Former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi has revealed that it was actually his predecessor, Peter Odili, that asked him to go to court to reclaim his mandate in 2007.
Amaechi, a presidential candidate on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said he never thought of going to court and was ready to abide by his party’s decision, being a loyal member, only for the former governor to advise him to seek redress in court.
Amaechi dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the Federal High Court, Abuja for substituting his name for Celestine Omehia, who did not participate in the party’s governorship primary.
The case lingered to the Supreme Court, which removed Omehia from office in October 2007, after he held office as Rivers Governor for five months.
The Supreme Court at the time ruled that Omehia had usurped Amaechi’s ticket for the election, and accordingly declared Amaechi the authentic winner of the election.
Speaking during a consultative meeting with executives, delegates and other party faithful at the Rivers State APC Secretariat at the weekend, Amaechi recalled how he was willing to bow to the party’s decision to give Omehia his (Amaechi) rightful ticket, but was advised by Odili to approach the court.
Let me tell you something about loyalty. In 2007, we were in a meeting and somebody asked me ‘if Dr. Peter Odili says you will not run for the office of governor, what will you do?’
I said ‘I will surrender and support whoever he brings.’ We fought the battle for me to be Governor because Dr. Odili called me and said ‘go to court,’ if not we had met as a group and said we would stand by his choice. But he called me and said, ‘…go to court.’”