Before the emergence of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi as executive Governor of Rivers state, the state was witnessing Insecurity almost on daily basis. But his Excellency tackled the insecurity headlong and achieved tranquility in the polity.
Unfortunately, on April 15, 2013, the whole state observed a major political upheaval arising from the judgement of Justice Isaq .U. Bello of the High Court of the Federal capital territory, which sacked the Rivers state executives of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) led by Chief G.U. Ake and replaced them with Bro. Felix Obuah led state executives, with partisan evidences. This decision jolted the peace of the state, considering that Obuah and his group never contested for positions in the state executive of PDP.
As law abiding citizens, the Ake led executives challenged the judgement in court not minding the fact that the judgement was partisan and was delivered at a time the workers had closed and it was difficult to obtain stay of execution.
On the next day at 7am, the PDP national Chairman swore in the Obuah led executives and thus cementing the effort of the Ake led executives from obtaining the stay of execution.
On the same day of the judgement, the commissioner of police in the state, with despatch sealed up the state PDP secretariat thus preventing Ake led executives from entering into the building or taking away their personal effects. The commissioner of police took the action not withstanding the fact that the police was not a party to the suit or.not asked by the court through its sheriff to do so. He followed it up with a press conference on April 19,2013, where he said that he was in the state to enforce the law and that since there was a judgement that he would enforce it until the contrary and threatened to deal ruthlessly with anybody who challenged his decision. This action of his made the people of the state to read meaning as to his impartiality, considering that the police were not a party to the suit.
The Rivers State House of Assembly acting independently but unfortunately coinciding with the crisis, suspended the Obio-Akpor Local Government Council Chairman and 17 councillors based on a petition of financial impropriety and other fraud related allegations, which the House had been working on. The suspension was in accordance with the Rivers State laws on local government. The House directed the executive according to the law to appoint and set up a caretaker committee.
To this end, Mr. Chikorsi Dike led caretaker committee was constituted and sworn in on April 23rd, 2013. After the House of Assembly’s decision, the Obuah led executive issued an ultimatum, demanding the revocation of the decision from the House. On the expiration of the ultimatum, the Obuah led PDP state executives purportedly suspended 27 members out of the 32 state Assembly members.
On May 6,2013, group of hired thugs and ex-militants supporting Obuah’s faction, brandishing and wielding dangerous weapons of all kinds invaded the Rivers State House of Assembly and prevented them.from sitting. No effort was made by the police command to prevent these hoodlums from having access to the Assembly premises, despite the fact that the Police high command premises is opposite the Assembly. Even the police attached to the Assembly watched with indifference until the siege was over.
Earlier, on the same day, a group of hoodlums had also seized the Obio-Akpor Local Government Council and the police did nothing to disperse them.
Subsequently, the police drove out the chairman of the caretaker committee and sealed up the Obio-Akpor Local Government Council. It remained sealed up even when the chairman of the caretaker committee obtained the judgement of the court, asking the police to vacate the premises.
On May17, 2013, the commissioner of.police invited the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree to appear before him for writing a letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the political crisis in Rivers State and for withdrawing the police security of the speaker and chief of staff as well as the fear of the speaker that the life of the governor could be in danger of assassination.
The most worrisome development was when the state governor, communicated to the Assembly of his wish to present a minor amendment on some areas of the 2013 budget. Acting on the letter, the speaker of the House communicated to the commissioner of police and other security agencies to beef up security at the Assembly premises for the sitting.
On that day, there was high presence of.police, which the House thought was to secure the place and prevent uninvited guests from gaining access to the premises. On the contrary, the police allowed everybody including thugs allegedly sympathetic to Obuah’s faction and former Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, unrestricted access to the premises led by a member of the House, Hon. Evans Bipi.
As soon as the House was about to sit, Hon. Bipi attacked the House leader and Speaker, joined by four other members, with their thugs chanting war songs outside. Other members took to their heels. Property and compiter sets belonging to the Assembly were destroyed in a swoop. The leader was slapped several times and camera stands were used to flog him. The Assembly Speaker was not exempted as he received hot slaps from Bipi and his cohorts.
While this brigandage was going on, the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi arrived to rescue the 23 members trapped at the Assembly complex and to control the situation from degenerating to death.
Shortly before the arrival of the governor, Bipi had appointed himself the Speaker and was reading his acceptance speech. It was at this point that it dawned on the majority of members that the violence was a ploy to impeach the Speaker and maybe get at the governor. After the rescue by the governor, the rest of the members prevailed on them and sat after the sitting had degenerated into a fisticuff. While this was going on, the then Rivers state police commissioner watched from his window and the command made no effort to drive away the hoodlums who attacked even the Deputy Governor and his entourage after the State Governor had gone.
What happened at the Assembly was a plot by the five members loyal to the Obuah led PDP state executive, to intimidate and foist themselves into the leadership of the house with the collaboration of the police. Their intention was to take over the House leadership illegally and maybe to impeach the governor and his deputy and appoint Bipi as the acting governor, leaving the state governor and the leadership of the House to prolonged litigation while hiding under the cover of the Federal government.
On Thursday, July 25,2013, the Senate resolved to join the House of Representatives to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly. It urged the immediate redeployment of the commissioner of police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu and sued for peace in Rivers State.
On Wednesday December 11,2013, a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, nullified the resolution that gave powers to the National Assembly to take over and perform the legislative functions of the Rivers state House of Assembly, following a suit filed by two Messrs Tamunuoemi Asobari and John Kpakol. Even though, the pro- Amaechi lawmakers described the judgement as politically motivated, they accepted to abide by the ruling. And on Thursday December 12,2013, announced the resumption of plenary sitting at 10am.
However, on getting to the Assembly complex, they were prevented from gaining access into the premises by a detachment of stern looking and fully armed policemen who mounted a barricade at the entrance with armoured personnel carriers(APC). Frantic efforts made by the lawmakers led by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Leyii Kwanee, to enter the complex was met with stiff resistance by the police. The Deputy Speaker had explained to the police that they were in the Assembly, following the judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja,asking them to resume legislative duties at the Assembly complex. He also told the police that they were there to ensure that the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers were not allowed entry as well as take inventories of the items damaged during the fracas of July 9 and 10,2013. But the police led by one DSP Aliyu told the lawmakers that they have not received instructions from their boss to allow access to the Assembly complex.
The lawmakers left with no options, decided to hold a mock session on the major road leading to the Assembly complex with 20 out of 32 members in attendance sitting on white plastic chairs.
While the sitting went on, some policemen from the police headquarters fired tear gas into the gathering to stop the sitting. This could not deter the lawmakers from going ahead with the mock sitting until live ammunition was allegedly fired close to the Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee who presided over it.
The development made the lawmakers to rush into a waiting coastal bus that took them to Government House, from where they all dispersed to their various homes.
The former Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee continued to risk his life to safeguard the Amaechi’s political family.
However, the recent news of the exit of Kwanee from the family on grounds of disrespect to his person came as a rude shock to most of us who have been watching them closely.
Kwanee had in a statement issued on August 1,2022 and signed by him, announced his exit.
The statement read, “I’m very grateful to many of you who have been like brothers and sisters to me, together in our collective quest to serve humanity, thank you.
“Each and every one of us deserves to be respected or have the respect we give to others reciprocated. It is the best way to keep humanity together, having us all work for our collective good, without making others feel less needed.
“Our sanity and pride as humans, remains the most important aspect of our being and we must protect these with all we’ve got.
“Haven paid my respect and commitment to what I felt was a collective vision and having not seen anything that could suggest it to meet our aspirations, I sincerely wish to leave.
“My decision to leave is not borne out of the quest to amass wealth, else I should have known where to go and get it or I could have accepted offers made to me right from the time *I stood* to defend those who *disregard genuine sacrifices and honour deceit*. But the fact that I cannot imagine the level of neglect and disrespect from fellow humans and what they represent. In all these, I still wish to have my head held high, beat my chest and do the best I can for humanity.
“Every progressive minded organisation would seek good counsels and adhere to the voices of good reasoning but I’m yet to see that happen here.
“I have closely made my observations and resolved to leave and unite with *like minds* so that together, we can achieve the goals of what the Rivers State 7th Assembly stood for, when we fought fearlessly to meet the aspirations of Rivers People and by God’s grace, we will” .
To be condt.