Being address presented by the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi on his defection to the APC
MY dear people of Rivers State. When by God’s grace and with your kindness this administration took over the mantle of leadership on October 26, 2007, we made a promise to serve you “with humility and render transparent and accountable stewardship anchored on integrity and good governance.”
We also promised to “use our God given resources to improve the quality of life of our present and future generations.” We made this commitment to you, fully conscious of the fact that you were hungry for service delivery and that you had placed on us a burden to prove to the world that our beloved RiversState had the potential to rise above the murk and redefine governance and leadership in our country. We understood your mandate very clearly and we remain resolute in our determination to make your proud
Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State
In keeping with our pledge, therefore, to render transparent and accountable stewardship, it has become necessary that we brief you about the recent happenings in our state and my own position on the issues. For me, no personal interest or ambition can be higher than the welfare of a people that gave me their mandate without conditions. While this crisis has raged, many have asked me about what drives my insistence that the Federal administration treats RiversState justly and fairly.
To these people I say: I am driven by my original vision to bring health to the sick, to extend opportunities for education to children of all classes, to bring opportunities for employment to the doorsteps of our youth. I remain stubborn in the hope that this state deserves the benefits of good governance. My disagreement is with some negative forces that stand against the entitlement of Rivers people to a better life.
It is an indisputable fact that I was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party – a conglomeration of several individuals with different ideals but with a goal of edging out the military and ensuring a return to democratic rule. No one was under any illusion that this would be an easy task but that we have enjoyed an unprecedented 14 years of uninterrupted civilian dispensation is a demonstration of how far we have come in our democratic journey.
However, the vestiges of military dictatorship have also remained with us, especially within the context of managing our party but many of us kept faith. Even when the unfortunate incident of an attempt to deprive us of our lawful mandate occurred, we remained with the party urging our supporters to maintain party loyalty and discipline. In the face of great provocation we refused to rock the boat. Our hope was that even when we suffered personal injury our collective interests as a state would remain protected within the party we call our own.
Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South South and indeed as Rivers people. At various times, as the one in whom you had gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalization of our state and our people despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP. While the political and economic importance of RiversState cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.
A few instances may suffice: • Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to AkwaIbomState and should be returned to us, only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned.
In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal government continues to pay neighbouring BayelsaState the revenues meant for RiversState in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.
Our chiefs and elders have attended several meetings and protested this injustice to no avail. As your governor entrusted to keep guard over your common wealth, we could not keep quiet and allow this grave injustice. For this reason, we have been vilified, threatened and blackmailed but we insist on discharging our responsibility to you, no matter the odds.