Amaechi and the controversial abandoned property

News broke around Rivers State last week that former governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had offered to review the abandoned property’s issue or pay compensation.

Governor Nyesom Wike reacted fiercely to this and described it as unconscionable. Wike said the talk would instigate hostility.

All political parties seem to target votes from people of South East origin and abandoned property could be at the heart of such people.

Most others however, think that giving conducive business atmosphere is more germane to the present generation of South Easterners.

Saying the case was settled legally and could provoke hostility, Wike recalled that Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers State, had recently promised the Igbos that if they voted for his APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, in Saturday’s election, the State would return to Igbo owners their property declared abandoned by the military government immediately after the Nigerian Civil War.

Addressing journalists in Government House, Port Harcourt after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Gov Wike, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, described Amaechi’s attempt to play politics with the hot button issue of abandoned property that is considered legally closed and cannot be revisited as “distasteful.”

Reacting, Amaechi said he never promised to return abandoned property to anybody.

He said: “We have observed as unscrupulous and ill-advised elements have twisted and misrepresented the speech made by Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi during his stakeholders meeting with Igbos in Rivers State last week.

“We are astonished that even the respected Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers fell for the false story and fake news being propagated by the Rivers State governor without making any effort to clarify what Amaechi actually said; yet they went ahead to address the media, castigating and condemning the immediate past Rivers State governor on the basis of a fake, ill-conceived story obviously concocted by the current failed Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.”

For record purposes, Amaechi stated, “We hereby state the fact as it is: that Amaechi did not and have never said anything about compensation on abandoned properties to the Igbos in Rivers State;

“That he only rehashed his apology to the Igbos when he became governor of Rivers State, that he was sorry on behalf of the State on abandoned properties from the Nigerian civil war.

“That if he had been in power at that time, he would never have let that happen.”

His words, “All of us who are here know that when I became governor, the first thing I said to the Igbos was ‘I am sorry, I am sorry on abandoned property. I said, if I were governor when they were doing abandoned property, I would not accept. So in my speech to the Igbos (as governor), I said I am sorry on behalf of Rivers State.”

He went on to state that he only mentioned compensation when he spoke about people who are being intimidated, harassed and threatened with violence due to their choice of voting and support for the APC in the upcoming Governorship and State Assembly election.

He said, “We need you to come out; we need you to stand; we need you not to be harassed. If they burn any of your houses or they burn any of your shops, write your name and give to us we will replace everything they burn; everything you lose. Rivers State government will not start if we win, without paying you back.”

Amaechi said this was the true state of things. “And we urge Rivers people to ignore and discountenance the misconstrued alcohol-fueled tirades being peddled by the utterly shameless Governor Nyesom Wike and his agents of falsehood and purveyors of fake news,” he said.

Now that all parties agree that abandoned property issue is not on the table, and blows no good wind to anybody, it’s time to move on. Abandoned property is very sweet to the gainers, very bitter to the losers; yet, going back to it is worse pain for everybody.

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