•All APC’s presidential aspirants honour Governor at seventh anniversary of Supreme Court victory
Tumultuous crowd and all the presidential aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, to honour Governor Rotimi Amaechi. The occasion was the seventh anniversary of his Supreme Court victory, leading to heavy traffic in the Garden City.
The Rivers Solidarity Convention, with theme: “Seven Years of Change We Can See,” took place at the 40,000-seater Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Igwuruta-Ali, at the Greater Port Harcourt City, near the Port Harcourt International Airport, along the ever-busy Port Harcourt-Owerri Federal Road, recently dualised by Amaechi’s government.
Yesterday’s anniversary was also used to inaugurate the stadium, constructed by the Amaechi administration to boost sports in Nigeria, while thousands of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State, led by a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Emmanuel Deeya, who defected to the APC.
The elaborate celebration was transmitted live on the Africa Independent Television (AIT), Channels Television; the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Silverbird Television (STV).
The APC’s presidential aspirants at the event were a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.); ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; the Governor of Kano State, Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso; his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah.
Also in attendance were the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed and his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, as well as a former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and his predecessor, Segun Oni, an engineer, who is also the Deputy National Chairman, South, of the APC, lawmakers and other eminent personalities.
Buhari said the APC, from next year, would provide security and development in Nigeria, while Atiku urged Nigerians to vote for APC in 2015 to eradicate poverty and ensure steady electricity, good roads and good schools, among others, with Kwankwaso noting that Amaechi is ensuring peace and stability in Nigeria, as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Okorocha assured that the APC would provide the best presidential candidate with vision for Nigeria, not based on religion or tribe, while Nda-Isaiah stated that God gave Rivers people good governor Amaechi, declaring that he had never seen the kind of crowd at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium before.
Odigie-Oyegun assured that the APC would wipe out corruption in Nigeria and that APC is in charge of Rivers State, contrary to the claim of the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stating that the progress in the state could be replicated at the centre and all over Nigeria.
Amaechi, who danced so well, while addressing the unprecedented crowd, urged Nigerians to punish out the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan with their votes in 2015, in order to bring about the much-desired change.
The former head of state said: “I do not think there is anything remaining. All that needs to be said has been said, but I stand here to congratulate the Governor of Rivers State and you the good people of Rivers State. You have been lucky for seven good years and you are going to remain lucky for one more year, God willing.
“I assure you that the coming together of APC of the major opposition so-called political parties is to make sure that we consolidate what is lacking in Nigeria, security and development, and God willing, APC from next year, will provide them. God will answer our prayers.”
The former vice-president noted that he had been associating with the state since 1985 and had not seen the kind of progress in those years, like he had seen in the last seven years.
Atiku said: “Do you want the progress to continue? Do you want to feel the projects? Do you want to eradicate poverty? Do you want to go to good schools? Do you want good roads? Do you want power? Vote APC. Vote APC. Vote APC.”
Kwankwaso, while also speaking, said: “Let me start by congratulating my friend, my brother, my Chairman, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. Let me congratulate him for the projects and programmes he had executed in this state in the last seven years, one of which is this very big stadium.
“Let me also congratulate you for being a good Chairman for Governors of this country and let me also congratulate you for ensuring peace and stability in this country. We are very much aware of the relationship that existed between this part of the country with the Northern part of the country and other parts.
“This governor (Amaechi) has worked so hard in the last seven years to ensure good relationship between us. I want to assure you that many of us from the other parts of the country will continue to work together with you and the other good people of this state and also this part of the country.”
The governor of Imo State spoke so passionately about the crowd at the stadium and the massive support Rivers people gave the NGF chairman.
Okorocha said: “My people, my people, let me say that today (yesterday), my eyes have seen the good works of a gentleman. I am simply tantalised, mesmerised and flabbergasted. Today (yesterday), we have seen a sign of change; the change has come and the change must be.
“Let no one contest on the platform of tribe or you can become a tribal leader. We need a national leader that can move this nation forward. My prayer is that may the Almighty God, who has started the good work in Amaechi, may He continue with him in Jesus’ name.”
Nda-Isaiah said: “Exactly this day, seven years ago, God gave you a good governor, who vaunted the life of the people. He built schools and did other good things. The best thing he did for you is to move from PDP to APC.
“I hope you heard what the governor (Amaechi) had said. In 2015, I hope the other parties are watching. I have never seen this kind of crowd before and whoever is planning to rig will have to contend with this crowd.”
The national chairman of the APC also berated President Jonathan for describing Rivers APC as a party that existed only on billboards and posters.
Odigie-Oyegun said: “Like your governor (Amaechi) said, in Benin, during the PDP’s Southsouth campaign, he (President Jonathan) told the whole nation that APC does not exist in Rivers State. That it is only a poster party. We were worried and we were concerned. Your governor, a fantastic man, was challenged.
“So, today, he (Amaechi) brought all of us here. The entire leadership of the APC is lined up here today. .
“Those of you who believe that the progress in Rivers State can be replicated at the centre and all over Nigeria, say yeah. Those who believe that APC will wipe out corruption in this nation, Nigeria, give me one gbosa. Those who believe that APC will guarantee better security for this country, give me another yeah.”
Amaechi, who was so relaxed, in spite of the intimidation and persecution by the Federal Government and President Jonathan, said he was at the stadium to test his popularity.
The NGF chairman said: “They (PDP leaders) have made too much noise. The President (Jonathan) says we exist only on posters and billboards. So, we brought a large billboard for him. If the President is not watching (the rally), they will give him security report.
“This stadium is 40,000 sitting capacity. I built it. It was built by me. One of them campaigning for Rivers governorship (Chief Nyesom Wike, the immediate past Minister of State for Education) was the contractor to do the roads. He abandoned the roads and took N3 billion and left. Now, he wants to be governor.
“I challenge them to an integrity test. Any of them from Abuja to Rivers State, I challenge them to an integrity test. I have worked with them. I have their records and their (records) are in the Office of the Governor.
“We have developed 750 megawatts, but the problem is Federal Government not allowing us to distribute electricity.
“We were to give Port Harcourt water. As I am talking to you today, the Minister of Finance (Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) has refused to move the file again back to Executive Council for approval, so that you can have water. They do not care for you. They want you to die of water-borne diseases. Punish them with your votes. Punish PDP with your votes. He (Jonathan) is our son, why can’t we have water?
“The problem we have is that the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) is no longer working. Corruption is at its industrial scale. Thieves are thieves because we now have an industry called corruption.”
The Rivers governor also lauded all the members of the National Assembly for standing by his government, stressing that eight of the members of the House of Representatives from the state came with him to the APC, while the rest betrayed him, declaring that they would be punished by Rivers people with their votes in 2015.
The NGF chairman also thanked Rivers people, for keeping him as governor and standing by him, stressing that he had no choice, but to deliver on his promises
Amaechi also stated: “They said the reason why the President (Jonathan) is not performing in Rivers State is because he is quarrelling with the Governor of Rivers State. Okay, what is the quarrel between the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the Governor of Cross River State that the roads from Akwa Ibom State to Cross River State is abandoned? Are they quarrelling too? It is more of lack of performance.
“When the President (Jonathan) spoke in Benin, he spoke in a stadium that was less than 20,000-sitting capacity. When TAN (Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria) held their rally in Port Harcourt, they held it at the 16,000 capacity Elekahia stadium and this was a Southsouth rally. The rally in Benin was Southsouth. The rally in Port Harcourt was Southsouth. This one (APC mega rally) is Port Harcourt rally.
“Do you remember Ebola? To show you how much the President hates us, he visited Lagos, did he visit Rivers State? He did not care. He wanted all of us to die, but I took it as a challenge and said none of us would die. Whatever it will take, I will do what I can by God’s grace to protect Rivers people.
“Can you see our airport (Port Harcourt International Airport)? The president lands at the airport. But see how we look like refugees. They say there is no light at the airport. What did we do to them? We gave him the highest votes in the country and the punishment we get for giving him the highest vote is operation nothing. So, APC is the solution to protect our interest. We must go there to vote out the PDP. It is not about our son.
“They tell you that you should not vote for these people, because they are Hausa people, they are Muslims, but the refinery in Rivers State was built and commissioned by Tafawa Balewa, he is a northerner. Shehu Shagari started NAFCON, Ibrahim Babangida commissioned it. IBB started the Eleme Petrochemical Company, Sani Abacha completed it. They are all northerners; they are all Muslims. NLNG was started and completed by Abacha and he is a northerner and a Muslim. Bonny NLNG, NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry were established by northerners.
“In fact, when Yar’Adua was alive, Niger Delta Ministry was working, Now it is only one item: East-West Road, and they say he (President Jonathan) is our brother. He is not my brother. My brother is the man who delivers on his services for me. If the President says he is our brother, let him call one project (his administration has embarked upon in Rivers State).”
The representative of Rivers Southeast Senatorial District, Magnus Ngei Abe, while speaking, stressed that yesterday’s rally was better than any of the rallies in Nigeria during the 2011 campaigns, stating that anybody Amaechi supports would do well.
Abe, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), declared that the charlatans and noisemakers (PDP leaders) that Nigerians were seeing now, they would no longer see them from May 29, 2015.
While speaking on behalf of the members of the House of Representatives, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who represents Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro constituency of Rivers State and the Chairman of the Rivers APC Contact Committee, described Amaechi as a man of integrity and character.
Peterside, who is also the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), noted that with the trust Rivers people have in Amaechi, they would go for APC, all the way, while assuring that Rivers people are solidly behind the youthful governor.
The Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, stated that Amaechi had brought change to the state and transformed Rivers, as well as being the face of modern democracy, with 25 of the 31 lawmakers “solidly” behind him.
The Rivers Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Chris Oruge, maintained that labour is in support of Amaechi, while expressing surprise that just last Wednesday, some PDP leaders sent thugs to his office to kill him for supporting the NGF chairman, declaring that Amaechi is performing and Rivers workers are behind him.
The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Rivers chapter, Chika Onuegbu, described Amaechi as a listening and performing governor.
In his welcome address, the Rivers Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru, an engineer, who is also the Chairman of the Central Organising Committee of the seventh anniversary, stated that the giants Rivers people and other Nigerians are seeing today, they will see them no more from May 29, 2015, but to stand for progressive change and have the courage to sweep them into oblivion.
•All APC’s presidential aspirants honour Governor at seventh anniversary of Supreme Court victory