The Rivers State government and the Nigeria Police seem to be in disagreement over the decision of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to tour all the political wards of the 23 local government areas of the state.
This is as the governor’s tour of political wards in Obio/Akpor local government area of the state, strong-hold of the minister of state for education, and governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, was greeted with protests by members of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI).
The commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Tunde Johnson Ogunsakin, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, advised Amaechi against using the period of his visit to the various wards to campaign.
But, the state government, in its reaction, expressed worry over the tone of the statement accredited to the commissioner of police, pointing out that Amaechi-led administration considers participation a key element of democratic rule and good governance. The commissioner for information and communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, said the governor have consistently embarked on stewardship accountability fora and stock taking since he assumed office in October 2007.
The statement reads in part, “The attention of the Rivers State government has been drawn to a statement credited to the commissioner of police warning the governor of Rivers State about campaigning during his ward tours. The Rivers State government is worried about the tone of the statement credited to CP Ogunshakin and concerned about the implication of the same.
“For the purposes of clarification and emphasis, the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi considers participation a key element of democratic rule and good governance. As a result, it has consistently embarked on stewardship accountability fora and stock taking since Governor Amaechi assumed office in October 2007. Town hall meetings; meet the people tours and engagement with professional groups and other publics is neither novel nor strange with the Amaechi regime.
“The alleged comments of the CP appear curious especially coming on the heels of the overtly political purported endorsement of minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike for governor by some members of the Rumueprikom community and the visit of the wife of the president to local government areas in Rivers State.
“While the purpose of these obvious political gatherings of the PDP is campaign for 2015, CP Ogunshakin appears unable to see or hear any evil. The Rivers State government is conscious of this but wishes to reassure CP Ogunshakin that it is not a brigand or an irresponsible government. Governor Amaechi has clearly stated that the purpose of his ward tours is to find out the impact of his numerous projects on the people at the grassroots and what gaps still exist to enable him cross all t’s and dot all the i’s as his administration finishes its last lap.
“We can state unequivocally that we will not disregard the rules of engagement and that when we are set for campaign, it will be clear not just to the Rivers State police command but to the entire world. We will not hid our glowing light under a bushel, however we would wish to respectfully request CP Ogunshakin to be even handed in his caution and ensure that what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.”
The protesters, who barricaded entrances to Rumuomasi community, believed to be Amaechi’s first port-of-call during the visit, said the governor was not welcomed in the community and entire Obio/Akpor local government area since he refused to accept Justice Daisy Okocha as the chief judge of the state.
But, reacting to the development, chairman, Caretaker Committee of Obio/Akpor local government council, Dr. Lawrence Chuku, described the protesters as frustrated members of the PDP, who are not indigenes of Rumuomasi community.
Chuku assured that the protest would not stop the governor from concluding his tour of political wards and communities in the local government area.