The elders’ reaction was against the background of the town hall engagement meeting of members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the Rivers Elders Consultative Council, Chief Granville Abiye Georgewill, the elders, who are leaders and custodians of the cultural heritage of the state, expressed dismay that the acting president could be deceived to attending an APC function arranged by Amaechi with the impression that the participants are apolitical Rivers people.
The statement read in part: ”Even though party slogans were chanted at the meeting, there are two things Amaechi would have set out to achieved. It may be that he wanted the acting president to have an impression that there exists an APC in the state and therefore paid all sorts of persons, some were made to dress in chieftaincy regalia when they are not, just to make the crowd appreciable to the visiting acting president.
“The other reason may be that Amaechi intended to clear the shame he would have received at the airport when he did not receive the courtesies he perhaps expected from the people of the state,” the statement further maintained.
The Rivers Consultative Council said it was disrespectful to the constituted authority, and indeed to the government and people of the state for Amaechi to organise another so-called stakeholders’ meeting 24 hours after a properly attended reception, stakeholders’ meeting and banquet was organised by the government and people of the state in honour of the visiting acting president at the seat of power in the state known as the Brick House.
Clarifying that the position of Rivers people were well articulated and presented to Osinbajo by Alabo Graham Douglas, Hon. OCJ Okocha (SAN), Annkio Briggs and others at the stakeholders’ meeting, the elders’ council queried what the second unrepresentative and parallel meeting achieved at the end of the day.
The elders wondered what impression Amaechi was creating to the federal government, of a state that in the past one and a half years has been properly managed, united and focused under the leadership of Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike.
They warned that they would not tolerate any person or group of persons attempting to cause disaffection, division and hatred and called for unity of purpose, cooperation and understanding so as to advance the cause of development in Rivers State.