THE Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday fired what seemed to be another salvo at the state Governor-elect, Chief Nyesom Wike, ahead of the Friday’s inauguration. Amaechi, who declared that he would not forgive or settle the feud between him and Wike, unless justice was seen to have been done, had on Tuesday accused the governor-elect of being behind the deaths recorded in the state during the general elections. Wike had denied the allegation. The governor made this declaration during his 50th birthday thanksgiving service at the Corpus Christi Cathedral in Port Harcourt, while reacting to the plea by the Catholic Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Camillus Etokudoh, that both politicians (Amaechi and Wike) should reconcile their differences in the interest of the people. Amaechi, who agreed that the views of the bishop in a Catholic church should not be opposed, maintained that justice must come before forgiveness, adding that those that were killed during the general elections and their families must get justice. Amaechi expressed surprise that the bishop congratulated Wike on his victory during the governorship election in the state, even as he called on the church to join the All Progressives Congress in praying that the party reclaimed its mandate. He pointed out that the mandate of the APC in the state must be reclaimed at the election petition tribunal before any reconciliation could be embraced.
“My Lordship talked about forgiveness. In the Catholic Church you don’t oppose the views of your bishop. His words represent an order. If you oppose him you may be barred from taking Holy Communion. “You are not a true Catholic if you don’t receive the Holy Communion. But Your Lordship, the same Catholic doctrine also states that justice comes before forgiveness. “All those that were killed during the last general elections must get justice. Their families must get justice. Our party, the All Progressives Congress, must get justice first at the petition election tribunal. Our mandate must be retrieved at the tribunal. “I am surprised that My Lordship congratulated Nyesom Wike here today. I am using this opportunity to call on the Church to join the APC in praying to God so that we can reclaim our mandate. “Reclaiming our mandate at the election petition tribunal will represent a measure of justice. We must seek justice before reconciliation,” the governor stressed.
Amaechi, however, said that he was shocked by some of the people that betrayed him, adding that God will forgive them at the appropriate time. He thanked members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, who, according to him, supported him without getting money from him. “I was shocked by some of the people that betrayed me. At the appropriate time, God will forgive them. Let me use this opportunity to thank members of the Rivers State House of Assembly for their support all through the crisis. I did not give them money to stand by me. I commend them for their sacrifice,” he said. He explained that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mrs. Gesila Khan, had not given the APC the voter register, which the Independent National Electoral Commission used in conducting the last general elections in the state. Earlier, the Catholic Bishop, Etokudoh, had congratulated Wike for his electoral victory and urged him and Amaechi to settle their differences. “As for the outgoing governor and the incoming governor, I urge them to work together so that there will be peace. We need peace in Rivers State. “There can be no reconciliation without forgiveness. There will be no peace without reconciliation. So, it is time for the outgoing governor and the incoming governor to reconcile so that peace will return to Rivers State. No matter their differences, they should reconcile in the interest of peace,” Bishop Etokudoh, who was delivering a sermon at the event, added. The cleric described Amaechi as a courageous person, adding that the governor had touched many lives in the eight years that he was the chief executive of the state. Etokudoh, however, stated that though Amaechi performed creditably as a governor, some people still prefer to begrudge him. Among those at the occasion are Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; a former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; a former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rufus Ada-George; a former Transport Minister, Alabo Graham-Douglas; and Kaduna State Governor-elect, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.