Monarch betrayed Rivers on oil well, says Amaechi

Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi yesterday slammed the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, the headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government, King Disrael Gbobo Bobmanuel, accusing him of betrayal over the Soku oil wells ceded to Bayelsa State.

He said if President Goodluck Jonathan returned the Soku oil wells and the 41 oil wells in Etche Local Government ceded to Abia State, to Rivers, he would support him, even as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Amaechi said he was sure the President would not return them.

The Rivers governor, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt as a guest on a phone-in programme, Today, on 95.1 FM Radio.

Soku oil wells are in Akuku-Toru Local Government, while Abonnema is one of the Kalabari communities, comprising Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru and Degema local governments.

Bobmanuel, a few days ago, hosted in his palace, Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, who was accompanied by the Supervising Minister for Education Chief Nyesom Wike; the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus; the Rivers Chairman of the party, Chief Felix Obuah and other PDP leaders.

The Abonnema monarch said he was satisfied with the way President Jonathan handled the Soku oil wells matter.

Amaechi said: “It has to do with the interest of Rivers State. It has nothing to do with my interest. There is an attempt by the Federal Government to undermine the development of Rivers State. Everybody is talking about Soku oil wells. There are over 41 oil wells belonging to Rivers State, which have been ceded to Abia State.

“They (the Federal Government) want to impoverish Rivers and as a governor, you expect me to keep quiet? It is not just Soku alone, it is also the fact that they have taken the oil wells in Etche.

“I heard my colleague, Bayelsa State governor, went to Abonnema the other day and the Amanyanabo of Abonema received him and said he was satisfied with the way the President is handling the oil wells. For me, that is a betrayal of his people.

“He (Bobmanuel) is a king in Kalabari kingdom and he says he is satisfied that the Federal Government has taken the oil wells and Bayelsa is receiving the money. It is not about me, it is about the Kalabari people. It is about the Rivers people.

“When the Bayelsa governor came, what was he doing in Abonnema? Why would the traditional ruler of Abonnema not tell the governor that Abonnema people are not happy over the oil wells taken away from them? The traditional ruler was expected to say ‘return our oil wells to us.’

“I have told the President that if he returns the oil wells, I will support him. But he (President) cannot.”

It does not matter whether I go back to the PDP or not, I will support him. He has not been able and he will not. If he (President Jonathan) thinks it will favour me, then let him keep the money in an escrow account, because the money was first and foremost in an escrow account.

“When he became President, he went to the escrow account and took the money. If it is about me, let them keep the money in an escrow account and give it to the next government in Rivers State. What I want to see done is the fact that our resources are returned to us.

“Now, there is no money in the escrow account, because Bayelsa State has expended the money. Even if we go to court today and the court says we are right, there is no money in the escrow account again. So, it is a hopeless and helpless situation for Rivers State.”

The Rivers governor added that he did not need to visit Soku before siting development projects like model schools and health centres, among others there, while accusing President Jonathan of taking sides in the ceding of Soku oil wells to his Bayelsa state.

He said: “President Jonathan stated that Rivers people call it Soku, while Bayelsa people call it Oluasiri. We do not need to go to court. Judgment has already been given by President Jonathan,” lamenting that the National Boundary Commission was yet to correct the mistake, as promised.

The NGF chairman also berated Wike, his former Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt and the Director-General of Amaechi Campaign Organisation in 2011, whom he said he made minister, which the two-term Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government council of Rivers State (Wike) denied.

Amaechi said: “I will not join issue with Wike. He is my junior in age. I graduated before him in the university. I ensured his re-election as Obio/Akpor Chairman. I made him Chief of Staff and Minister. I am a Governor by God’s grace, he is not. I have character. I do not know if Wike has character.

“I apologised to my friends for join issue with Wike. I do not want to be dragged to the gutter with Wike. The Obio/Akpor LG matter is not about political vendetta, but they are sharing the council’s funds.

“I have dissolved the Obio/Akpor LG council. Anybody who pays taxes, levies and other monies to Timothy Nsirim (the sacked chairman) will pay twice. The Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI, which has Wike as the grand patron) is a group of bandits, undermining the security of Rivers State.

“Police are being used to abuse my administration in Rivers State. Militants are now letting loose. They are now using the police, but Dr. Jonathan will not be the President forever. I do not have refinery in Ghana as being insinuated. I do not steal like them.

“They have served in government and they have nothing to show, except corruption. Some people who served briefly in government are now building mansions all over the place and the people are not asking questions.”

The Rivers governor also stated that he heard that the aides to President Jonathan went on the Internet and enumerated all the projects that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) did in Rivers State, from when the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo established the commission and said they were what President Jonathan achieved in Rivers State.

He said: “Let us even assume it is true that the President (Jonathan) is building six-classroom blocks. They have forgotten that we have demolished those six-classroom blocks, because we have phased them out, because they do not have sanitary facilities, computer laboratories and libraries like our schools. As we progress, we will continue to demolish them, until we achieve what we want.

“They even added Chinda Street that is my administration’s project and called it a Federal Government project. If I were the President, I will fire them.”

Amaechi also described the monorail in Port Harcourt as a noble project, stressing that in Nigeria, Rivers was the only state that was using its own funds to construct a monorail, noting that the Lagos light train was being funded by the World Bank, but the Rivers government was using its funds to pursue the monorail project.

The NGF chairman described the monorail as a brand new technology, stressing that there was nowhere in the world that the monorail was more than 16 kilometres, stating that the Port Harcourt’s monorail was nearing completion, with the incoming government to take it to the end of Aba Road.

On the defection of Amaechi and the four other governors from the PDP to the APC, he said: “If you observe, I do not like discussing the judiciary. The right thing to do is to keep me away from that controversy of what they think about the judiciary.

“Let us assume that the Federal Government or the PDP has done that (influencing the court), we still have the Court of Appeal and one place that is difficult to influence is the Supreme Court. If it is true that the PDP is doing that (trying to influence the judgment of the court on the defection of the governors), hope will not be lost, because we have the Court of Appeal, we have the Supreme Court.

“Courts do not impeach, but we are waiting. The courts’ position has been very clear. Zamfara Governor moved to the PDP and the court held that he had a right to move, if there is a disagreement with his party.

“The Bauchi State Governor moved from the ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) to the PDP and the court held that he had the right to move. Abia Governor moved from the PPA to the PDP. Kebbi Governor moved from the ANPP to the PDP. They are so many and the PDP was so happy absorbing them.

“Now that five of us have gone and the chances of more governors moving to the APC appear to be there, PDP is panicking. We are ready to meet them in court. We have hired lawyers and our lawyers can battle with them.”

The Rivers governor also reiterated that the annual budget of Rivers state was the same with Ghana, with investors developing the neighbouring West African country (Ghana), while running away from the Niger Delta state (Rivers), because of insecurity, recently created by the Federal Government.

He noted that in stayed in Ghana for ten months, when he fasted throughout from 6 am to 6 pm, in the days of the infamous K-leg of the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and some leaders of the PDP, before becoming governor on October 26, 2007, in view of the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court the previous day, with Ghanaians trusting their government.

Amaechi assured that the 13,000 newly-employed teachers for the state’s primary and secondary schools would soon be paid the six months’ arrears of their salaries, stating that the Rivers Ministry of Education did not carry along the state’s Ministry of Finance, while recruiting the new teachers.

He noted that his administration was pursuing integrated development, which he said was changing the face of Rivers state, while disclosing that the Trans-Amadi Road in Port Harcourt, being dualised by his administration, would be tolled upon completion.

The Nation

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