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The Current Political Situation in Rivers State

As we approach 2007 general elections the political atmosphere across Rivers state is charged by the day as more politicians indicate interest in the race for the Brick House (Rivers state government house). Posters, billboards and newspaper adverts are daily pointers to the intensity of the impending “political war” that will climax on May 29, 2007 either with the change of batons or a continuation for some incumbents. From any aspect it is looked at, the race promises to be keen, as different political parties, rousing from the political inactivity being witnessed since after the 2003 elections, have all fixed dates for their party primaries and conventions.

Those gearing to succeed Governor Peter Odili are: The Speaker Rivers state House of Assembly, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara, Hon. Celestine Omeha, Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo and Rivers state Deputy Governor, Sir Gabriel Toby.

Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is believed to get the PDP ticket in 2007 because he is one of the Governor’s kitchen cabinet members. He has been very loyal to Odili, even before Odili became Deputy Governor in 1991. Amaechi is from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers state. Ikwerre Local Government Area is among Ikwerre tribe which is believed to be the largest ethnic nationality in Rivers state. Amaechi enjoys the support of his Ikwerre kinsmen. Many Ikwerre politicians believed that Amaechi was the brain behind Odili’s victory in 2003 general elections; he worked against his brother the acclaimed Bulldozer of Rivers politics, Chief Sergeant Awuse in 2003.

Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara, is another Ikwerre man who has the desperate aspiration to succeed Odili come 2007. Austin Opara is one of the key players of the failed third term agenda. Opara is believed to be one of the problems Amaechi will face in 2007, as both are the same ethnic nationality, Ikwerre. Opara believes that the decisions leading to who becomes the Governor of our great state ‘Rivers’ is decided in Aso Rock not Port Harcourt. He said many times that Amaechi has the most viable political structure in Rivers, but political structure does not work in Rivers state if not Chief Sergeant Awuse would have won the Governorship of Rivers.

Celestine Omeha is another son of the soil, from Ikwerre ethnic nationality just as Autin and Amaechi. Omeha is the one that will give Amaechi and Opara a tough challenge in 2007. Omeha is a staunch member of Odili kitchen cabinet. Omeha is one man that can knock on Odili’s door any time of the night and Odili will open and receive him.

The Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo is a lifelong friend of Governor Peter Odili. He is a medical doctor just as Odili. He is from one the strongest ethnic nationalities in Rivers state called Okrika. Obasanjo, in his announcement last year made it clear that any of his cabinet members who wants to seek elective position is free to resign, and he will be more than willing to accept such resignation. As a result his refusals to resign many politicians are skeptical about his governorship ambition.

The Deputy Governor, Toby Gabriel is from different ethnic nationality in Rivers state called Opobo. Toby is one of the Deputy Governors in the nation who has good relationship with his boss. Rivers Governor and his Deputy never had any problems any kind. Toby is very loyal to his boss, and he is ready to go extra miles to please his boss. Odili has a lot of confidence in his Deputy. Many politicians believe that Odili will hand over his government to his Deputy as it done in the Western world, to continue his reform agenda.

The amazing part of this governorship race is that all the gubernatorial aspirants for 2007 elections are all Odili loyalists, and all are PDP members.

Many people in the state are waiting for the Bulldozer of Rivers politics, Chief Sergeant Awuse to speak about the current situation of Rivers politics. Awuse was the governorship candidate under the platform of ANPP in 2003 elections. Chief Awuse is the Governor Rivers state never had. Chief Awuse is believed to the Rivers political ground master, and Bulldozer of Rivers politics. This time around he has been keeping mute in the political affairs. He has not said any time about his political ambition.

May God Bless Rivers state and Nigeria.
 

Isaac Moses , August 2nd, 2006
Chicago, U.S.A





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