Apr 30, 2013

Rivers PDP suspends Speaker, 26 others, says Jonathan had zero tolerance for corruption

Jonathan and Amaechi

The Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Felix Obuah, has suspended 27 of the 32 members of the state assembly from the party, including the speaker, for insubordination.

The party chairman said the PDP government led by President Goodluck Jonathan had zero tolerance for corruption and that the state PDP will also not condone such.

Mr. Obuah announced the suspension to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, saying the members did not comply with the party’s directive on dissolution of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.

On April 22, the Assembly suspended the Obio/Akpor council chairman, his deputy, and the 17 councillors for alleged reckless spending of public funds.

According to the Assembly, the allegations were made by the Obio/Akpor stakeholders from the 17 wards of the local government area. It explained that the petition was weighty and required a thorough investigation which would require the suspension of the accused for proper investigation to take place. The assembly therefore added that the suspension was pending the outcome of the investigation.

However, the party chairman said that the party issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the assembly to rescind the order on dissolution of the Obio/Akpor council but “it was flagrantly disobeyed.”

Mr. Obuah said, “The party hereby suspended all the 27 members of the House of Assembly that carried out such action while their matter is referred to Disciplinary Committee for further action.”

On the grounding of the Rivers Government aircraft, the chairman said that the party “views with grave concern the unfolding facts surrounding the ownership of the purported aircraft.”

Mr. Obuah said that the party would not fold its arms and allow “monumental” fraud to be perpetrated in the state.

He alleged that from the records available and statements credited to the Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, the aircraft was not bought by the government.

Mr. Obuah said the records showed that the Aircraft Bombardier B.D 700, Global Express aircraft with registration No. 5N5N65 RS, was owned by Utah Limited States of America. He said that the aircraft registration showed that it was owned by Bank of Utah Trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah Limited States of America.

According to the chairman, the aircraft was operated illegally as its clearance approval expired on April 2 and had since been operating in violation of the rules of civil aviation authorities.

“It is unacceptable and embarrassing to our great party that public funds are hopelessly mismanaged; as a result these questions must be answered by the Rivers State Government. Where is the aircraft, purportedly bought with the Rivers State funds and tax payers’ money? Where have the billions of naira taken from the coffers of the Rivers State Government gone to and for what purpose was it appropriated and where is it diverted?” he asked.

He said the state government should give a copious explanation concerning the funds spent on the aircraft or face disciplinary action from the party.

The party chairman added that the PDP government led by President Goodluck Jonathan had zero tolerance for corruption and that the state PDP will also not condone such. He, however, directed all party members in the state to be totally loyal to the new state executive council and warned that the party would not hesitate to deal with deviants.

He also warned members of the party to refrain from making unsavory and unguarded utterances that were inimical to peace and development in the party.

Mr. Obuah, an antagonist of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has been accused of doing the bidding of President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, who is from Rivers.

Mr. Amaechi has been having a running battle with Mr. Jonathan and the national leadership of the PDP over national issues. The Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman is also said to be opposed to Mr. Jonathan’s re-election bid.

The Rivers Assembly had earlier declared its support for Mr. Amaechi.