Senator Andrew Uchendu


Rivers people were awoken by Senator Andrew Uchendu’s claims on Viewpoint, a radio programme in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, where he spoke on wide range of topical political issues in Rivers State, particularly on the relationship between Governor Ezenwo Wike and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, current minister of transportation; the extension of the olive branch of reconciliation by the Governor of Rivers State and the purported acceptance of same by the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State chapter, among others.

We are aware that Governor Wike did not stop at extending the olive branch as contained in the broadcast but also was said to have made calls to some leaders of APC and other political parties to underscore the seriousness he attached to a reconciled Rivers politicians and citizens, which he believed is an important ingredient in achieving a progressive, united and indivisible Rivers State, in line with the dreams of the founding fathers of the state. What this demonstrates is that Governor Wike, ab initio, meant what he said in his state broadcast.

It would have been unnecessary to do this piece if Uchendu did not in that interview fail to explain his role in the planting, fertilizing and germination of what looks today like a disagreement between the two Ikwerre brothers. Senator Uchendu, in that interview painted the picture of a neutral person, who had just woken from his slumber to realize that there is a problem of distrust, when in actual fact, going back memory lane, the distinguished Senator can be said to be the real architect of whatever today is a disagreement among the political class, particularly as it concerns the governor and the honorable minister of transportation.

To put it in proper historical perspective, what is brewing today was planted while Wike and Amaechi worked together as chief of staff and as governor respectively. The story had it that, it is this same persons who poisoned the minds of Amaechi against Wike, convincing Amaechi, then governor, that there should be no two captains in a ship, alluding though erroneously, that there are two governors at the same time: one representing Wike, then chief of staff and the other representing Amaechi.

This impression was fuelled and nurtured with the end result that Amaechi, in an attempt to ease out his chief of staff (Wike), supposedly recommended him for ministerial position. Details of what happened after that, and huddles Wike passed through during his screening at the National Assembly is a story for another day. This is because, it is not the practice to send a child on an errand to buy salt and also send rain after the child.

It is interesting to note that while Wike was minister in Abuja and Amaechi governor in Rivers State, some worried Rivers men and women, under the umbrella of Ekere Ikwerre, an Ikwerre political pressure group led by late Chief O.Akaninwo of Oroazi, made attempt to settle the so called problems between the governor and minister at that time. The story is that, as a prelude to the meeting of the two gladiators, a delegation of Ekere Ikwerre led by Chief Sunny Dike, now an APC chieftain from Rumuokuta, visited Wike, then minister in Abuja and extracted his commitment to attend the reconciliation meeting. In the same manner, the delegation also made several attempts to see Governor Amaechi at that time, and after unsuccessful attempts they were said to have been advised that the only person who can speak to Amaechi was Andrew Uchendu, now a senator.

The mediators were said to have met a brick wall when Chief Uchendu, who hosted them at Elkan Terrace Hotel, opposite his GRA residence, told them that it will not be possible for the governor to meet with Wike who he described as the governor’s staff. This position of Senator Uchendu resulted to the dead on arrival of the noble efforts of these prominent Ikwerre sons and daughters. This is the root of the problem Chief Uchendu was talking about in his viewpoint radio programme – as one thing led to the other, taking us to where we are today. This historical background is intended to explain why Senator Uchendu, who may be realizing himself today, and perhaps with good in tensions, is not likely going to be the right person to give the impression that he can mediate in a problem that he was a part of.

Having listened to Wike’s broadcast and his call for not only a truce with so-called ‘political enemies’, the import of Wike’s speech, particularly on his invitation for all inclusive administration, is unambiguous and cannot be doubted. Put it side by side with Uchendu’s arrogant assertion during the radio programme that he is above working for /with Wike administration, not even recommending somebody in his stead, smacks of inconsistency and lack of commitment.

This is because, in one breath, the senator has posited that he is concerned about the growth of our state and welfare of her people. In another breath, in the same programme, he gave himself out as someone who is not interested in the route to actualizing what he claims to be his desire for the state. More confusing and perhaps frustrating was his claim that APC has no hand, and indeed has no control over the tribunal matter instituted by the AAC candidate, Engr. Awara.

Again Uchendu refused to acknowledge the fact that there is a difference between call for peaceful coexistence by Gov Wike and case of commission of criminal offense by those who served in previous administrations in the state. What a paradox? While we believe that no situation is intractable and no quarrel is irreconcilable, even with political dimensions, with the gully getting deeper by the day and deep cut injuries sustained, it is still possible for a genuine, independent and unbiased mediator to be involved: and not those who planted the seed of not only discord but of distrust.
# The Patriots #