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The Opposition Parties And Instrument Of Persecution In Rivers State by Eze Chukwuemeka Eze



The Opposition Parties And Instrument Of Persecution In Rivers State

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Chapter six Sections 221 to 229 stipulates on the formation of political parties which must acts and objectives must conform with the provisions of Chapter two that creates the fundamental obligations, political and social objectives of governance that must be rooted in Chapter four of the constitution that dwells on the fundamental Rights of Nigerians - the freedom of expression and the press, Right to freedom to peaceful assembly and association, Right to freedom from discrimination, Right on Restriction on and derogation from fundamental rights. With these provisions of the constitution therefore in a young multi-party democracy like that of Nigeria the relevance and importance of
opposition parties need not be overemphasized. That is why those that fashioned our constitution deemed it wise to include the existence and functions of the opposition parties as stated in the provisions of the constitution above. For the mere fact that we have over fifty political parties in Nigeria makes it imperative that all these parties can not be in power at the same time. One of the major functions of the opposition parties in any democratic set-up therefore is to provide alternative policy, plans or action to the policies and actions of the government in power. But the happenings in Rivers State these days portrays the sitting government either ignorant of these facts or they are just trying to be mischievous.

Without or rather because of lack of any credible opposition force or political party these past eight years in Rivers State a despot was created out of the once unassuming and humble Peter Odili which was never envisaged by our people and this act gave birth to the highhandedness and iron-fisted administration that was our lots these past eight years in Rivers State. If not for the types of Amaechi, Tonye Princewill who knows, Sir Celestine Omehia may have bettered and improved on the record of the draconian administration of the past eight years which remains one of the biblical reports of King Rehoboam on the use of scorpion to whipping the people of Israel. (1 King chapter 12 verses 10-11) 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist!; Yes my father (Odili) laid heavy burden on you (Rivers people), but I am going to make them even heavier!; My father beat you with whips but I will beat you with scorpions!'. But sadly, Omehia is no longer using scorpion which may have being a bit tolerable by our people in Rivers State but with death and misery!

Today it is an anathema, stigma and taboo to be in opposition in Rivers State or have a contrary view to that of the State Government of Sir Celestine Omehia. It is either threat to maim or wipe out majority key actors of the opposition or use the instrument of State or persecution through unleashing the law enforcement operatives on opponents or their offices or houses will be targeted for demolition etc

It sounds like a fairy tale when at the tail end of Sir Odili's administration that the members of the family of the former Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly Hon Rotimi Amaechi were thrown to the streets based on the order on them by the then Governor Odili to vacate the house being processed through the monetization policy of Federal Government that states that Government Functionaries are free to purchase their official residential houses at the end of their tenure in office. This order was effected just because Amaechi wants
to enforce his fundamental human rights by instituting legal action against an unjust treatment meted to him by his so called benefactors in PDP but forgotten that in a kingdom where the Emperor holds sway, a subject does not enjoy such a liberty.

When it becomes obvious that Engr. Tonye Princewill has proven himself as a political force in the State one Col. Jumbo was sent to wipe him and his entire Campaign Team out from the surface of earth if he fails to withdraw his case from the Election Tribunal against Sir Celestine Omehia. Tonye and his Team are still alive today by the grace of God and probably the way the public was alerted of this evil plot through their friends in the media.

Chief Ogbonna Nwuke the Publisher of the famous Telegraph Newspaper was a jolly good fellow until he decided to commit suicide by accepting to be the spokesperson of the dreaded Chief Rotimi Amaechi; It was then that the powers that are feels that he can no longer be the Chairman of Rivers Independent Publishers Association (RIVPA) and have to be made to resin from an office he was only elected barely three months ago.

The facts attest that the idea behind the construction of a shopping mall in Rivers State is targeted at destroying the office complex of one of the former Speaker's Lawyers for daring to render legal services to an enemy of the State (Amaechi) and that the idea of the threat to demolish the waterfronts using the security situation in the State as a ploy is targeted against rendering homeless without any form of compensation a certain tribe and the Fishermen in the State for supporting and voting for the opposition parties during the last April's election which was later manipulated by INEC and PDP in the State to their favour not necessarily to flushed out criminals and militants as the public were meant to believe as majority of the people residing at the waterfronts are neither criminals or militants but poor innocent people which visionless administration of the past wasted eight years forced to stay in slums in a State Capital of the status of Port- Harcourt. The example of the case of Rambo Town in 2002 where those dislodged are still biting their fingers as nothing serious has being done to reconstruct the demolished Rainbow Town after five years as the latest ploy. What an irony? Must we enact laws or embark upon projects in order to get even and maim the opposition in the State. Today, the State owned media Organs (RSTV, Radio Rivers and Tide Newspaper) have all being instructed not carry out any news items from the opposition.

The opposition in the State are meant to understand that for some INEC officials to have disclosed to them that only ten people wrote the result of the last gubernatorial election in Rivers State; a serious restructuring will soon be embarked on the State INEC by the INEC Headquarters to flush out those perceived to have linked the information to the Opposition parties in the State.

Today, self appointed Care-Taker Local Government Council Chairmen has being directed to use public fund to sponsor advertorial and articles against some selected elders of Niger Delta for expressing their
constitutional rights by speaking on what they perceive as a way out of the quagmire Sir Celestine Omehia and his cohorts have put a once peaceful State in order to continue the operation 'destroy the opposition in Rivers State'

Today, the opposition in Rivers State is not only ostracized from the affairs of the State but are stigmatized and treated as second citizens in their own State. Neither is the opposition consulted, carried along nor invited to the Stake-holders meeting to sort out the problems created by the last administration in the State which they are rightly entitled to as citizens of Rivers State.

The administration of Sir Celestine Omehia has sworn to cow and muzzle the opposition in the State in order to continue from where the former Emperor ends. Today the opposition are being told that instruction has being passed that no known opposition member in the State should benefit in any government gesture be it pilgrimage, contracts or scholarship thereby alienating these vibrant groups and denying them their rights as citizens of Rivers State because of obnoxious policies that contradicts all the known provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as stated above.

Information abounds that the few weeks from now it will be very hard for any opposition member in the State to survive as every step will be used including using the EFCC and other security operatives in the State to intimidate and harass them to the extent that they will regret ever joining politics to join issues with the political dynasty of Emperor Peter Odili.

The only hope for the opposition and the people of Rivers State is that present administration in Rivers State under Sir Celestine Omehia is that the administration is just an interim government and will surely be flushed out either by the Supreme Court or the Election Tribunal so that a credible and independent-minded personality will be duly elected by the people of Rivers State instead of the foisted Sir Celestine Omehia in a fraudulent election widely and variously condemned by both the European Union, Local and International Election Monitoring units.

It is sad that Omehia's administration has only brought misery and deaths to the people of Rivers State since his inception as the Governor of Rivers State and funny enough, the government will soon out roll out the drums in their characteristic manner to celebrate 100 Days of looting of the common patrimony and killing of people of Rivers State.- What a great feat?

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
is a Media Consultant based in Port-Harcourt

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