The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has appealed for an end to divisive politics in the state.
The oil-rich state, located in Nigeria’s South-south region, has for long been plagued by violence. This has led to several deaths because of the power struggle between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mr Wike and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Mr Wike recently won a hard-fought re-election as the governor of Rivers.
The APC on Thursday lost all its election-related appeals at the Supreme Court.
“I appeal to the APC and the Minister of Transportation to join hands with us to move our dear state forward.
“We cannot as leaders continue to remain divided and expect government to deliver on its responsibilities to our people. Let us from henceforth seek the common ground instead of allowing our differences to be exploited to retard our march to progress,” Governor Wike said on Friday in a state-wide broadcast to mark the Supreme Court ruling on the APC lawsuit.
The governor indicated his intention to withdraw pending criminal cases filed against his arch-rival, Mr Amaechi, and other political actors in the state “to give room for reconciliation”.
“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,” the governor said.
Mr Amaechi, for instance, has been indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry set up by Mr Wike’s administration to probe the alleged sales of gas turbine power stations and other assets belonging to the Rivers government.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Emma Okah, had said last year that Mr Amaechi, while he was governor of Rivers, sold off the power stations to Sahara Energy, owned by a billionaire businessman from the state, Tonye Cole. Mr Cole later became the ill-fated APC governorship candidate in the just concluded governorship election in Rivers.
Mr Okah said the then administration allegedly used the proceeds – N112 billion – to fund the political activities of the APC in the state.
Governor Wike in his broadcast said with the Supreme Court ruling on the APC’s lawsuit, “the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates in the 2019 National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections is legally safe, secured and protected”.
The governor also said, “We salute the opposition for their courage to fight within the confines of the law to the end.
“Now that the legal battle is over, the task of building the State must take precedence over all other considerations.
“I appeal to our people to eschew all acts of acrimony, criminality, unrest, and violence throughout the State. I wish to recommit myself to continue to do all that is humanly possible to ensure the unity and peaceful co-existence of all our people irrespective of political.”