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Why Ake replace Dikibo, by Anthony Anenih

Posted by From Alifa Daniel, Abuja on 2004/07/23 | Views: 1666 |

Why Ake replace Dikibo, by Anthony Anenih


THE chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chef Tony Anenih yesterday explained that the party chose Mr. Godspower Ake to replace the late Chief A.K Dikibo because it was still the turn of Rivers State to produce the National Vice Chairman of the party for the South-South geo-political zone.

THE chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chef Tony Anenih yesterday explained that the party chose Mr. Godspower Ake to replace the late Chief A.K Dikibo because it was still the turn of Rivers State to produce the National Vice Chairman of the party for the South-South geo-political zone.

The swearing -in of Ake in Abuja last week had torn the zone apart with four other governors of the zone angry that their states were shortchanged by the Rivers Governor, Dr. Peter Odili and Anenih.

In fact, the six governors of the zone, party sources said, were billed to meet President Olusegun Obasanjo as part of efforts to resolve the disagreement.

Also yesterday, chairman of Forum of South-East Traditional Rulers, Dr. Ezo Ukandu, leading a delegation of 11 traditional rulers on a thank-you visit to Anenih, said that they would ensure that the on-going impeachment proceeding against Abia State Deputy Governor Dr. Chima Nwafor was withdrawn.

On the face-off over the appointment of Ake, Anenih told journalists yesterday: "The National Secretariat of the party wrote Rivers State to nominate somebody for the un-expired period (Dikibo's tenure would have expired in December 2005). The letter was written and signed by the National Secretary of the party, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor.

"On the receipt of the letter, the Executive Committee of Rivers State nominated Godspower Ake and sent the nomination to the National Secretariat. The National Secretariat in turn accepted Ake's nomination and wrote the Chairman of Rivers State chapter of the party that Ake would be sworn-in last Wednesday. That was what happened, because Bayelsa State is up till today retaining the position of Deputy National Organising Secretary."

Anenih stated that the position of National Vice Chairman (South-south) and Deputy National Organising Secretary were zoned to Rivers and Bayelsa States in 1999 and 2003, adding that the states shared the positions and would keep them until December 2005 National Convention when the four-year tenure would expire. Bayelsa candidate is still the Deputy National Organising Secretary.

"What Rivers State did was to obey the instruction of the National Secretariat, which was proper. If there was any gang-up by a group of people, I take it as an unfortunate thing.

"What the party has done is the correct thing according to our constitution and the zoning arrangement which all stakeholders in the South-South zone, including state chairmen, who did not agree with the nomination by Bayelsa State governor, as he already has the Deputy National Organising Secretary and the two positions cannot be in one state.

"I am happy that the National Working Committee did the right thing. There would have been a disaster if the reverse were the case. But South-South leaders have a way of settling problems within the zone and I believe that the dusts raised have settled.

"We are now working together to move the zone forward in tthe scheme of things without bitterness, because all the governors are mature and understanding".

Ukandu, who spoke with reporters in Abuja after his delegation met with Anenih said: "... traditional rulers from the South-East geo-political zone, the Oba of Benin and the governor of Edo State played a very important role in the resolution of the crisis and we are happy about it; and the elder statesman (Chief Anenih) was also very, very helpful as well as the governor of Abia State.

"Both of them needed peace; they were happy and we were able to make peace for them. This is because, it would go a long way to moving this nation forward and that is why we feel that as traditional rulers, our natural job is to make peace in the country and we will continue to traverse all the areas in the country to make sure that Nigerian is peaceful."

Ukandu said that the terms of the settlement were acceptable to the parties, pointing out. "You know that Chief Anenih is an elder statesman; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu apologised because it was misinformation that caused the whole problem and when we found out that this would not augur well for the nation, we intervened and Orji Kalu apologised and Chief Anenih withdrew the case from court.

"We are on official duty in Abuja and we felt that we should come and thank the elder statesman on how he respected the traditional rulers."

On the travails of the Abia Deputy Governor the traditional ruler said: "Governor Kalu has appealed to the lawmakers to withdraw the impeachment proceeding and every other well-meaning person is prepared to wade into the matter to make sure that the impeachment proceeding is withdrawn.

"We are traditional rulers; we are not political and what we want is peace; if there is anything we can do to make sure that the impeachment proceedings is withdrawn, we will do it."

Speaking on the meeting, Anenih stated that the traditional rulers came to thank him for embracing peace and withdrawing the suit he filed against Governor Kalu from court. He said that he told them hat they would need to do a lot of work in the State, particularly in respect of the relationship between the Governor and his deputy.

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