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Amaechi after me – Odili

Posted by From JACOB EDI, LUCKY NWANKWERE, GODWIN TSA, Abuja and PHILIP NWOSU, Lagos on 2008/06/18 | Views: 2340 |

Amaechi after me – Odili


Former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili on Tuesday accused the state governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi of setting up the truth and reconciliation commission to disgrace him.

Former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili on Tuesday accused the state governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi of setting up the truth and reconciliation commission to disgrace him.
He denied having a hand in the brutal killings of Chief Aminosari Dikibo and Dr. Marshal Harry, both illustrious sons of Rivers State.

The duo of Dikibo and Harry, who were former national vice chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) respectively were killed in controversial circumstances.

Odili, who was among those granted concession to appear before the commission in Abuja, accused Gov Amaechi of being after him. He stressed that the incumbent governor constituted the commission headed by retired Justice Kayode Eso to embarrass and denigrate him, while expressing doubt whether the commission would get at the truth.

He said: "The allegations against me are baseless and wicked. This public hearing is a drama and this committee is set up to smear me, discredit my government and my good works. I have my doubts whether this commission will get at the truth."

The former governor, who gave his testimony at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, venue of the sitting, also told the commission, in his opening submission, that there was no time Governor Amaechi advised him against sponsoring cult activities, as alleged.

He also said that within the eight years he presided over the affairs of Rivers State, as governor, he received and spent N708.3 billion as against N1.3 trillion being speculated by his opponents.
Although Odili described the current situation in Rivers State as "pathetic," he was unable to substantiate his claims during cross examination. He said that "leadership must be humble and there is need for elders in the state to re-assess their role in building the state."

On the murder of Dikibo and Harry, Odili said: "I deny in the name of God that I have nothing with them and I challenge anyone with evidence to come out."
He, however, admitted having squabbles with Marshal Harry but said it was resolved.
The former governor also denied that his party, the PDP, used thugs to win elections and that he had no need to rig election or raise thugs because he was popular.
Odili reeled out list of his achievements and challenged anybody "with evidence of kick-back to make it public."

On how he was able to block security lapses in the state, as governor, Odili said the failure of the law enforcement agents could not be the responsibility of a state governor "because you have no troops under you. In fact, the commissioner of police should have a legal instrument to take instructions from state governors more seriously."

Asked whether he would subscribe to calls for the emergence of state police, Odili stated: "I advocate true federalism."

The former governor said though he was ready to forgive and be forgiven, "the conduct of the governor thus far does not encourage my coming home. He is the chief executive officer of the state and he is very critical to the peace we will attain in the state."
Odili denied the allegation by Chief Marshal Harry’s son that he, Dr. Abiye Sekibo and Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Tonye Harry have a hand in his father’s death. He insisted he did not commit the crime.

The son of the late politician had alleged that Odili warned his father, who, at the time was in London, not to return to the country for the preparation of the ANPP presidential rally in Rivers State.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the commission, Justice Eso has solicited the Federal Government’s support in ensuring the safety of activists billed to testify before the commission in Abuja.
He made the appeal on Tuesday when he led other members of the commission on a courtesy visit on Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He told the vice president that the commission was in the process of interviewing and taking evidence from activists, stating, "we have seen signs that they will respond to the commissions’ efforts, but they also have expressed reservations about their safety."

While promising not to fail in his current assignment, he called on the Federal Government to support the Rivers State government in enthroning peace in the state and particularly ensuring a smooth passage for the activists.

Eso said the commission moved to the Federal Capital, Abuja, in continuation of its public sitting, "to take evidence of some of the people who have expressed concerns for their safety."
The vice president gave the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all those who seek to testify before the commission and also pledged amnesty for those who, as part of the agitation in the region, fell foul of the law and are now willing to make amends.

He commended Governor Amechi for setting up the commission, noting, "as a former speaker in the last administration and now a sitting governor, it must have taken courage to set up this commission. This shows a great commitment on the part of the governor to see to the end of the crisis in Rivers State."

Jonathan also restated government’s determination to use the proposed Niger Delta Summit to redress the under-development of the region, promising that the summit would be a forum to give firm commitment to the development needs of the region.

"The Niger Delta summit will achieve clear results. President Umar Yar’Adua is totally committed to bringing lasting peace to the region, hence, there will be a commitment on the part of the Federal Government and all recommendations at the summit will be carried out to the letter," Jonathan promised.

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