Amaechi Walks A Tight Rope

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With the revelations from the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the sales of some government properties under the administration of Chibuike Amaechi, will the former governor who shunned the panel come out clean as he claimed or will the outcome dent his political image?

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Once upon a not so distant time, he was an enfant terrible and the nemesis of the then ruling party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, as the then chairman of the all powerful Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, led the pack of some five rebellious governors to deal a devastating and crushing blow on the PDP, a party touted by its leaders as the biggest party in Africa, and railroaded it to political Golgotha. Amaechi did not just make such deft political moves that culminated in leading his fellow “disgruntled” governors to the nascent All Progressives Congress, APC, he also put his money where his mouth was. Being a politician all his life, the Ikwerre-born former governor was well aware of the consequences of failure of his new party at the polls. He would not only lose face, he would also lose political relevance. Perhaps that was why political adversaries allege that as the chairman of the Presidential Campaign Organisation for the APC, Amaechi opened up his state’s vault to bankroll the presidential election that saw the defeat of the PDP at the March 28 presidential election. Though they have not been able to prove that allegation, they also speculate that the promise of the high office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, was a strong motivation for him to deliver. It is either the opponents did not get their facts right, as the office of has now been filled by Babachir Lawal or there is some truth in the suspicion that some of the allegations back home in Rivers are affecting his chances at the centre.

Truly the titanic war between Amaechi and his one-time crony, Nyesom Wike, former minister and now governor of the state has refused to abate.

The outcome of the panel of inquiry set up to look into certain transactions in the administration of Amaechi oozes a putrid smell of corruption. Now, the former governor who had set up a similar body to x-ray activities of the government of Peter Odili, his predecessor and benefactor, did not, unlike Odili, honour the invitation of the panel. Ankio Briggs, a political leader in the state is not comfortable with that decision. Hear her: “If you don’t have anything to hide and you are being accused unjustly, you will just say well, this is not fair, this is not true; this thing is a lie that is being told against me and you will stand firm and try to defend yourself as much as you can.” The conclusion of Kenneth Kobani, secretary to the state government is that “Amaechi is afraid of his own shadow.” However, Amaechi may also have declined the invitation of Wike’s panel, because his party does not yet recognise the election of the former minister as governor, against the APC candidate, Dakuku Peterside. In fact, the former governor did not do a formal handing over to Wike…

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