The governors demanded President Jonathan’s intervention to halt the Rivers crisis.
Eight governors of the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday paid a solidarity visit to the embattled Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, at the Government House, Port Harcourt; during which they condemned the crisis in the state and demanded the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The governors also asked Mr. Amaechi to officially visit the president and brief him on the crisis.
“We have had extensive discussions; he (Mr. Amaechi) has briefed us (governors) on the situation on the ground here (Rivers State) and we feel very strongly that having listened to him, that it will be quite important for him to actually go and brief Mr. President,” Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said on behalf of the governors.
Governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), all of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and deputy governors of Imo, Nasarawa, and Zamfara, also called on all the actors in the crisis to sheathe their swords.
The three deputy governors, Eze Madumere (Imo, APGA), Dameshi Barua Luka (Nasarawa, CPC) and Muktar Anka (Zamfara, ANPP) represented their principals during the visit.
The governors made the visit two days after four northern governors similarly visited Mr. Amaechi. The northern governors were Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger), who is also the Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, NSGF.
Mr. Fayemi, while speaking on behalf of the governors, said they were in the state to express their support and solidarity with their Rivers State counterpart.
“We are here in support and solidarity with the Governor (Amaechi), the government and the people of Rivers State in this very trying time,” he said.
“We are concerned as fellow governors representing our governments from all of the states you can see here. The tension in Rivers State is entirely avoidable and we want all parties to sheathe their swords and to help restore the peace and security of Rivers State.”
The governor expressed concern over the security situation of the governor and the people of the state and lamented that only recently, soldiers attached to the Rivers State Government House were all withdrawn.
He urged Mr. Jonathan to intervene in the crisis using his moral authority to bring it to an end.
Mr. Fayemi said, “We are here because we think security for us is far more of the major concern to the people of Nigeria. Our being here is just to stress the importance of our concern for the security of the citizens of Rivers State.
“For us, we believe that this is a matter that really requires the moral authority of Mr. President as well. It is about deepening this democracy; it’s about ensuring that peace reigns, not just in Rivers State but in the whole country”.
He also asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to take necessary steps that would restore the confidence of the government and the people of the state in the State Police Command.
“We believe that the Inspector General of Police is very well placed to help take the necessary steps to restore the confidence of the government, of the governor and the people in the police in Rivers State”.
According to Mr. Fayemi, it was important for the IG to take those steps that would restore the confidence of Rivers people in the police, considering that their confidence in the force had waned over their questionable involvement in the crisis.
The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mukhtar Anka, told journalists that as progressive governors, they were happy with the noticeable mass support that Governor Amaechi received from his people and other loyalists in the country even as he noted that the crisis was avoidable.
He said: “We being progressive governors, we met with our Chairman of Governors’ Forum and Rivers State Governor. We are very happy that we met him in high spirits and he is popular and he is moving with his people, we are very happy with that and we resolved and we advised him that he should meet with Mr. President to discuss with him so that we can find a way out of this crisis, which is avoidable and we believe that by his meeting with the President, we will find a way out of resolving this crisis in Rivers State to sustain the democracy in Nigeria”.
Read Mr. Fayemi’s full speech on behalf of the opposition governors
We are here in solidarity with the government and people of Rivers State in these very challenging times. You are aware that some of our colleagues were here a couple of days ago. We are here because we think security for us is far more of a major concern to the people of Nigeria. You may be aware that today is National Economic Council holding in Abuja, all of us attending the National Economic Council meeting and our being here is not a denigration of that meeting in anyway. It is just to stress the importance of our concern to the security of the citizens of Rivers State. We have met with our brother, the Chairman of our forum (NGF), Governor Chibuike Amaechi. We have had extensive discussions; he has briefed us on the situation on the ground here (Rivers State) and we feel very strongly that having listened to him, that it will be quite important for him to actually go and brief Mr. President who is our leader and the chief security officer of the country on the very challenging security situation here in Rivers State. We believe that our chairman and brother will give a fair consideration to that particular concern when we met with him; that it is important that as the chief security officer of Rivers State to take the opportunity to go and brief Mr. President on the security situation in the State.
We also in our deliberation with our brother, it is also of importance for the hierarchy of our police authority, the IGP, to help in restoring the confidence of the People of Rivers State that have really been greatly diminished in the police command here in Rivers State. We believe that the IGP is very well placed to help take the necessary steps to restore the confidence of the government, of the governor and the people in the police in Rivers State and every step that is crucial to making that possible are aspects that we believe that the Mr. President should take.
For us, we believe that this is a matter that requires moral authority of Mr. President as well. It is about deepening this democracy, it is about ensuring that peace reigns, not just in Rivers because we know that Rivers is of concern to Governor Amaechi, but the state of security in the entire country is also of concern to him. And we believe Mr. President being our leader, we are all President’s men, we are all President’ s governors, he is our leader and we feel that he actually occupies a very critical position that necessitate wielding his moral authority in ensuring peace reigns here and that nobody uses him by subterfuge to create situations that are entirely avoidable. The tension in Rivers State is entirely avoidable and we want all parties to sheath their swords and to help restore the peace and security here.
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