Some chiefs of the All Progressives Congress, APC, party in Rivers state who preferred not to be mentioned, have revealed that the governorship ambition of the senator representing Rivers South East, Senator Magnus Abe is the major reason why the Senator is fighting the Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
They also said that Senator Abe who wanted Amaechi to anoint or support him as the next APC Governorship candidate in the state come 2019, however, resorted to character assassination of the minister whom, according to them, by his judgement, is opposed to his ambition.
They also said that Senator Abe betrayed Amaechi whom they said was the man who made him have political clout in Rivers state and Nigeria as a whole.
Although the rumour making the rounds has it that the rift between both men is equally the root cause of a crisis in the state’s party, the Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, however, debunked any such claim, saying there is no crisis at all in the party.
One of the chiefs said, “All these stories of Amaechi trying to stop Abe from getting the APC governorship ticket in 2019 are not true. These are the false narratives Abe and a handful of his cronies want people to believe as the reason behind the issues they are having. But it’s simply a lie, a concocted story to make Abe look like the victim, and wickedly albeit wrongly portray Amaechi as an oppressive dictator.
“The real issue between them is that Abe wants Amaechi to ‘anoint’ him as the Rivers APC gubernatorial candidate. Abe wants to be governor. That’s fine and good. But it is his desperation and the underhand tactics he is now using to get Amaechi to support and ‘anoint’ him as the Rivers APC candidate for the 2019 governorship elections that is causing all these problems between them.”
The party chief said that Amaechi refused to ‘anoint’ Abe or any other APC member nursing the ambition of running for governor in 2019, because “Amaechi’s position as the Leader of the party in Rivers State was that everyone with ambition to run for any elective office should hold it, keep it and work to build the party first.
“Amaechi made it clear that for the whole of 2017, rebuilding and re-strengthening the party should be the focus and goal of all APC members, and not campaigning for any elective office, whether openly or surreptitiously. That it’s a bit too early for campaigns.
“He advised that at the appropriate time, when the time is right, every aspirant could then come out and campaign openly and that all APC party candidates for all elective offices would emerge through the laid down process in the party’s constitution for the emergence of party candidates.
“Amaechi pointedly told the Director-General of NIMASA and the APC 2015 governorship candidate Dakuku Peterside and Abe not to heat up and divide the party in the state with their governorship ambitions. He advised them to keep their ambitions for now, work together in unity and harmony to build the party first. But for reasons best known to Abe, he decided to misconstrue Amaechi’s directives to build the party first, as lack of support for him (Abe) and his governorship ambition.
“Abe started telling anyone, who cares to listen, that Amaechi hates him, that Amaechi does not want to support and ‘anoint’ him as APC governorship candidate, and that Amaechi does not want him to be governor of Rivers State. A handful of Abe’s cronies started spreading the false narrative. They used the traditional media, social media and word of mouth to spread the lie that Amaechi wants to stop or block Abe’s ambition and started abusing, denigrating and calling Amaechi, the leader of APC in the State all sorts of names.
“Abe and his cronies in the party which are very few went further to try to undermine Amaechi’s leadership of the party in the state. They would always go contrary to and against the party position on any issue; they started leaking to the public, through different means, details of private party meetings with Amaechi.
“They were not just leaking but were also twisting the details from these meetings, most times, completely concocting and fabricating comments and ascribing these statements to Amaechi just to serve their ulterior agenda,” he said.
Another chief said, “What Abe is currently instigating and doing against Amaechi is so wrong and immoral. Abe is deceptively playing the victim to portray Amaechi as the evil emperor villain. But that is not true, neither is it the true situation of things. Abe can’t and should not do this to Amaechi. Amaechi has done so much, far so much for Abe. Agreed, Amaechi is not God, but God used Amaechi to make Abe who he is today.
“God used Amaechi to make Abe, the Minority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, when Amaechi was the Speaker; God used Amaechi to make Abe Commissioner for Information for four years when Peter Odili was governor of Rivers State; God used Amaechi to appoint Abe the Secretary to the State Government for four years, when Amaechi was Governor of the State; and who in Nigeria does not know that Amaechi was instrumental to making Abe a two-term senator today?
“Magnus Abe and his cronies should not bite the fingers that fed them and still feeding them. Abe can have any ambition and run for any office he wants. No one can or will stop him, just as he can’t force anyone to support or ‘anoint’ him as APC governorship candidate. This attempt to move against Amaechi because Amaechi has refused to ‘anoint’ him or because he perceives that Amaechi may not support him is so wrong,” he said.
Moreover, the Rivers APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, in a statement to Vanguard said reiterated that there is no crisis in Rivers APC and that all the executive members of the party remained intact.
He said the clarification was necessary as the rumour had it that the Transport Minister, Amaechi, sacked some of the party’s executives. Describing such claims as pure false and misleading, Chief Ikanya said that, rather, what happened was that Amaechi reshuffled his own personal team in the state which is different from the party. He also said that being the person who formed the team in the first place, Amaechi had the right to make whatever changes he deemed fit within his own team.
The state’s party Chairman however advised Nigerians to disregard the rumours aimed at dragging the good name of the Transport Minister to the mud.
“Our attention has been drawn to all the hullabaloo, fake news and mostly distorted, inaccurate and misleading reports in the media, especially in the social media about a non-existent crisis due to some purported changes in the leadership of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in Rivers State. This is not true, entirely false and misleading. For clarity, we wish to state categorically that:
“1. All members of the All Progressives Congress(APC) leadership in Rivers State are intact. From our ward officers to State party executives, no one has been removed or suspended from office.
“2. We are aware that our leader, the leader of the party in the state, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is making some changes in his personal political group, team or caucus in the State. It is his right and prerogative to make any leadership changes within his own political team, group or caucus. Amaechi created the caucus, team or group, appointed its members and leaders and so can make any changes he deems fit with this is personal group, team or caucus.”
“But we must emphasize that these changes by the Honourable Minister of Transportation within his personal political team, group or caucus has absolutely nothing to do with the party leadership structure and does not affect the party leadership structures at all levels in the State.
“3. Contrary to fake wild speculations and deliberately misleading insinuations, no member of the party in the State is been stopped or prevented from having ambition or wanting to seek for any elective office. And we must reinstate here that no APC member will be stopped or prevented from seeking any elective office. We know for a fact that as a consummate democrat, our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has not and will not stop, prevent or even attempt to discourage any party member from seeking any political office, elective or otherwise.
“4.For the purpose of clarity, we want to emphasize that as a truly democratic party, The APC in Rivers State will ensure a level-playing field for all its aspirants to any elective political office. In accordance with our party rules, regulations and constitution, we shall be fair to all aspirants and will always ensure that the process leading to the emergence of our candidates for all elective political offices is free, fair and credible.
“5.Sadly, this morning, we have seen or heard disparaging comments in the media attributed to less than a handful of party members on this issue. We suspect that they were misquoted or even didn’t say what were attributed to them. With the deluge of orchestrated false and fake stories about our party and our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in some segments of the media today, we are constrained to believe that these comments are fake like the false and fake stories been peddled to the media by detractors about a non-existent crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the APC; and fake comments that are been deceitfully and misleadingly attributed to our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“6. Finally, we want to remind and appeal to all APC party members in Rivers State that we are just half way into 2017, and campaigns for the various 2019 elections are yet to commence. Therefore, this is the time to join hands, come together and work in harmony to build a stronger and better party that will defeat our opponents at the polls in 2019.”