Published On: Sat, Jul 20th, 2013

Rivers’ Crisis: Jonathan, Amaechi Opt for Peace

Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan

LAGOS JULY 20TH (URHOBOTODAY)-There are indications that the presidency and Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi may have opted for a peaceful resolution of the crisis between them to avoid overheating the polity and endangering the democratic process.
Sources close to the presidency and Amaechi told Saturday Tribune that all sides to the conflict have realized the danger in allowing the conflict to degenerate further, hence the sudden embrace of peace.

It was gathered that the PDP hierarchy and the presidency were worried that the crisis was being kept on the front burner by the media on a daily basis, a suggestion that some forces were trying to benefit unduly from the crisis.
According to sources, “it appeared to the government of the day that some forces are trying to use the Rivers crisis as an avenue to unduly get to the root of the nation’s democracy,” a source said.
“The presidency is disturbed anytime the Rivers crises is seen as a Jonathan/Amaechi war. The president has distanced himself from the crisis but every attempt is being made to drag his name in. I can tell you that the government has decided to douse the tension and encourage the combatants to embrace peace,” a source told Saturday Tribune.
According to the source, the government is unhappy that the crisis is attracting comments from respected leaders like the former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar.
It was gathered that such comments are already being seen as constituting security risk, but sources said that “the current administration will not stand by while some parties attempt to paint the nation black because of the crisis in Rivers State.” One of the options isolated by the source is a final resolution of the crisis rocking the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) by effecting a no-victor no-vanquished arrangement that would see to the emergence of another chairman.
It was also gathered that following the resolution of the NGF crisis, the PDP will be made to take a holistic view of the crisis in Rivers and proffer appropriate solutions.
It was gathered that the battle appears to be going deeper because the interests of governor Amaechi and Wike as well as some leaders of the anti-Amaechi group are diametrically opposed.
He said, “Amaechi wants to be politically relevant after leaving office; he wants to either nominate a successor or be part of the making of his successor. It looks as if when Amaechi gets what he wants, Wike will lose out; and if Wike gets what he wants, Amaechi will lose out. The intervention of the president could solve the whole equation at the end of the day.”
The source said that the task could be accomplished in a short while, adding, however, that the first task before the peacemakers is to take the crisis out of the headlines so as not to allow some forces paint the entire country as engulfed in crisis.”
Indications to this new development emerged soon after four northern governors were reportedly attacked by demonstrators in Port Harcourt, a mob action said to have alarmed many within the political establishment.
The attack on the governors may have warned leaders of increasing degeneration of the political conflict across the country as well as the gradual degeneration into rule of mob.
In the last one week, major political actors have intensified their plea for reconciliation among rivals, with such calls coming from unexpected quarters. Rapprochement calls range from reconciliation between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan, to ceasefire between the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, and Governor Amaechi.
In a surprising volte face, the First Lady openly and directly extended an olive branch to the Rivers State helmsman. She added, “I appeal to Amaechi to sheathe his sword so that we can defend our state and this country with love, unity, patriotism and truth at all time.
“Hebrews 12:14 urges us to embrace peace with all men, without which we cannot see God. Amaechi is my son, I cannot fight him and I cannot kill him. He shouldn’t be used by outsiders against his own blood because this seat is vanity,” the First Lady said. Less than 24 hours after, governors of the Action Congress of Nigeria and deputy governors from other states controlled by the merging parties converged on Rivers State and emerged with a surprising call on the embattled governor to visit and brief the president on the situation in the state.
In a manner contrary to APC attitude since the crisis started, the APC governors almost literally called on their colleague to make peace with President Jonathan, whom Governor Kayode Fayemi called “our leader.”
The Chairman of the Governors Forum of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Godswill Akpabio, is, however, embarking on another peace move that has direct relationship to the reelection bid of President Jonathan.
Akpabio, who became governorship candidate of the PDP through direct intervention of Obasanjo, is said to have set a goal of reconciling both the president and his estranged godfather.
Akpabio is said to be banking on his closeness to the two leaders to bring them back on common terms. How far he will go on the project is, however, not clear.
A chieftain of the Congress for Progressive Change in Taraba State, Mohammed Mustapha, described the sudden calls for peace and reconciliation as a welcome development, even as he cautioned leaders of the opposition on the development.
“It is a welcome development; but we must be careful. We in the opposition should not be seen to be helping PDP in their time of crisis,” he said.
A political analyst, who is also a veteran journalist in Port Harcourt, Ignatius Chukwu, observed that “the most dangerous aspect of it all: the army is not happy with what is happening and I believe you heard the former head of state, Abubakar, speak the other day. The political class knows what this means. They would have recalled what happened in the previous republics, when the Federal Government had been locked in muscle flexing with the weaker structures. Like the Action Group case, the Unity Party of Nigeria case, Federal Government won; but how long did those governments last after their triumph? The political class must have realised this, hence the attempts at tidying up and burying hatchets now,” Chukwu explained.
Source: Leadership

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