The political nemesis that denied the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC participation in the 2019 general elections is far from abated as the two major gladiators in the now seeming intractable conflict are again revving up their war drums, even though the elections have been whom and lost.
Returning Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Sen. Magnus Abe who led the two opposing camps in the lost battle have indicated that despite causing the party a huge loss in the 2019 elections, they were not ready to resolve their differences to mitigate further loses.
Both gladiators were again in the media over the weekend expressing their determination to continue the battle which caused hundreds of candidates and supporters of the party huge losses to their different political ambitions.
The former governor of Rivers State, Amaechi had reportedly announced to his supporters shortly after his inauguration in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari that there would be congress in the state without cognisance to the existing judicial pronouncement on subject matter and the need for consultation as it affects the interest of party members eliciting sharp reactions from Abe who immediately challenged Amaechi’s competence to make such policy statement reserved for the national leadership of the APC.
The former Senator representing the Rivers South-East Senatorial District, while addressing members of the APC Visionary Media Team paid him a courtesy visit at his residence in Port Harcourt, at the weekend described the announcement by Amaechi as unacceptable.
He noted that the Minister of Transportation rather than concentrate on achieving the needed contribution to national development is creating another avenue for tension and crisis in the political structure of the party, demonstrating same unruly behaviour that brought the party in Rivers state to a fiasco.
Abe urged the minister to demonstrate his sincerity of rebuilding the party by admitting his faults and respect the interest, rights and feelings of all members of the party, adding that the selfish interest of the Minister had led the party to where it is today in the state.
He said: “Look at our party here today in Rivers state, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on assumption of office as Minister of Transportation, the first thing he did was to announce Congress in Rivers state and I ask myself, this was the same kind of behaviour that led the party to where it is.
“Everybody in Nigeria knows that the origin of the crisis in Rivers APC was from the Congress and how the congress was handled and there are judicial pronouncements on the congress which he ignored and led the party to ignore and we have all kept quiet in the hope that by keeping quiet we will create room for resolution of some of these challenges so the party can move forward. Instead, he has become crazier in his challenge to the rights, feelings and interest of others within the same political party. How do we do that and expect to make progress”.
“What kind of congress, is he the chairman of the party, is he the National Working Committee, is he the court, what gives him the power to come and announce congress on the day he was inaugurated as minister”? Abe queried.
He stated: “Rather than address the issues of the country and the issues of his ministry, the first thing he could do was to reopen the sourest point in the heart of members of the party. And it is on that basis that party members have been deprived of every benefit. Is that how to grow a political family, is that how to grow politics. We will not accept that congress.
I just want to say to you people that sometimes when we keep quiet out of respect for the party and out of respect given for our own past and out of understanding on the knowledge that without justice there can be no peace and without peace there can be no progress.
We must all recommit ourselves to the need for peace in the party and the way forward to get peace in the party is by ensuring that there is justice, fairness in the party so that everybody feels free to realise and gather support for the party. I want to appeal to all of you that as much as possible we must all examine ourselves.
Nobody can come here because he is a Minister, sit in his office and make pronouncement on the matter in which he and several others have interest, people have gone to court, people have fought for their rights in that congress and the same thing he did by creating confusion in the first place, he is determined to continue to do it, to prove to the world that he is a conqueror. As I said before, nobody can conquer Rivers people”.
In his reaction to the statement of Sen. Abe, the Publicity Secretary of the Rivers APC, Chris Finebone, stopped short of describing Abe’s reaction as crying wolf where there was none saying that the Minister did not in any way allude to he (the Minister) being the organiser of the Congress in Rivers State.
His terse statement reads: ‘Initially, I felt that there may be the need to respond and clarify what the Hon. Minister said some days ago at Abuja. But after reading the press statement you are referring to particularly concerning what appears to be some instinctive base language used in some of the paragraphs, I honestly believe that there is no need to respond after all.
However, let me make it very clear that the Hon. Minister did not say or allude in any way that he was the one to organise congresses in Rivers State, it is the national secretariat that organises congresses and that should be well understood by all. Happily, I didn’t read in the statement that the Nigerian courts have ruled APC eternally out of existence in Rivers State. We thank God for that”.