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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole and his Rivers State counterpart, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, have said they are not losing sleep over the alleged plot by President Goodluck Jonathan to push for their impeachment.
The duo said the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party could not impeach them as the case of a former governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Murtala Nyako.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had at a press conference on Wednesday alleged that Jonathan and the PDP were out to remove the governors of Edo, Nasarawa, Osun, Borno and Rivers states.
But Oshiomhole, through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, said he was popularly elected by the overwhelming majority of Edo people.
He said, “The thought of impeachment does not cross our hearts. First, what would be the rationale? Secondly, the APC has majority in the Assembly. Thirdly, the governor is on ground. Fourthly, he is performing. We are not losing sleep over that because we have capacity for decency when it comes to real issues of political engagement.”
He accused the PDP of impunity, which he said was fast eroding democratic principles in the country.
He added, “If the PDP is now engaged in a gestapo manner with a gale of impeachment here and there, and with clear-cut abuses, it is the responsibility of the media to expose such dubiety and save our democracy from collapse.”
Afegbua said that the APC would not lose elections in Edo State, adding that the governor had performed.
In Rivers State, Amaechi and his followers said they were aware of the threat of impeachment in order to force the governor back to the PDP, but added that such threat would not work.
Describing the threat to make him return to the PDP as a dull dream and a wild goose chase, the governor, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Chief Tony Okocha, explained that the formal move by 25 members of the state House of Assembly to the APC on Wednesday had foreclosed any thought of his (Amaechi) removal as the state governor.
He said, “It is a wild goose chase because no threat of impeachment from the Presidency will make the governor cave in. Twenty-five PDP Assembly members have all defected formerly to the APC, all in solidarity with the governor.
“We are aware of such threats of impeachment, but it is not working. The coffin has been nailed and there is nothing they (Presidency) can do about it,” he added.
Amaechi, however, said he would not quit politics as a result of the threat to impeach him or force him to join the PDP, adding that his political future remains in the hands of God and the people of the state.
On the recent impeachment of Murtala Nyako as the governor of Adamawa State, Amaechi said though he was worried that his colleague was removed, the scenarios in Adamawa and Rivers states were different.
He said, “When the lawmakers were all in the PDP was even when we thought that impeachment would happen. Now, everybody in Rivers State has resolved that Governor Chibuike Amaechi will serve out his eight years.
“People are defecting enmasse to APC. So, they need to come and break our ranks here before they can achieve their plan. The threat to impeach Amaechi so that he will return to the PDP will not work; it is wishy-washy, it is a dull dream.”
But Chairman of the PDP in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, dismissed allegation by the APC national chairman.
He stated, “We are looking anxiously towards the next rounds of elections in 2015 and 2016 when we shall teach Adams Oshiomhole a political lesson.”
Orbih said that although the PDP was not interested in impeaching Oshiomhole, the APC was under fear because information from the governor’s quarters indicated that he had committed impeachable offences.
He said, “I also want to use this opportunity to call on the honourable members of the Edo State House of Assembly that there can be no smoke without fire.
“It appears that Oshiomhole has committed impeachable offences, hence, the fear expressed by Oyegun and himself that he could be impeached.
“For us as a party, we are not interested in his impeachment. But from the noise coming out of his quarters, it appears the man has been involved in many impeachable offences.”
On the allegations of impeachment in APC states raised by the APC national chairman, the PDP chairman said the opposition raised the alarm due to fear of defeat in 2015.
He said he did not see any reason non- legislative members would engage themselves in talks bothering on impeachment when the state legislators had the constitutional right to do so.
Meanwhile, despite his removal as the Governor of Adamawa State and threats of arrest for treason, Nyako had said that he would not withdraw his controversial memo to the northern governors even on his death-bed.
Nyako, who spoke with Saturday PUNCH through his media aide, Ahmad Sajoh, said information at his disposal had now shown that the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party were deeply involved in his impeachment.
There have been reports that Nyako, who has gone underground since his impeachment on Tuesday, would be arrested for treason over the memo to the northern governors on April 4, 2014.
Nyako, in the memo, had accused President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration of genocide against the North.
He had accused the administration of organising the killing of citizens and then quickly attributing same to the Boko Haram sect.
Nyako had stated, “Cases of mass murders by its bloody minded killers and cut-throats are well known, but it attributes the killings to the so-called Boko-Haram.
“The administration has also hired militia from all across, especially North Africa, who have been deceived into accepting to come because they were made to believe that they would be fighting infidels.”
He accused Jonathan’s administration of using “mass murderers/cut-throats imbedded in our legitimate and traditional defence and security organisations” to carry out the genocide claims.
Nyako said the administration was determined to create strife between Muslims and Christians in the North or between one ethnic group and another.
The governor’s aide said Nyako made the allegations based on the information available to him as a retired Admiral in the Nigerian Navy.
According to him, before writing the memo, the governor considered all options.
Asked whether the governor would withdraw the statement now that he had been impeached, Sajoh said, “That is something that is not possible. We believe that based on the information available to him as a retired Admiral in the Nigerian Navy; having a very sound military background, having been the person that had the privilege of setting up the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Navy and being a person that knows exactly what security issues are concerned, he weighed all the options before making that statement. And I can tell you that even on his death-bed, he stands by that statement.”
The governor, however, made a U-turn on the involvement of the President and the Peoples Democratic Party in his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.
Nyako, had on July 4 said the President had no hand in the impeachment saga initiated by lawmakers in Adamawa State.
Nyako blamed “some senior citizens” of Adamawa based in Abuja for the political imbroglio bedevilling the state.
He said, “The Presidency is not planning a plot to remove me from office contrary to speculations.
“We know that Adamawa State is full of intellectuals, when issues arise, we use different approaches to address them. That is the cause of the political differences we have, but not much outside interference.”
Sajoh, however, said subsequent information available to the governor showed that the PDP and the Presidency were involved in the impeachment.
He stated, “Information now available and subsequent actions that were taken by the Presidency and the PDP national headquarters and other persons very close to the President must definitely make anyone change his position with regard to whether the Presidency was involved or not.
“But of course, at the time he made the statement, he made it believing that it was an Adamawa internal affair.
“With the turn of events and the things that happened at the time of the impeachment till date, one will not say the same thing today.”
The governor also said that despite his removal, he had no regrets for decisions he took while in office.
Sajoh stated, “The former governor took whatever decision he took believing that the bases upon which such decisions were taken were right. He took rational decisions and as a human being barring the limits of his mortality, he has no regrets whatsoever.” The media aide said the governor’s conscience was clear because the bases on which the decisions were taken were right.
“As a retired officer of the Nigerian Armed forces and gentleman and as a credible person, he has no regret dumping the PDP and he has no intention of returning to the party,” Sajoh added.
Efforts to get the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisah Metuh, to react to the insistence of Nyako on his memo and allegations over impeachment did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone did not go through neither did he respond to the SMS sent to him. But Metuh, had in a statement on Wednesday, said the PDP did not wish to join issues with the APC.
He stated, “Nigerians know that this is part of the orchestrated plot by the APC to discredit and blackmail institutions of government, particularly the legislature, the citadel of democracy and stronghold of the will of the people and ultimately set the stage to destabilise the polity.”