Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State yesterday said he is remaining in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP affirming that purveyors of his desperation for higher office had no right to bring down the country because of their assumptions.
Speaking on a BBC television interview, Hardtalk, Amaechi asserted that problems between him and the president were essentially fanned by those in the presidency bent on profiting from a crisis.
In the 25-minute interview anchored by Shaun Ley, Amaechi painted a triangle of insecurity, poverty and unemployment as the major problems of the country which the political class must address. He said the qualification of leadership must not be ethnicised as he called for a visionary leader.
While pleading for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB as a way of addressing decreasing investment by multinational oil corporations, Amaechi nevertheless called for the abrogation of the office of minister of petroleum or reduction of the powers of the minister under the PIB.
Amaechi also restated his opposition to the administration’s amnesty programme which he said partially rewards criminality and has fanned the embers of criminality in other parts of the country.
Challenged that his focus has been on ascending to higher office of vice-president, he said: “That has not been my focus. My focus has been mainly on developments. We have disagreements on policies, this is the transition period, we have disagreements on the issue of transition and there are a lot of assumptions here and there by different persons about what they think or assume my ambitions are.”
“Let us assume that my ambition exists, nobody has the right to bring down the state because my ambition exists. First and foremost everybody should allow 2015 for 2015 is a bit too early.”
Charging stakeholders to allow the president do his job of presiding over the country, the governor said:
“I want everybody to allow Mr. president to preside over the country for which he has been elected and I support that and I want everybody to allow Mr. President to preside over the country for the interest of the country.”
Challenged that he had raised charges of impunity against the president in the past, he sharply drew back saying:
“I didn’t say the president, I said the people around him.”
When asked whether he was told not to run against Governor Jonah Jang who the interviewer described as the oldest politician in the NGF, Amaechi replied:
”Nobody told me not to run. Nobody told me not to run.” But on whether he informed the president he was going to run for the NGF chair, he said:
”There is no law that requires me to tell him that I am going to run.
I didn’t need to. If the journalists in Britain have an association and you belong to the association would the prime minister tell you to run or not to run for the public office?” he asked.
“That is the freedom we are looking for in the Nigeria Governors Forum, I didn’t need to go to the president and say Mr. President I want to run for the office of the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. I didn’t need to do that.
“And I didn’t do that and he in turn didn’t call me to say don’t run, ‘I heard you are going to run.’ So, I ran and I didn’t see the president on the ballot. The person I saw on the ballot was Jonah Jang.”
Challenged on the outcome of the vote and on whether he beat Jang, he quipped: ”I didn’t say that I beat him, the result was clear.”
On his continuing membership of the PDP and on whether he would leave the PDP, Amaechi affirmed: ”I am going no where. We will all be in PDP.”
Told that he was sticking to PDP because the party is the country’s dominant party and the only platform to the presidency or other high office, he is accused of aspiring to, he said: ”Let’s assume that I remain in PDP and that I am running for the office of vice-president, will my leaving PDP not enhance that ambition?
“Don’t forget that it is assumed that the president wants to run in PDP and if PDP wants him to run and I remain in PDP, it then means that I have no ambition.
“Or those who are assuming that I have ambition would be making a lot of mistakes. Because the place to pursue that ambition would be on an alternative party but the reason for remaining in PDP is because nobody can chase me out of PDP. I am a member of PDP and I love to be a member of PDP.”
Amaechi blamed the tension in the country on 2015 politics.
“The point is that we are getting close to transition and politics is one of the greatest businesses in Nigeria and a lot of those whose interests appear to be threatened have come up now to pursue their very private interests and as governor of Rivers State my focus is not on that.
“My focus is to pursue the goals for which I have been elected.”
Culled from Vanguard.