A former majority leader in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Dr Chidi Lloyd has given an indication on what Rivers people should expect as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections. He told a radio station in Port Harcourt in a telephone interview that there would be an equal proportion of violence from the APC to match whatever form of violence the PDP may come up with.
This is how part of the interview went:
How are you today?
I'm very well, I thank God.
That may be an unusual response to give, many might consider that response unusual considering that there is an arrest warrant that has been issued by a court and it has your name on it.
That there is an arrest warrants that has been issued?
I'm sure you are aware
Yes, my lawyer drew my attention to the fact that the Honourable Justice Chinwendu Nwogu asked the commissioner of police to produce me.
So, and you are not disturbed about that?
I wouldn't be disturbed because I'm yet to find out whether it's in our jurisprudence, that a matter that is at the court of appeal can be going on simultaneously at the lower court with the court of appeal. Because this subject matter is already a subject matter on appeal and that is why we have always cried out to say that Rivers State is no longer part of Nigeria. We have our own laws, maker of the law known as Nyesom Wike; he determines the law, and he determines what happens. So we are calling on well meaning Nigerians to come to our aid, because our state is gradually becoming a Republic
Are you suggesting that the Rivers State government is the one that gave the directive to the court to issue a warrant for your arrest?
It is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind, that what is going on now is a persecution and not prosecution. This matter happened five years ago. In fact, I don't even know exactly what they are charging me for, on one side they said it is murder and the last time I checked, you can only be charged for murder when you wilfully kill someone. It is important that Rivers State people know that this is what happened five years ago in Rivers State House of Assembly. Because out of his desperation, he is also charging me for arson, a public order law which the police should have arrested me, but he is charging me for arson five years after. So you can see that this is a man who is desperate, all he wants is to stop me from talking and I'm sure he knows me better than what he is doing, that I will keep talking. But I am on appeal and the police are aware of it, so I have nothing to fear.
Be it as it may, there is a case in court and you were asked to be present, doesn't the court have the right to demand your presence, whether or not you agree with what is going on in court, whether or not you have an appeal?
First and foremost, I have not been served any process. My lawyer is not the one presiding, Chinwendu Nwogu is not the presiding judge, and the presiding judge is Dr. Nyesom Wike. When he finishes, they now give the papers to Chinwendu Nwogu, he now reads for them. That is the level we are going to in Rivers State. The governor has turned the state to his kingdom; we know what is going on. I have always said that I'm not averse to prosecution for any offence that I commit, but I will not allow the governor to persecute me, that I will not do.
You said that you have not been served any process, but the lawyer…
(Cuts in) I have not been served any processes.
The lawyer to the government states that you wrote to the court explaining why you could not be in court, but he described the letter written as being worthless.
I didn't write to any court. My lawyers wrote to the court, they informed me and I agreed. My lawyer said that he was in a different court, he was at the court of appeal and the judge should give us a date, court said no that he will not give them. Even the prosecuting council applied for a local date but because, the governor insisted on tomorrow (quick quick), that was it. But it didn't come to me as a surprise, the governor issues instructions and Chinwendu Nwogu will now read it out, but whatever a man does he will bear the consequences; that is just it. When you are a minister in the temple of justice, you must also be prepared to be judged at the end of the day. Can you describe the floor of Rivers State House of Assembly as a public place? Instead for the governor to think of how to pay government workers and retirees, he is busy chasing Chidi up and down.
The matter of the attempted murder, the issue that happened on the floor of the Rivers State House of Assembly some years ago, that matter has been withdrawn by the Rivers State government already.
It's good that you are the one reminding me. This is the first time in Nigeria, in a particular matter, two nollis have been entered, the first nolli was entered by the governor in 2014. This wicked junta entered another one in 2017. We are all from Rivers State nobody will chase each other, there has been governors, Dr. Peter Odili was one time a governor of Rivers State. Nyesom's own will not be different. The day he was sworn in, did they give him Certificate of Occupancy? I saw that it was only a Holy Bible that they gave him that day, they didn't give him certificate of occupancy. Everything will come to an end one day and we will stand before God.
Obviously do you have a concern as regards to motivations, as regards what may have led to his warrant issued, but are you concerned about your movement because the police have to do what the court has said. Whether you think it is right or not, whether you think it is legal or not, the arrest warrant has been issued, and the police have to obey a court pronouncement which is, arrest you and produce you in court. Are you concerned about that and do you intend to do anything to challenge that?
You and I are not members of the Nigerian police force, so let us allow the police to do their duty. I as a citizen, also have my right as regards illegal arrest. Imagine a judge saying they should arrest me and keep me away throughout Christmas and New Year because I am a goat. Do I resemble either a sheep or cattle that you just carry because one governor Nyesom, governor general has given an order, is that how it works? When he committed murder, did they kill him?
Cuts in… you are making a kind of allegation you cannot substantiate
You called me for interview
Yes I did, but you are alleging someone just committed murder, that's what you just did
Don't bother yourself
What if the police makes an attempt to arrest you?
I will involve the court of appeal that there is an infraction on their order which they gave. But if it is beyond me, but if you hear tomorrow that I have died, it is Nyesom Wike that has killed me. It is beyond what you see, it is beyond arrest warrant, I have raised alarm, I have published on newspapers, telling the world that if thunder strikes me, Governor Wike is the one that did it. I have raised alarm, but maybe people are waiting for me to die first, but I will not die.
What does that mean?
Is beyond what you people see oo.
You said it's beyond what we see, it is beyond what we know, what is it about them?
The governor is so afraid that he has lost the state, including those who are lobbying with him, they are all with us to give us information. When he went to go and wear people APC uniforms, was he not surprised how I got to know it? Somebody left the meeting and told me, I had to shout to the world, that is how we do. He wants to wear people uniforms let them start attacking us so that they will think it is APC.
Is any of this connected with the coming election in 2019?
You don't need to go to a soothsayer, this fight, did it happen today? He has become governor three years ago. Why is he prosecuting me now, two days to election? Especially being that I'm the director general of the in-coming governor of Rivers State, do you need to go to a soothsayer? That it has to do with politics? No governor rules forever, I will not join Wike and his gang, period. Even if it has to do with my life, I don't bother.
Has any offer been made to you by the Rivers State governor or any member of the PDP asking you to join them?
Severally. Can't you see that this is to coerce me? Do you frighten fear? You don't know I'm fear myself. It will not work, I will not, I'm a law lecturer, I don't want to join them.
So are you in hiding now?
Does it sound like I'm hiding? Why would I hide? Hiding from what?
With all that is playing out right now in Rivers State, considering your accusations as well, are you concerned about how the election will play out in Rivers State?
There will be balance of terror in 2019, never again will we be complaining. Whichever way Wike plays the game, we will join him.
What do you mean by balance of terror?
There will be balance of terror.
Are you saying that your party is going to employ violence come 2019?
I didn't say that, he will dictate the tune, we will dance to it, if it is surugede, it's going to be surugede. You think we will now go to tribunal again? Never.
In other words, you are saying that your party is open to the use of violence?
Don't put words into my mouth. I said whichever way he plays it, we will join him. So you asking whether we are going to employ violence, is not necessary because nobody has the monopoly of violence.
Even if violence comes from any quarter at all, don't it presuppose that what we need right now in Rivers State are efforts by all concerned, including your party, to do what they can to ensure a peaceful electoral process?
The candidate of my political party is a pastor of the redeemed church. What that means is that we are not going to deploy violence. But Chinua Achebe said in things fall apart that he will not fold hands and watch a man come to defecate in his house, he will carry stick and break the man's head. What we are saying is that our candidate is a pastor, we will not use violence, but recall what was said in the bible that since after the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom Of God suffereth violence. But what we are saying is that we must bring Rivers State back, it should not be on the news for the wrong reasons every time.