As reactions continue to trail the unequivocal restatement of the Minister of Transportation and South-South Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi’s position to support the emergence of a Rivers Governor from the riverine communities in the 2023 elections, erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and Chieftain of the APC, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, says the Minister’s resolve is on the standpoint of equity and reflects the principle of fundamental fairness and justice which are the basic axioms upon which the foundation of the All Progressives Congress is anchored.
Chief Eze in a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, expressed disappointment over comments credited to those he said were “fanning the embers of sectionalism in a multiethnic and sophisticated society as Rivers State, describing their contention as grossly offensive to the senses and a sinister ravings of an imagination gone berserk.”
“I have read series of interpretations and reactions especially, from former Rivers South/East Senator, Magnus Abe, and a few other politicians and commentators, on the comment credited to the South South Leader of the APC and Nigeria’s performing Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on the zoning of the 2023 Governorship ticket of the Party to the riverine area of Rivers State and have been finding it difficult to understand the rationale behind those careless arguments as I wonder if some of these commentators have been following the policies and actions of the APC since its inception in 2014 or they are just trying to be funny or mischievous” Eze said.
Recall that t Rt. Hon. Amaechi, while addressing a gathering of APC members in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State, tasked supporters to unite towards achieving the fair and equitable emergence of a riverine Governor in the 2023 general elections in recognition and honor of the upland/riverine dichotomy.
“However, attending a meeting of his allies and Comrades, Sen. Abe, in his usual truculence and schism, faulted the Minister over the exercise of his right to hold and exercise his opinion on a given issue as allowed in the Nigerian Constitution.”
Excerpt from Sen. Abe’s comments reads: “when the Minister was speaking in Ogu/Bolo a few days ago that the 2023 Governorship position in APC has been zoned to the riverine, he was not speaking for all of us. He was only speaking for himself; attempting to set the riverine LGAs against the rest of the state….the Party has not even concluded with the membership registration. We have no Ward Chairmen, yet they are already zoning Governorship.”
“It is an action that will lead to another doom of failure if they toe that path again …Amaechi does not have right to zone-out any ethnic group and zone-in another”.
Reacting to Abe’s comments, the Party Chieftain said it pricks the conscience to hear the former Lawmaker and trained Lawyer adulterate and misrepresent facts to suit his argument without regard to the ultimate goal of ensuring that justice is served and manifestly too, in every matter, “noting that it is untoward and a sheer display of arrant ignorance for Abe to corrupt his conscience against the known tenets on which the APC is built.”
Chief Eze who said Sen. Abe’s stand is self-serving and unfortunate, pointed out to him and “those dancing his macabre dance that since the beginning of the fourth Republic in 1999, the issue of power rotation between the two major political blocks (upland/riverine) in Rivers State has been a trend in major political discuss which analysts try hard and fairly too to dissect.”
In a concise account of the power sharing formula between the upland/riverine areas since 1999, the Party stalwart said “critical stakeholders in the likes of Alabo Graham-Douglas, who stands as the only Rivers man to be appointed thrice a Minster, late Chief Marshall Harry, Mr. Henry Mac-Pepple and other great Riverine political leaders who were the real power brokers in the politics of Rivers State then, resolved, considered and funded the campaign of Dr. Peter Odili (upland), from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, who was elected and re-elected Governor in 1999 and 2003 respectively. He led the State till 2007 and thereafter, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi (upland), from Ikwerre Local Government Area took over the reigns of power and governed the state for two terms of eight years between 2007 – 2016.”
“The end of Dr. Odili’s (upland) tenure would have ordinarily marked the beginning of the administration of a Governor from the riverine, however, divine providence shone on Amaechi and by God’s direction, he was enthroned to lead and to the service and pride of the people, he led. ”
“Nonetheless , and in line with popular demand, one would have loved to see a riverine succeed Amaechi, to balance the vacuum created in the sharing formula, but strife and animosity on the side of the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and wife, Dame Patience Jonathan who are both from the Riverine communities of Bayelsa and Rivers states, led to the very unfortunate emergence of Nyesom Wike from Obio/Akpor another upland Local Government Area of the State who by 2023 would have governed the State for another eight years thereby making the Upland to govern Rivers State for a whooping twenty four years to the determinant of the Riverine Section of the State, what an injustice and wickedness.”
“Jonathan and his wife connived and sacrificed meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity and today, Rivers has a mediocre as Governor. This wouldn’t have been had the then President allowed competence and fair-play in the polity.”
Describing Sen. Abe’s argument as hubristic and weightless, Chief Eze said Amaechi’s opinion as expressed in Ogu/Bolo wasn’t new as it was a reflection of the collective view of members of the progressives family and in fact, the position of the Rivers APC from inception “and no contrary view of a meddlesome interloper can modify a collective resolve whose anchorage is on the threshold of justice and fair-play for a people deserving of equal rights and opportunities in a state in which they hold equal stakes with others.”
“In 2014, the APC attempted to correct the manifest injustice meted on the Riverine section of the State which has placed them as second class citizen in a state their inputs cant be overemphasised and in an awkward position so far governance of the State is concerned and some elements within the party in cohorts with some external forces sabotaged it but this time around this can no longer be tolerated.”
“In achieving this, the party resolved to zone her gubernatorial slot to the Riverine Section of the state and that led to the emergence of Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside from Opobo/Nkoro, a Riverine Area of the State, to fly the flag of the party during the 2015 gubernatorial election however and sadly too, with the connivance of Abe and some misguided elements, the election of Dakuku was sabotaged and that frustration led to the emergence of Wike, from upland, as the Governor of Rivers State.”
“APC being a principled Party still kept her faith with the Riverine Area and in 2019 general elections she fielded another Riverine Leader in the person of Arch. Pastor Tonye Cole from Akuku Toru, as standard bearer. Abe and his co-conspirators again offered themselves for the services of the devil, and they became instruments of destabilization; they frustrated the emergence of Tonye Cole as Rivers State Governor.”
“Even the twenty four-hour emergence of Engineer Biokpomabo Awara of AAC from Riverine area to the election day frightened Wike so much when he earned the support of the mainstream of APC.”
He said it was simply annoying, listening to the arguments preferred by Abe and his circle on the APC zoning her 2023 Gubernatorial slot to Riverine Area which Rt . Amaechi only reemphasized and didn’t make statement that is new.
“I get confused if these people are truly members of the APC or they are just feigning ignorance and being dishonest” Eze opined.
He further stated that “it has been uncovered and this clearly points to the fact that 2023 elections will be a fight between just and unjust politics and so, Sen. Magnus Abe and men of his moral cadre will end at nothing trying hard to drag a party as responsible and fair as the All Progressives Congress, into any morally odious and offensive engagement in the pursuit of his selfish private vendetta.”
Furthermore,he averred that: “I am no longer talking about the pains, shame and embarrassment that Abe and his cohorts have caused Rivers State and her people, however, wasting my energy to learn that Sen. Magnus Abe still blabs to the hearing of the media, after the huge liability he incurred on the state and her people during the 2019 election compels one to conclude that Abe must have gone unconscious and conscienceless”.
Describing Abe as an
“aggressively self-assertive busybody, not deserving any serious attention”, he noted that only a person duly registered or whose membership has been re-validated in the on-going nation-wide membership registration and re-validation exercise can be entitled to the rights and privileges provided under the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, including right of audience on party concerns.
However, he said available checks reveal that Sen. Abe’s rights are currently frozen and in abeyance, having not complied with the said directive, and until he renews his membership as lawfully instructed by the National Leadership of the APC, Sen. Abe remains a mere third party whose opinions from henceforth will be trashed.
Eze described as laughable the conditions given by Sen. Abe before he would formalize his membership of the Party and informed him “that the APC is not in any position to grant him any special privilege before he can revalidate his membership, stressing that where he fails to comply with the lawful directive of the party, it will be left to leadership to decide and determine his position in the All Progressives Congress.”
He equally expressed sadness that “political leaders from the riverine areas are not doing much to bring this strategy to be actualised but counsels them that now that it has become imperative that the riverine area will be producing the next Governor of Rivers State it is expected that the interested political leaders of this area should unite and come out with a strong and acceptable leader that will fly the flag of the party during the 2023 general elections. As much as the leaders of this area should be thankful to the Party for this spirit they should work very hard and liaise with other sections of the State to actualise this dream.”
Chief Eze hails Rt. Hon.Amaechi for being “a principled leader whose love for a vibrant, united, virile and egalitarian Rivers State is no longer in question. God will continue to uplift you in all your endeavors no natter the odds.”
“Rivers People are fully aware of the unholy scheme of Governor Wike and the People’s Democratic Party,(PDP) to again, rig yet another man from the upland into power as Governor. This position was amplified recently by High Chief Sgt. Awuse, when he stated in a public glare that Ikwerre will continue to govern Rivers State even after 2023.”
Eze opined that “those of us who are closer watchers of Rivers State politics know that Awuse was not making peculiar or uncommon statement as we are very much aware of the person on whose favour the PDP guber ticket for the 2023 elections has been decided”.
“In this regard I pity my good friend the incumbent Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo and other Riverine key actors in Wike’s administration who have been dreaming that PDP will zone her gubernatorial slot to the Riverine area. I think it will only be wise to act now having seen clearly, the handwriting on the wall.”
With the further extension of the membership drive for another three weeks, Chief Eze called for a more aggressive sensitization and mobilization of citizens across the 319 wards of Rivers State for the exercise, stressing “that the project of a riverine Governor come 2023 is the business of Rivers people and not just APC’s.”