and IBB and Abacha but for this time, this is 
not good enough. He can do better. Especially in the politics. Where 
we are today could have been avoided. I wouldn’t want to say more than 
that for now. The President knows my views on this. Judgement will 
come at the end of the tenure so he still has his destiny in his 
hands. 
 
Has Amaechi done well? 
 
Same difference. He is the best since Diete Spiff without a doubt in 
my mind but he has not done well in some areas. Especially in the 
politics. Before the political space became heated I felt he was 
drifting a little but now it is clear to me that governance has been 
sacrificed at the altar of politics. This is typical politics and so I 
predicted it. It could have been avoided but the Governor was the 
Chairman of the forum and that tied his hands. If he hadn’t been, 
maybe we wouldn’t be here today. But he is so here we are. Let us see 
what happens before full time. This is only the beginning of the 
second half and just like the President, Amaechi is a child of God so 
anything can happen. 
 
What do you think of Wike? 
 
I think he is the best politician amongst them. He is less interested 
in what you think about him and more interested in getting results. He 
is an asset to any team and right now the President is using it to his 
advantage just as Amaechi has used it to his benefit in the past. He 
has served others in the past and may harbour ambitions for others to 
serve him in the future. You can’t deny him that. My job is to make 
sure that when the dust settles, we are not fighting each other. Wike 
is somebody I will not fight unless I have to. I begged the Governor 
to settle with him when this first started but I do not believe that 
he exhausted the options for peace. Maybe he felt that there was no 
point. I disagree. 
 
Tell us about PDM 
 
PDM is the mother of PDP and to cut a long story short because I know 
where you are going, it decided recently at a meeting of its national 
executive management committee to move away from remaining a movement 
to becoming a party. For two main reasons. 1. PDP was drifting and 
needed to be reminded that people had options and 2. We heard that 
some unscrupulous elements were planning to do likewise and register 
the party so we the custodians decided to beat them to it. 
 
Even though we have given PDM life, some of us have remained inside 
the PDP because becoming a political party in Nigeria is not going to 
be business as usual just because you have a certificate. it needs to 
have a clearly defined position on major issues, tell Nigerians how it 
will be different and show the youths how much better it is than PDP 
or APC. Also I believe that it should concentrate on grassroots 
politics for now and remove its eyes from a Presidential election till 
2019. It can fight for elections at state and local levels but support 
any of the other two at Presidential level if they set a people’s 
agenda PDM can subscribe to. These are the tasks and considerations 
before the new leadership of the PDM. 
 
We await their final position but I remain inclined to a PDM/PDP 
alliance than a PDM/APC one. But you never know. Registration has 
commenced online at www.pdm.ng . The first political party in Nigeria 
to do so exactly one month after INEC registered it. Amazing. Manual 
registration commences shortly. No more hoarding of party cards as is 
currently the case. PDP and others need to take note. 
 
If you become Governor, what will you do different? 
I will never underestimate anybody, I will find peace wherever it 
hides for the sake of my people’s development and I will learn from 
others who came before me. Odili, Omehia and Amaechi have a lot to 
teach me about what not to do and I will be willing to lean a lot from their examples
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Yes, Patience Jonathan is my Jesus Christ – Bipi

15 Sep

 

 
BY CHUKWUDI AKASIKE 
Mr. Evans Bipi

Mr. Evans BipiImageMr. Evans Bipi is the member representing Ogu Bolo State Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly. In this interview with CHUKWUDI AKASIKE, he speaks on his role in the crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Some people have described Rivers State House of Assembly as animal kingdom, how do you feel about this, especially as a principal actor in the whole crisis rocking the Assembly?

I feel bad and I really feel sad, but this is a nation where the Press has freedom of speech. It is a democratic setting. Based on the past incident, one can call it animal kingdom, but it is not. We are there to correct all the anomalies. Whatever that is not good is not good. We are there to point out to the governor that this is not good, this is good, do this, don’t do this so that we can form a good government.

Why did you instigate a fight in the House of Assembly? 

How? Where are the video clips that showed that I was the person that instigated the fight? Where are the clips? They have nothing to hold; they are drowning. They are looking for a way to drag everybody into the matter. Right now, they have nothing to hold. We are in a democracy where we are allowed to impeach anybody when there is an impeachable offence. At my level, how would I go and start a fight. It is only somebody who is about to fall that will want to react.

Have you ever been trained in the art of boxing, karate, or wrestling?

No! We are all human beings and we can be doing one form of exercise or the other. I am not into karate or taekwondo. It is not possible.

Why do you call the President’s wife mummy? Are you in any way related to her?

Have you forgotten that she is from Okrika?  So, whoever attains the position of the First Lady, what would you call the person? You call her mummy. She is the mother of the nation and she is the mouthpiece of Okrika people. She is the mother of Okrika people. So, every Okrika person calls her mummy.

But you are from Ogu Bolo. Is Ogu Bolo near Okrika, why she hails from?

Ogu Bolo is Okrika. They are all Okrika people. It is like Ikwerre and Obio/Akpor; they are all Ikwerre. It is only the local government areas that split them. So, as an Okrika woman, who has risen up to that position, everybody calls her mummy.

Is that why you also call her your Jesus Christ on earth? What is her role in your life?

People are misinterpreting this Jesus Christ on earth. Let me say this. Man is God to man; it is in the Bible. You must not see God; you will see God through somebody. God said, see me through Jesus Christ. That is why we are seeing God through Jesus Christ. This woman (Patience Jonathan) is everything in my life. She made me what I am today.

Are you talking about politics?

Politically and otherwise; I can say it anywhere. I can say she is my Jesus Christ because she has made me who I am today. That is the truth and I can defend that anywhere. Babangida’s wife was from Delta State. Her people called her mummy. Yar’Adua’s wife is from Katsina, all the people from Katsina call her mummy. Even Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s wife, the people call her mummy. When a woman attains such level, everybody calls her mummy. It is a form of respect to her. But to me, my mummy (Patience Jonathan) is  special because she brought me up to this level.

What made you think that five members can impeach the Speaker out of 32 members of the House of Assembly?

Point of correction, we were not five. I have told you this before. Five members cannot impeach the Speaker and five cannot impeach the governor. Why is Amaechi afraid and going to court to stop us from impeaching him? If we were five, Amaechi wouldn’t have gone to court. He (Amaechi) knew that we were not five because he could no longer trust the people he perceived to be his supporters. Again, there was no time we thought of impeaching Amaechi. If he thought we wanted to impeach him, which means he had come to know that there was an impeachment or he has come to understand that there is a new Speaker and the recognition stands. But there has never been any plan to impeach him, but rather I am ready to work with him. It is not true. You can’t even dare going to discuss with President Jonathan that you want to impeach Amaechi because he (Jonathan) is a man that does not want to hear such thing. He will not even allow you to end your discussion. He is a peaceful man.

You were seen in a video clip almost snatching an AK 45 rifle from a policeman, what did you want to do with the rifle?

What happened was that after Chidi Lloyd used the mace to hit my colleague, he ran away, then the governor came, supervised the beating of my colleague. So, I was running after him (Rotimi Amaechi). That policeman now used the gun to hit me. Take a look at my hand. So I dragged the rifle in anger. I don’t know how to shoot. I was only trying to ask him why he used the gun to hit me. I was only trying to let him know that what he did was bad. Why did he stop me from going after the governor? I was going to meet the governor to tell him that coming to the House to supervise the beating of my colleague was not good.

How do you feel when some people call you impersonator?

I feel very sad that they call me impersonator. But those who say I am impersonating, they are not also sitting, I am not also sitting. If I am impersonating, then you should go and sit, let the whole Rivers people see if they will not stone and drive them out. The beauty of it is that they are not sitting, I am not also sitting. I am waiting for the National Assembly to decide since they said they had taken over. They have three months and this will soon elapse. Because we are not sitting, Amaechi has gone to extend the tenure of Obio/Akpor Caretaker Committee, which is our own duty, my own duty as the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly. I have said it is illegal. He (Amaechi) does not know what he is doing. If you say the National Assembly has taken over, you wait and let the National Assembly extend the tenure of the caretaker committee. He should have waited for the National Assembly to come and not extending the tenure of the caretaker committee himself.

Some people see you as a thug and cultist. How do you feel about this?

Well, that is always the case, when you react to something, they call you names, when you fold your hands, they call you woman. That is what some people call Jonathan then. When you react, they will say that you are a military man. Just because I reacted, they say I am a thug, I am a cultist. Well. God knows. All those around me know that I am not a thug, I am not a cultist. I came from a Christian family and I am an Anglican. There is no way I will join cult, there is no way to be a thug. One day, the whole nation will know that I am not a thug. What they are portraying me to be because they have money is not what I am.

But we saw some thugs inside the chambers of the House the day the incident happened. They said that some were your supporters that you invited into the chambers of the House. How true is that?

That is a fallacy. They are not saying the truth to the world; it is another way of tarnishing my image or painting me black. If I have thugs, Chidi Lloyd would not have walked away. I did not invite any thug and I did not invite any cultists.

How do you feel as a lawmaker fighting on the floor of the House?

 If you look at the clips, I was not the one; it was Chidi Lloyd. After the impeachment, he reacted and tried to defend his position in the House because we impeached him alongside with Speaker. The impeachment angered him and made him (Lloyd) to hit Chinda with the mace. I was not there and I believe that after Chinda, the next person that would have been hit was me. I was only being alert. It (free-for-all) is part of democracy. It happened in the National Assembly, it happened in Kogi State, it happened in Lagos State; Rivers State is not an exception.

Is that why you used taxpayers’ money to fly Michael Chinda abroad over a fight that  had nothing to do with the welfare of the people of the state?

That is why we condemned the act of Chidi Lloyd as barbaric. For him to have used a mace on not just a fellow lawmaker, but his own brother; they are from the same community, it is barbaric and we condemn it.

Considering the incident in the House, would you warn your children against fighting?

Of course, I will definitely warn my children against fighting. But my children will not run away from a woman. There is no way a man will run away because of a woman. I will always tell them to defend themselves at any given time. But I will tell them not to fight. They should run away from trouble, run away from fighting, run away from anything crisis, demonstration, but they should not run away because of a woman.

How did you explain your role in the brawl that took place in the House of Assembly to your family?

Well, I told my wife and children that if not for God, that mace Chidi Lloyd used would have hit me. I was the target, but it was God that diverted his (Lloyd) attention to his own brother, Michael Chinda. So, my wife and children knelt down and thanked God for not making me to be  a victim. We prayed and my wife also thanked God for it. So, I guard against fighting. The truth is that fighting is not good, but always fight against injustice.

But some people would still insist that the fight was for personal gain and not for the people of Rivers.

The fight was for the people of Rivers. If I represent my constituency, M.O. Chinda represents a constituency, former Speaker represents a constituency. If what should be for my constituency is not given; the whole projects are not given, are my people not part of Rivers people? They are part of Rivers people and they are being denied their constituency project. They are being denied of their sons’ allowances and this is what I would have used to rehabilitate them. The allowances are for human empowerment. So, we were fighting for Rivers people.

You have continued to call Amachree a former speaker. Could you throw more light on why you describe him in that manner?

I earlier told you that Amachree was duly and respectfully impeached. I have the clerk of the House; I have the sergeant-at-arm. The sergeant-at-arm he (Amachree) used to present the supplementary budget is a fake one. We are even taking him to court for impersonation. I have been made the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, Amachree is not contesting it. He has not taken me to court. If he says I am impersonating, he should take me to court and let’s dig it out there. I will bring all the available papers around me. He is saying I am impersonating and I am an impostor, he should take me to court and let me prove that I am the Speaker. I have all the documents with me. I want to use this medium to warn Amachree not to be telling people that he is the Speaker. He should know that he has been impeached and he is no longer the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly. Anywhere he goes and answers Speaker, I will get him arrested and take him to court.

 What exactly are the issues you have against Amaechi?

I, for, one, do not have issues against Amaechi. I am only correcting Amaechi in certain areas he was going astray such as his interference in our legislative functions, using money in executing projects that were not budgeted for, taking loans without stating what the money was meant for, non-payment of allowances of honourable members; I am a victim. For some time now, my allowances have been seized. The allowances of those he (Amaechi) perceived to be his enemies have not been paid  for the past six months. Another point is the interference of his wife in our constituency projects. She (Amaechi’s wife) took my constituency project. My constituency project is ESI, which is Amaechi’s wife’s pet project.

Another issue is the refusal of the governor to accept the PDP executive officers in the state. He came to power through the court and the court also gave order for Felix Obuah to take over, but Amaechi did not accept it. The illegal removal of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council chairman is still an issue. There was no due process; there was no petition on the floor of the House. He conspired with the ‘former’ Speaker to remove the chairman, vice and 17 councillors of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and swore in a caretaker committee the same day. It is not done. Again, he (Amaechi) refused to explain the position of the aircraft owned by Rivers. There are many issues and I am only correcting him. So, I personally don’t have any issue with him.

Is it true that Governor Amaechi is arrogant?

He is arrogant and power drunk.

Some are saying that President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife are behind the crisis in Rivers State. How true is that?

That is a pure fallacy. If Jonathan’s hand is in Rivers crisis, the matter would have been resolved long ago. No matter how humble he is, if he has a hand in Rivers problem, by now, it would have been a thing of the past. But the President does not have a hand in this crisis. You can just imagine how a governor will come out to challenge a whole President. If the President has a hand in this matter, then it would have been a thing of the past. The President has refused to use half of the powers he has. Don’t forget that Rivers State is part of Niger Delta and that President Jonathan is not from Rivers State does not mean that he is not from the zone; he is from the zone, but he has taken it to be a family issue and he has said that Amaechi should go and settle with his people. Up till this moment, Jonathan is still looking for peace. So, he (President Jonathan) does not have a hand in the issue. Patience Jonathan also does not have a hand in the issue; count them out of it.

Are you saying it is possible to wish away the leadership influence of Governor Amaechi in key areas of Rivers State?

He (Amaechi) has no influence in the areas. From the Obio/Akpor issue, you would know that he has no influence. He dissolved Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, but up till now, the council remains sealed and the caretaker committee has not been able to function effectively. If he (Amaechi) has influence, Obio/Akpor could have been a practical example where he could show his influence. Even in Ogu Bolo, he has no influence.

The National Assembly has taken over the duties of the Rivers State legislature. What is your position on this?

The National Assembly resolved to take over the functions of the State House of Assembly. Fine, I am not in dispute with that because the constitution gave them the power to take over such areas where there are crises. But we are talking about the hasty nature in which they took over. The former ‘Speaker’ was impeached on the 9th, on the 10th of the same month, House of Reps took over. It is the Senate that played a mature role; a fatherly role by setting up a committee and the committee came, went from the airport to Government House, wined and dined with Amaechi, forgetting the lawmaker, Honourable Michael Chinda, who was in the hospital. They (members of the committee) came back to interview both parties involved in the crisis. They did a good work and it is a good thing. I pray they resolve the issue.

Who is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly?

Of course, you know that nobody is contesting it. Since it is not being contested in the court, I remain the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The former   Speaker was duly and respectably impeached. When he was impeached, the power of authority was before us, which is the mace. If there was no impeachment, why did the governor come all the way from Government House to the Rivers State House of Assembly? Is he a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly? Who did he come to the House to rescue? We were carrying out an impeachment process and when the impeachment had been done, he (governor) came in to supervise the beating of Michael Chinda; one of my colleagues. So, I remain the authentic Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly. I have not been taken to court. So, I remain the Speaker.

Apart from the five lawmakers in the opposition, who else voted to impeach Amachree?

That day, if you look at the register, we were about 23 on the floor of the House, though the governor and his people came and took away the register. Now, out of 23, about 21 voted for me. He (Amachree) was there, Chidi Lloyd was also there.

Do you have the video clip of members voting on the floor of the House?

Yes, I have the video clip of members voting. It is with me. I will get it for you anytime. Those he (Amachree) perceived to be his people are not his people. You know what happened during the Governors’ Forum election;  Governor Akpabio thought he had 19 persons to his side, but at the election proper, Amaechi got 19 and the reverse was the case. He (Amachree) perceived those people to be his people, but unknown to him,  they were also parleying with me. They had an understanding with me and they all voted for me. He was embarrassed and flabbergasted and with that fear, he rushed out to call Amaechi to come. When Amaechi came, I was giving my acceptance speech. Everybody can attest to it, the whole Nigeria can attest to it. I was giving my acceptance speech when Amaechi came in and he asked me; my friend, what are you doing there? And I told him; is this  your office?  Amachree has been impeached and I am ready to work with you. Some are saying I want to impeach him; I am not going to impeach him, I am ready to work with Governor Amaechi. He should accept me as his Speaker and I will work with him effectively.

 

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