The Rivers State Governor, Chubuike Amaechi, on Wednesday outlined the reasons that informed his defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying the state was not getting a fair deal from the Goodluck Jonathan-led federal administration.
statement he personally signed and titled “The nPDP APC Merger, My
Constraints,” Mr. Amaechi said the demand by the state that the federal
government should return oil wells belonging to it, but which were ceded
to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom States, had gone unheeded and had been
treated with levity under this Peoples Democratic Party-led
According to him, even after Rivers State got a
court judgement that the oil wells wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom should be
returned, only the dry ones were returned to it.
also said that there was absolutely no federal presence in Rivers State,
stressing that the federal government refused to reimburse the state
government the N103 billion it spent on fixing the federal roads despite
several representations and letter sent to it (federal government).
Mr. Amaechi also alleged that apart from actively discouraging
investments in Rivers State, the federal government treated the state
with levity in the area of federal appointments.
He also claimed
that internal party democracy had been sacrificed on the altar of
personal greed and injustice as the Rivers State chapter of the PDP was
being run by persons who neither collected forms nor indicated interest
in running for office while the legitimate holders of the office are
left in the cold.
Read his full statement addressed to Rivers residents below:
dear people of Rivers State, when by God’s grace and with your kindness
this administration took over the mantle of leadership on October 26,
2007, we made a promise to serve you “with humility and render
transparent and accountable stewardship anchored on integrity and good
governance.” We also promised to “use our God given resources to improve
the quality of life of our present and future generations.”
made this commitment to you, fully conscious of the fact that you were
hungry for service delivery and that you had placed on us a burden to
prove to the world that our beloved Rivers State had the potential to
rise above the murk and redefine governance and leadership in our
country. We understood your mandate very clearly and we remain resolute
in our determination to make you proud.
In keeping with our
pledge therefore to render transparent and accountable stewardship, it
has become necessary that we brief you about the recent happenings in
our state and my own position on the issues.
For me, no personal
interest or ambition can be higher than the welfare of a people that
gave me their mandate without conditions. While this crisis has raged,
many have asked me about what drives my insistence that the Federal
administration treats Rivers state justly and fairly. To these people I
say: I am driven by my original vision to bring health to the sick, to
extend opportunities for education to children of all classes, to bring
opportunities for employment to the doorsteps of our youth. I remain
stubborn in the hope that this state deserves the benefits of good
governance. My disagreement is with some negative forces that stand
against the entitlement of Rivers people to a better life.
an indisputable fact that I was elected on the platform of the People’s
Democratic Party–a conglomeration of several individuals with different
ideals but with a goal of edging out the military and ensuring a return
to democratic rule. No one was under any illusion that this would be an
easy task but that we have enjoyed an unprecedented 14 years of
uninterrupted civilian dispensation is a demonstration of how far we
have come in our democratic journey.
However, the vestiges of
military dictatorship have also remained with us, especially within the
context of managing our party but many of us kept faith. Even when the
unfortunate incident of an attempt to deprive us of our lawful mandate
occurred, we remained with the party urging our supporters to maintain
party loyalty and discipline. In the face of great provocation we
refused to rock the boat. Our hope was that even when we suffered
personal injury our collective interests as a state would remain
protected within the party we call our own.
events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective
interest as people of the South South and indeed as Rivers people. At
various times, as the one in whom you had gave your mandate, I had cause
to complain about the marginalization of our state and our people
despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our
unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP.
political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested,
we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.
A few instances may suffice:
Our demand that the federal government return oil wells belonging to
Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under
this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa,
Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil
wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom state and should be returned to
us, only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned. In
the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that
the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters
concerning it are resolved, the federal government continues to pay
neighbouring Bayelsa state the revenues meant for Rivers State in a
classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that
we have made several representations formally and informally on this
matter. Our chiefs and elders have attended several meetings and
protested this injustice to no avail. As your governor entrusted to keep
guard over your common wealth, we could not keep quiet and allow this
grave injustice. For this reason, we have been vilified, threatened and
blackmailed but we insist on discharging our responsibility to you, no
matter the odds.
2) A second instance is the total absence of
federal presence in Rivers State. The “national good governance tour”
provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its
presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, was evident that
there was not much to show for in a state that is the cash cow of the
federation. The East west road remains abandoned, work has been
deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third
busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it
have long been completed and commissioned. The Bonny-Bomu road that
leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains
uncompleted. In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to
fix federal roads to the tune of N103 billion. Several representations
and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid.
3) The federal
government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State. The
Minister of petroleum has refused to allow the commencement of train
seven of the NLNG that would have provided tens of thousands of jobs
insisting that investors should go and invest in the Brass NLNG project
rather than in the train seven project.
4) When boards and other
appointments are considered at the federal level, Rivers State is
treated with levity. Out of xxx councils of universities, no Rivers
person was found worthy of becoming a university council chairman.
Internal party democracy has been sacrificed on the altar of personal
greed and injustice as the Rivers State chapter of the PDP is being run
by persons who neither collected forms nor indicated interest in running
for office while the legitimate holders of the office are left in the
cold. Our several representations and pleas on this matter to the party
leadership at the highest levels have gone unheeded and unanswered. We
are left in a quandary and have been denied the appropriate support to
lead our party in line with acceptable democratic norms. The result of
this is that politicians with questionable antecedents now hijack the
PDP in Rivers State.
Given the foregoing, it has become clear to
us that we will be unable to achieve our goals and aspirations as a
people under the People’s Democratic Party as it is presently
constituted. Our quest for a democracy where the people would remain the
focus of government and governance is bound to suffer a stillbirth
under the present arrangement. We are Nigerians and people of the Niger
Delta, but we are also Rivers people and live in Rivers state. We are
concerned that our well-being is not central to the leadership of the
PDP. We do not find this satisfactory. We have therefore decided that it
is in our best interest that we move to a party that shares the hopes
and aspirations of our people and realizes and recognizes our right to
exist and be treated as equal partners in our democracy. We are not and
will not allow ourselves to be treated as a second rate poor cousin. We
are equal stakeholders and daresay major contributors to the common
It is this mindset that will inform our action in the
coming days. We will of course consult with all our stakeholders as we
try to fashion out a way forward for us and for our people. We are
convinced that as always you will trust our commitment to your mandate
and to your service.
Finally, let me re-affirm my commitment to
the emancipation of the long-suffering people of Niger Delta. I know
their pains because I have lived it and I live it everyday. But let me
also say that the pursuit of politics of self-interest at the expense of
development is not the best way of ensuring justice and equity for the
region. Drafting the police to cause confusion in Rivers State is not
more urgent than completing the East-West Road or bringing in
investments that will create jobs and prosperity for our people.
the good people of Rivers State, we are grateful for your trust and
will not treat it with levity. We promise you that as always, you will
be our primary concern and our priority.
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON
Governor, Rivers State