Date Published: 10/01/09
Amaechi Should Beware: Suage Badey & Media Punches By Powell Peterside
The Port Harcourt based newspapers are people’s delight, anytime. But some of the September 7-13 editions made some of us had nightmare. The front pages had it that the Chairman of the Rivers State Action Congress (AC), Mr. Suage Badey, who is also Member Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST) Governing Board and some of the elders of the party were locked in exchange of blows. The publication buttressed that the elders – Awante Daye, Chief Allen Opungiapu, and Chief Ndamatins, amongst others – were the people Mr. Badey fought.
As a social democrat that has been monitoring the politics of the Niger Delta since 1999, I plunged into investigation when I finished reading the information in one of the newspapers based in Port Harcourt . All my contacts, even right in the Rivers AC leader’s house at Eleme Str. PH, Prince Tonye Princewill, contradicted the said publication. But rather, what I gathered was that the elders have sold out to the extent of dinning with the team of the ex-Governor of the state, Sir Peter Odili and the one time SSG to the state, Dr. Abiye Sekibo.
It was against this backdrop that Badey who has the constitutional right as the state party chairman called on the renegades to order but they were seeing him from the angle of “a small boy” to them. The elders had held a lot of the party meetings without the consent of Badey. And when Badey retorted, they shouted at him, saying, “Don’t you know that we are elders?” The elders also boasted that they are ready to spend the Five Million naira (N5m) they collected from Odili and Sekibo to the men of the press to seeing that they smear Badey. But in all, Badey was reportedly said to be calm, but the elders re-assured him of receiving their attacks of vendetta on the pages of the newspapers. And we have started reading that. Now, I ask, when has party meeting turned to a family meeting?
Nigerians can remember two months ago that the Rivers AC, in one of its press releases, alleged that Odili and Sekibo were bent on hijacking the AC to make sure that they returned to the politics of the state. But now we know better, that the elders are the instrument the Odili and Sekibo are using to destabilize the Rivers AC and Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s governance, which Badey was vehemently opposed to, decribing their actions as anti- party. So, they are after him.
While Badey is fighting so assiduously to ensure that the party is not relegated to the background in the state even as it is in Government of Unity with the ruling PDP, Princewill instead of solving this internal squabble once and for all, has allowed Chief Allen Opungiapu's dribbles to place him in a box of confusion. He is rather keeping sides and is busy gallivanting all the wards of the party in the state sourcing for who will replace Badey, a source said. Is this the same Princewill who said he was into the state politics because of “Change”? Where is the “change” now? Or, is he busy making more money and establishing businesses in all the parts of Nigeria without headway for the AC? Or, did he share in the N5m that he can’t speak up as a man, after been accused of receiving Two hundred million naira (N200, 000, 000) from Governor Amaechi to form Forum of Organized Opposition Political Parties in the state, where over 43 political parties in the state merged under one umbrella called FOOPP?
Notwithstanding, the Rivers people know Mr. Suage Alexander Badey as trustworthy, whose father, Late Mr. Albert Badey was among the Ogoni-4 that were murdered by recalcitrant youths said to be loyal to the “media made” late Ken Saro-Wiwa for his altruistic stance on the May 1994 Ogoni vs. Shell brouhaha. Rivers people know Suage Badey as a conscientious man than any buffoon called elder in the AC may want us to believe. We are hereby asking Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, to be wary of these self-made Elders who have a penchant for mischief to enable him have focus and ensure they do not parade the Government house, hence it would be polluted. Their presence within the corridors of power would only attract ill wind akin to the likes of Odili and Sekibo, their masters.
Badey should allow the 23 Local Government Chairmen of the AC to pass their vote of no confidence on the said elders and their accomplices, a position the Forum of Local Government Chairmen of the party is inclined to put into effect. But many wonder if Badey would subscribe to their wishes, describing him as a man who believes in the tool of patience in resolving crisis. “He will not, he won’t,” a stunch member said repeatedly. “He seams to have an unbreakable cord with Princewill. Sometimes we have no choice but to think they both know what they are doing,” the source opined.
Powell Peterside writes for the Niger Delta Democrats, Port Harcourt .