However one sees it, the escalating, man-made crisis in Rivers State portends real and grave danger to the dysfunctional democracy we have been slaving under for the past fourteen years. It is doubtful if the agent provocateurs and the instigators of the crisis, who keep upping their demented tactics by the day appreciate this as they get increasingly ruled by their selfish desires. One striking feature in the encircling political doom that awaits the country is that none of the progenitors of the crisis in Rivers featured while patriots were engaged in a deadly struggle to dislodge the military from the country’s political scene some light years ago. At best, they were ringside cheer leaders of the military despotism as its tyrannical glory lasted. They were proponents of the convenient any-government-in-power philosophy as patriots laid down their lives, staked their businesses, suffered bodily harm, risked solitary exile to oppose the deadly military machine.
For the main characters that are fueling and provoking newer fronts to the needless Rivers State crisis at present were mere fringe players that lurked and waited to cash in on whoever emerged victorious from that slugfest. They were people who, at best, collaborated with the forces of tyranny and gained handsomely from it when Nigerian democracy was in chains. This much was alluded to by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) in its recent warning that the perpetrators of the shameful crisis in the Rivers State House of Assembly where five members were prodded to make a detestable claim to the speaker-ship of the 32-member house irrespective of the position of the 27 other members. NUPENG made it clear that the very people behind this macabre crisis and their sponsors ill-appreciate what those who fought and laid down their lives for the democracy they are serially abusing because they never fought for the democracy. NUPENG should know as the body, under the irreplaceable Frank Ovie Kokori was in the very front deck of that enervating struggle.
But come to think of it, a situation where accidental fringe players, chance-takers, dancers of fortune were the ones that harvested the fruits of our sweat and struggle, would it not be naïve expecting better results from democracy than the awful and barren harvest we have been reaping for the past fourteen years? In a situation where those that were thrown unto our leadership positions were people who believe in reaping without sowing, can we have a better fate for democracy than the serial rape and abuse it is being treated with presently? Do we expect a better report from this pseudo-democracy than the annoying maniacal dance of infamy that finds great expression in the deliberate provocation of crisis in Rivers state where all things treasured and iconic are being trampled and treated to awful desecration by the ghouls and marionettes of a phantom emperor and his befuddled wife?
Recently, when I wrote an article, “A Battle Chibuike Amaechi Must Fight”, I was merely commenting on a crisis that was at its elementary stages. As at the time I wrote, it was the usual combat between Amaechi and his traducers who were enjoying an unmistakable backing from the Presidency and the PDP. As at the time I wrote, the grand plot to cripple Amaechi was still unraveling. As at then, the PDP had stripped the control of their party in Rivers from Amaechi and handed same to choice lackey of President Jonathan, Nyesom Wike, who was serving in Jonathan’s cabinet as Minister of State for Education. Curiously, the same Wike was a creation of Amaechi who appointed him his Chief of Staff and screened him off a corruption trial and further nominated him for ministerial position after delivering a flattering result for Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election.
As at the time I wrote, the battle (with the benefit of the unrestrained firefight against Amaechi presently) was at the preliminary stage and I had urged Amaechi not to allow himself to be led like a dumb sheep, manacled and marched to the slaughter, without uttering a word. I had counseled that if he must go down, he must do so fighting, as this remains the safest way to maintain the sanctity of the democratic mandate he is wielding, which does not permit the kind of annoying pharoic petulance with which the presidency is breathing down on him. I saw such defiance to close circuited tyranny as healthy to the flailing democracy we are saddled with, as it stands to restrain the excesses of the presidency to rail road his selfish wishes among governors. This he had done, and even exceeded our expectations and this has left the presidency and its many agents in such demented state that they are going for the broke in whittling down the staying power of Amaechi. The forces against Amaechi are mad, blind and seething with rage. These are as a result of its failure to tame Amaechi and the grand and resounding failure of the tactics they have deployed thus far.
As at the time I wrote, issues in the Rivers State crisis revolved around Amaechi’s insistence that ceding choice oil wells belonging to Rivers State to Jonathan’s Bayelsa was unacceptable to him and his state, the indecorous manner Jonathan’s unrestrained wife, Patience had rebuked the Rivers governor for demolishing shanties in her native Okirika homeland and of course, the position of Jonathan’s palace jesters and lick spittle who live off the state with a job brief of finding who greets and did not greet the president, to the effect that Governor Amaechi is disrespecting the president and of course, the allegation that Amaechi was gunning for Vice Presidency to a possible northern presidential candidate in 2015.
Since after my article, the darts have been pouring in torrents against Amaechi. His plane was grounded in Akure while on a visit to Ekiti, the NGF melodrama where he withstood the frenzied blackmail, lobby carrots and stick to best the president lackey, Jonah Jang of Plateau by 19 votes to 16 to re-emerge as the NGF chairman, the attendant desperate but futile fight back from the presidency and its minion-governors to discredit the election and erect a phantom NGF platform, the meddlesomeness of the federal government in the suspension of the Chairman of Obio/Akpor local government, the balkanization of the Rivers State Assembly which leaves five legislators dancing the tom beat from Abuja while 27 legislators stand firmly behind Amaechi, the invasion of Rivers space by cultists and ex militants who are being groomed as attack dogs for the political interests of the PDP, the picketing of the governor for periodic attacks by the thugs PDP had lined for that purpose and ultimately, the tragic comedy of the foiled attempt by five legislators beholden to the Abuja forces to take over the state assembly and the visitation of total mayhem on the assembly by the invading law breakers and their cahoots of paid thugs and the latest is the invasion of Port Harcourt airport by these standby thugs, visibly marshaled by Wike, to attack the governor and four visiting Northern governors. In all these, the police, under the leadership of Joseph Mbu has shown an uncolored collaboration with the forces who have sworn to ensure that Amaechi is pulled down from the perceived high horse from which he had rubbished many plots trained against him.
In all these cache of intrigues and plots however, it is very easy to see why PDP and the presidency are getting more blind with frustration. They are frustrated that their reading of Amaechi had failed them so badly and as heaven knows no greater fury than that of a scorned and failed megalomaniac, it is expected that with the days, and as Amaechi proves so hard to crack, the forces against him may go bunkers and in this state, nothing would be spared to achieve the desired end of seeing Amaechi’s back from the government house. Come to think of it, all those that are ranged against Amaechi; be it the president and his uncontrollable
wife, the PDP and the full battalion of minions, cronies, hirelings and subalterns invested heavily in the belief that Amaechi will not last any appreciable distance; that he will buckle before the first shot is fired. With the failure of each plot against him, they have had to eat their words and launch fresher strategies. Predictably, these strategies have exposed them to further ridicule and endangered the democratic process they have been leveraging on to great risks. Each fresh move they make against Amaechi, in the absence of a coherent containment tactics, has reeked of illegality, crudity and power over-reach such that while Amaechi’s profile continues to soar, the image of a besotted presidency and its loads of ruffians and street urchins, riding rough shod over the law in order to find a solution to what they see as Amaechi’s migraine is looming so nauseously large in the Nigerian polity. The forces against Amaechi have been caught in an unintended maze and in this state, they are loose cannons, oozing hot lead from all cylinders and would not mind if they get consumed in their own line of fire. With the days, the anti-Amaechi forces will unleash more bizarre tactics, if only to satiate their feeling of hurt. We should therefore expect more audacious darts in the days of ahead even as these would worsen the constitutional crisis the Rivers case is provoking in the Nigerian polity at present.
But, it is our collective duty to arrest the suicidal predilection of the anti-Amaechi forces before they take all of us down. It is our collective duty to rein in this bull in a china shop that is unleashed on Rivers at present. With what happened in Egypt few weeks ago, is it too much to expect an enacting of the Nigerian version of such abortion of the democratic process given the way and manner these retrogressive forces are taking their fight against Amaechi for offences they have not really articulated in presentable format? Should we continue indulging bare impunity and rank illegality so as to meet the selfish whims and idiosyncrasies of those who have come to structure their political fulfillment on the removal of Amaechi through foul means? Do we allow these people who never invested in democracy to destroy the system just because they want to achieve the inordinate desire of clay footed emperors? Do we allow the deliberate besmirching of rule of law in Rivers to continue just because we want to indulge and indeed suffer the gangsterism and sheer banditry that is being imported into the crisis by the anti-Amaechi forces? Must we continue to pretend it does not matter when sheer outlawry is being ventilated in Rivers for the sole purpose of removing a governor considered disloyal to the private interests of the president? I think the entire nation owes democracy the duty to ensure that this dangerous state of anomie is arrested and the dangerous bends the outlawry in Rivers State is taking democracy to is reversed. We know it is delicate to deal with bruised ego but we have no option than to ensure that the interest of the nation and this badly managed democracy are saved over and above the bruised egos of the anti-Amaechi forces.