• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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South-South dividing against itself


It’s often claimed that there’s no rift between Governor Amaechi and President Jonathan. For the ears, that’s good news, but the red line is where good news meets ambition. We don’t need any formal announcement to know that President Jonathan wants a second term. Some in the party are against and it’s been reported that indeed, some spirited enthusiasts had taken steps to enlist Governor Lamido into the president-to-be project with Governor Amaechi as his vice. Amaechi of Ikwere extract, as they call themselves, Jonathan of Ijaw, both in the South-South trough, are about to drill break-in holes.

Naturally in the African setting, it’s not friendly to find one you call ‘my own’ in the camp of the one ‘not my own’. To this cultural extent, there’s a default. Why Amaechi wilfully wants to drink from this cup is unclear. Recall, Madam Jonathan flared when Amaechi failed to give her attention during the campaigns. Recall too how the governor fought to rescue his colleague Timipre Silva when Jonathan marked him out for demolition. Reason: Silva allied with Jonathan’s opponents to frustrate his becoming the acting president. Having survived, he fought back. Knowing this background, should Amaechi stick out too far? Sure, he’s right to stand by a colleague, perhaps a friend, but not being discreet soon turns a diver into the drowning. Now, he’s fingered to be the anointed of a remote Sule Lamido while his own man is on seat. In the American setting, nothing wrong with that, but not quite so here or at least, not yet. James Ibori once overrated himself trying to sideline Jonathan in the days of Jonathan’s making. But, of all the thieving leaders we’ve had, Ibori is the only one caught and disgraced. I ask again, why would Amaechi who’s been working to make a difference want to drink from this cup?

The silent Jonathan many have erroneously called ‘weak’ is ‘straightly’ a covert ironman. Allegation has it that he covertly moved to cede the 

 disputed Soku Oil Well between Bayelsa and Rivers to Bayelsa. Amaechi himself alleged that the development was not unconnected with moves to cut him to size and deny him the 


finances needed to actualise his rumoured vice presidential ambition. Right or wrong, he has lost revenue and part-power. He is the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), but that’s until May, if at all. Already, his colleague Godswill Akpabio, also of South-South, now elected to replace him, has talked about ‘Judases’ in the party who are more than the ‘disciples’. ‘If the Judases were up to nine, Jesus would have been in trouble and the gospel would have been in trouble today… the PDP is trying to cleanse its house to identify the Judases and whisper to them and say, go out, the train is moving and you cannot stand otherwise we will crush you.’ Note: ‘crush’.

Coming nearer home, Dickson, the Bayelsa State governor, has gone to Rivers State to tell the Ijaw that Ikwere shouldn’t be allowed to bring down their son. Ethnic. Getting Akpabio to his side, the grudge-line is setting. Imoke of Cross River is not happy: some oil wells were moved from his state to Akwa-Ibom. Uduaghan is not happy: his cousin Ibori is seeing shame under Jonathan. Oshiomohle is gone. Imoke, Uduaghan aligning with Amaechi may be sentimentally right but politically a hang-tree.

The riddle is: leadership the South-South should use to get it right in the Nigerian project is turning out more wrong than right. You ask why? Ethnic nationalities abound without super-ordinate structures. Every tongue is a nation to itself. At the slightest offence, the aggrieved pull the carpet to bring all down. 

Rather than develop structures that unite, they ally with opponents to dismantle their own. Many of their today’s vociferous leaders did it in Eastern Region. Rather than work to find solution to in-house problems, they ran to another region, sold their kin and in the end turned themselves beggars to the invited. It’s the same thing playing out now. But, must it be Amaechi?

Looking inwards to find those super-ordinate structures that unite people and ideas is it. The pursuit of now-pleasure at the expense of that which endures isn’t it. They did it during the war and destroyed the East, now they are doing it against themselves with untellable implications.

Jonathan may silence Amaechi but he would lose the spirit of the South and during electioneering its consequence will show. Amaechi is acting indiscreetly to carry his grudge too far. There are many good-spirited Easterners close to the president he could approach rather than this leap into oblivion. Outside alliance against inside cohesion is bad spirit. He should rethink it.

Well-meaning South-South/South-Easterners should call this halt. The brunt will be theirs after all.