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Effort to reconcile Amaechi, Wike fails

By Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Joseph Onyekwere (Lagos)
29 May 2015   |   4:53 am
ATTEMPT to broker a truce between Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the governor-elect, Nyesom Wike, has failed.

AMAECHICourt rejects bid to halt inauguration 

ATTEMPT to broker a truce between Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi and the governor-elect, Nyesom Wike, has failed.

The frosty relationship, which is situated on the allegation by the governor that Wike was behind the spate of politically motivated killings that claimed over 90 lives in the state in recent times, has been denied by the governor-elect. T

he Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Dr. Camillus Etokudor, had at Governor Amaechi’s 50th birthday thanksgiving service organised by his friends at Corpus Christi Cathedral, Port Harcourt, yesterday appealed to the him to settle whatever political differences between him and Wike, in the interest of the people of Rivers State.

Meanwhile, Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos has refused an ex parte application to stop the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiru, from swearing in the governor-elect today.

“There can be no reconciliation without forgiveness. There will be no peace without reconciliation. So, it is time for the outgoing governor and the incoming governor to reconcile so that peace will return to Rivers State.

No matter their differences, they should reconcile in the interest of peace,” Etokudor appealed. The cleric, who congratulated Wike on his electoral victory, described Amaechi as a courageous person who performed creditably well in office, during which he touched many lives in a positive way.

But the governor, in his response, rebuffed the entreaty, insisting that justice must be seen to have been done before he can think of forgiving and settling with Wike, whom he recommended for a ministerial appointment having served in the State Executive Council his Chief of Staff from 2007 to 2011.

The applicants are three Lagos-based legal practitioners, namely Monday Ubani, John Nwokwu and Gabriel Okoro.

Joined as respondents in the suit marked as FHC/L/CS/769/2015 are the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Justice Abiru and Wike. Justice Buba, while turning down the application, said granting such would amount to “adding insult upon injury” of the people of Rivers State, who currently “have no judiciary”.

The judge held that though the applicants had a meritorious cause of action because the issues bordered on the sanctity of the constitution, granting their ex parte application might occasion a state of anarchy in the state. “My Lordship talked about forgiveness.

In the Catholic Church, you don’t oppose the views of your bishop. His words represent an order. If you oppose him, you may be barred from taking Holy Communion.

You are not a true Catholic if you don’t receive the Holy Communion. But Your Lordship, the same Catholic doctrine also states that justice comes before forgiveness,” he said The governor continued: “All those that were killed during the last general elections must get justice. Their families must get justice.

Our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), must get justice first at the election petitions tribunal. Our mandate must be retrieved at the tribunal. I am surprised that my Lordship congratulated Nyesom Wike here today.

I am using this opportunity to call on the Church to join the APC in praying to God so that we can reclaim our mandate. Reclaiming our mandate at the election petitions tribunal will represent a measure of justice.

We must seek justice before reconciliation,” he stated. The governor accused the INEC Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in the state, Mrs. Gesila Khan, of frustrating his party’s bid to inspect the voters’ register used in conducting the last general elections in the state.

Reacting in a statement signed by his campaign organisation’s spokesperson, Emma Okah, the governor- elect, said Amaechi should not be taken serious as “he needs to kill anyone to win the 2015 general elections in the state”, wondering why the governor, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state, has kept quiet or refused to press criminal charges against him until he (Wike) is about to be sworn in as governor.

Justice Buba said: “I am of the firm view that no court should make the order ex parte to further compound the problems in Rivers State”.

The applicants had argued that Justice Abiru cannot swear-in Wike because the constitution only allowed the state’s Chief Judge or the President of the Customary Court of Appeal to do so.

Adoke, had in a statement on May 19, requested Justice Abiru to swear in the governor-elect today because the state currently has no substantive Chief Judge. He said the directive was in line with the constitution and urged the citizens to take note and respect it.

But Nwokwu, who deposed to a 25-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte application, claimed that Adoke’s directive “is already causing public confusion and uncertainty in the country.”

The applicants, therefore, sought an order restraining the second respondent from administering the oath of office on the third respondent on the basis of the directive of the first respondent and to stay all actions pending the determination of the substantive suit.

In the alternative, they wanted the court to make an order restraining the defendants whether by themselves, agents, servants and privies from taking any further steps until the suit is determined.

They had claimed that it would be in the interest of justice to grant the ex parte application. But the judge rejected it, saying: “We cannot all be shallow or be shallow-minded.

There should be no room for anarchy.” Consequently, Justice Buba adjourned till June 29 to hear the motion on notice.