By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
For the overall interest and genuine peace of Rivers state and its people, the state government has been advised to urgently convene a peace, security and reconciliation summit as a matter of urgency, which will study and proffer solutions to the seeming intractable security situation across the State.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-South region, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, who gave the word of advice in a statement issued and circulated in Port Harcourt on Sunday also charged the Chief Nyesom Wike-led administration in the State to leave aside its ego and allow reason guide its decisions at this critical point by dusting the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi era security blueprint for the state, restart its implementation and save everybody from the ongoing needless waste of lives and properties across the State.
Eze, who has been one of the loudest advocates of good governance in Rivers state and one-time National spokesman of the defunct new People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), also charged Governor Wike to drop his act of prevarication, stay true to his recent call for peace in the political arena and not toy with the idea of victimising leaders of the APC who served in the Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led administration in the name of a guided witch-hunt called an investigation.
Touching on the need to pay an urgent attention to the security situation in the state, Eze noted that the reports going out of Rivers state in the last few years had been most unpleasant, noting that all sincere watchers of events in the state will agree that the turn of events since the advent of the Wike era had been a very sad and gory departure from the peaceful and secure state that the Amaechi administration ran, noting also that most of the intricate security architecture that the previous administration, under the watch of Amaechi, put in place for the peace and security of the state had been shut down by the Wike government.
“Any sound and concern lover of Rivers state must be worried by the tales of woes and the level of insecurity facing the state at the moment. Every day it is either a bus conveying passengers is kidnapped or people are being killed and beheaded or that foreigners and investors are rushing out of the State in droves or the state is rated as the number one state in Nigeria that harbours the highest number of unemployed youths”, he lamented.
To aptly capture the real picture of the state of things in Rivers, Eze recalled the pain-laden recap given about the ugly situation in the state recently by the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, when he said “no doubt, our state has endured a tortuous political season, which saw political parties jostle and cajole Rivers people to make choices. Our state, which was known and respected as the Treasure Base of the nation, is now almost always in the news for the wrong reasons. This is not the Rivers State of our dreams”.
He, however, advised that to achieve lasting peace in the state, the Governor, as a matter of urgency, must convoke a Peace/Security/reconciliation Summit, involving key Christian leaders, traditional rulers, key political leaders, youths and women leaders, security experts and elders from all over the state. The summit, he said, will be expected to point out why the state is in its present sad situation and proffer suggestions on the ways out of it, adding that the era of paying lip service to issues of the greatness and future of the state should be ended.
He said the present status of Rivers state as home to the highest number of unemployed youths in Nigeria is not acceptable, hence he commended the governor for lifting embargo on employment in the state’s civil service, saying “this is one factor that has enhanced insecurity in the state and to save the state from this timebomb, Wike must revive all the industries that Amaechi set up during his tenure as the governor of Rivers state. These include the Songhai Farm, the Buguma Fish Farm and others that enabled Amaechi to employ over 500,000 youths of Rivers state”. He advises Wike that if these suggestions are adopted in addition of creating a conducive environment for investors to invest in the State over one million jobs can be created before the end of 2019.
“Secondly, the Governor should sincerely allow peace to prevail in the state and avoid any action that will endanger the current peace movement. This is not only for his own good, but for the good of the entire state. In this regard, Governor Nyesom Wike should assemble key actors that assisted Amaechi during his days as governor of Rivers state, particularly the then Commissioner of Police, now retired IGP, SuleimanAbba; the member of House of Representatives-elect, Ade Adeogun, and many others so that we can review and adopt some of the strategies they adopted that totally eradicated crimes and militancy in our state.
“Thirdly, the governor must invite and reason with most of the key kingpins of militancy and dreaded cultists he has empowered and plead with them to assist the state in her quest for peace.
“Fourthly, the governor must reopen the office of the NDDC as a matter of urgency to avoid giving room to further speculations, which may endanger peace in the region.
Fiftly, dismantle the Abe led propaganda machine against the Honourable Minister of Transportation immediately.
“Sixtly, the governor should once again read through his state broadcast, particularly the part where he said ‘although the present politics of acrimony and bitterness may have strayed from the noble path of the past, I still believe that we shall be better off standing and working together for our state and our people. I hereby direct the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to review all pending criminal proceedings filed against any person by the state and directly related to political activities prior to the 2019 general elections and make appropriate recommendations to me for necessary action to promote reconciliation among us’ and advise himself if the setting up of the Justice Monna Danagogo Judicial Commission on Election Violence while exonerating all PDP chieftains to try Tonye Cole, Llyod Chidi and some other APC leaders in areas he failed to win elections in the March/April polls tally with his state broadcast seeking for peace.
If Justice Simeon Amadi commission on the invasion and attack on the state’s judicial complex also tallies with the spirit of his State Broadcast.
“In the same vein, the Rivers state government set up a probe panel to investigate some Commissioners; Dr Chamberlain Peterside (Finance) and Dr Parker (Health) under Amaechi’s administration, I sincerely seek to know if all these steps are part of sustaining peace in Rivers State”, he quried.
Eze stated that he is ready likewise every discipline of Amaechi to assist the State achieve peace but pointed out that there is need to urgently quit playing politics with the peace of Rivers state and counselled the Governor to dismantle all his commissions of inquiry and reopen the secretariat of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), if truly he sincerely desires peace for Rivers state.