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2011: We'll fight Amaechi despite handshake, says opposition

Source: africanexaminer.com

DESPITE the public handshake between Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, and

some past leaders of the state at the Saturday funeral service of Second Republic

Minister and Elder Statesman, the late Emmanuel Aguma, an Ikwerre Chief, loyalists of

former Governor Peter Odili say Amaechi will not find it easy in 2011.

Relations between Amaechi and the Odili camp who are floating a new political group, New

Restoration, has not been quite rosy since the Supreme Court short-circuited the

administration of Celestine Omehia on October 25, 2007.

Acting Chief Press Secretary to Amaechi, Mr. Blessing Wikina, however, claimed in a

statement in Port Harcourt, the state capital, that the funeral service provided a platform

for the public meeting of the state Governor, Mr.Amaechi and ''his mentor Dr. Peter Odili,

the former governor of the state''.
The service, which attracted political associates of the late political icon, like the former

Vice President of Nigeria, Mr.Alex Ekwueme, also attracted the presence of Mr. Celestine

Omehia who was attending a public function in Port Harcourt for the first time since his

ouster from office by the apex court of the country in October 2007.

Some of the Odili loyalists who did not want their names in print claimed that series of

political meetings have been going on within and outside Port Harcourt ahead of the 2011

governorship battle in the state.
A former Commissioner said he has been attending a number of political meetings aimed

at ''restoring Rivers state''. According to him, ''nobody can easily predict what will happen

in Rivers in the months ahead. I think the incumbent administration will have to contend

with quite a number of political foes''.
The late Aguma funeral event, according to Mr.Wikina, also saw Governor Amaechi, for

the first time since he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state, shook hands publicly

with his cousin, Mr. Omehia, and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,

Mr. Austin Opara at a public function in Port Harcourt since October 2007.

The funeral service, which was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt, also

attracted the presence of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Odein Ajumogobia

(SAN), the former Minister for Transport, Mr. Abiye Sekibo, a medical doctor and frontline

Odili loyalist, as well as Justice Mary Odili, wife of the former governor.

Speaking at the occasion, Amaechi, said the late Emmanuel Aguma was a man with a

great and fertile mind, which is attested to by those that did come across him, and by the

large presence of dignitaries at his funeral.
The governor said the late Elder Statesman mentored many people positively, and

enjoined members of his family to protect his legacy as their father lived a humble and

exemplary life.
Also speaking, former Vice President Ekwueme, described late Aguma as a man to be

trusted with responsibilities, which according to him, he always discharged with dedication

and diligence.
Earlier in his sermon, the Archbishop, Niger Delta Province, Ignatius Kattey, said the name

of late Emmanuel Aguma was a house hold name in the state, both as a one-time Minister,

and Commissioner in the State, adding that he was not afraid of meeting death, because

he was a man who chose to be close to God, particularly towards the end of his life.

Bishop Ketty urged Christians to therefore be ready and prepared for death since it was

inevitable, adding that through our actions we would be able to conquer it.