Peace In Rivers State: Amaechi, Peter Odili Bury Rift At Inauguration
PORT HARCOURT, May 29, (THEWILL) – The almost four-year-old political feud between former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili and his successor, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has ended with Dr. Odili and his wife, Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili attending both the Inauguration Church service and swearing-in of Governor Amaechi at the Corpus Christi Cathedral Kaduna Street and the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt respectively, as guests of honour.
Both men fell apart in 2007 after Odili favoured Amaechi’s cousin, Mr. Celestine Ngozichirim Omeiha as his successor until the Supreme Court in a dramatic but controversial judgement awarded the governorship to Amaechi, who was not even a candidate on the ballot.
At the church service where both families were in attendance, Amaechi gave an insight into how they resolved their differences, describing Odili as ‘his mentor and political father.’
Amaechi gave credit to the Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province of the Anglican Church, Achbishop Ignatius Kattery and the promoter of DAAR communications owners of AIT and Ray Power broadcasting stations, High Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, for enabling the reconciliation.
THEWILL had weeks ago before the governorship election learnt that Amaechi had gone to see Odili as part of reconciliation efforts following the entrance of former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, an Odili loyalist, into the governorship race.
After several subsequent meetings and deliberations, Odili assured Amaechi of his support and promised to get Sekibo, who ran on the platform of the ACN to dump his governorship bid. Sekibo, who was also a sworn enemy of Amaechi, however out of pride, went ahead with his bid and failed woefully at the polls. He is presently at the election tribunal claiming the election was rigged in favour of Amaechi of the PDP.
At the church service, Amaechi stated that Archbishop Kattery at a private meeting had expressed worries over the feud between both men months after the 2007 election and urged him to do something about it.
L-R: Justice Mary Odili, Dr Peter Odili and Governor Rotimi Amaechi exchange greetings again in church.
“I felt slightly uncomfortable that those words came from his Lordship. And I said at God’s time, it will happen. I put in prayers because I had made a promise to God that at the end of the elections, before or during the commencement of my second term in office, I would have reconciled with my former boss, my mentor and father. I thank God it has come to pass,” Amaechi told the congregation.
“I thank them (Archbishop Kattey and Dokpesi) for helping me fulfill my promise to God because probably the journey to see how we can reconcile today would not have started. I assure you that it will no longer break down,” he assured.
Both Ameachi and Odili hugged and exchanged pleasantries at the church service and at the Liberation Stadium where another former River State Governor, Chief Rufus Ada-George, who Odili had also served as deputy, was in attendance.
Amaechi in his address after his swearing-in promised to work tirelessly to improve the economy of Rivers State and assured of round the clock power supply to residents of the state once the federal government approves its concession to generate power.