RIVERS APC CRISIS: NEITHER SEN. MAGNUS ABE NOR DAKUKU PETERSIDE DESERVES THE GUBER TICKET – ACTIVIST TELLS AMAECHI
As the All Progressives Congress, APC elects its new state officers today (Saturday) in congresses across the country with the quest for political supremacy, competing stakeholders continue to threaten the party’s dominance of the political space ahead of 2019. Political analyst, Civil Society Activist and member of the APC, Comrade Engr. Japhet Ogbueri leads Uchechukwu Ugboaja into the murky waters of Rivers politics, dissecting the complex issues around intra-party violence and why neither Sen. Magnus Abe nor Dakuku Peterside deserves to be next governor of Rivers state. Excerpts
By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja – Port Harcourt
INTRODUCTION: My name is Comrade Engr. Japhet Ogbueri, the National President Niger-Delta Youth Leaders Council, the Speaker of Citizens Apex Parliament, the Vice-President General Ogbaka-Echie Socio-Cultural Organisation worldwide and Assistant Secretary General, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Rivers state chapter.
QUESTION: You are welcome Sir, firstly what is your interest in Rivers state ?
RESPONSE: As a major stakeholder in the state and also a futuristic contestant, I feel that it is very important to establish the fact that it is time for the young men and women from Rivers state who have the courage and sagacity to actually lend their voices to the prevailing situation in the state, with a view to reaching permanent solution to the crises bedevilling the APC in the state.
QUESTION: Are you a card carrying member of the APC, where is your ward and did you participate in the controversial Ward & L.G Congresses ?
RESPONSE: Yes of course I am an authentic card carrying member of the APC Rivers state, my Ward is Ward 8, Unit 2 in Umeze Village, Umuogba Community, Omuma LGA, Echie ethnic nationality, Rivers state. I have also been privileged to lead various youth organisations, community organisations and student pressure groups in the state.
QUESTION: With your vast background in Rivers state political activities, what can you say about the current imbroglio within the APC especially in view of the ongoing Congresses across the state and the nation at large. Is this a proper reflection of what a ruling party should be involved in?
RESPONSE: Let me be very straight with you, APC as a political party is not in disarray this is just political activities, I mean it is strictly a party affair, private affairs of the partisan members. It is not a public matter and so I don’t know why PDP members have actually deemed it fit to make APC matter their preoccupation or campaign point, just in order to disparage the process of the APC in the state and this is the same process that the PDP went through for more than 10 occasions in the last 16 years, so why the hullabaloo over what is happening inside the APC ?
Congresses are simply internal party activities or arrangements within a party, it is just like when a family gathers to begin to partition who will have what and do what within the family. So the structures are the ward chairmen and executives which is going through a democratic process regardless of what the PDP is claiming but in any case actually non of their business how it is done.
QUESTION: But the unprecedented chaos that have seen lives been lost and most recently the violence unleashed against the Judiciary after the Rivers High Court delivered judgement restraining your party, APC in Rivers from going ahead with the LG Congress, was that also part of the internal democratic processes exhibited by your party?
RESPONSE: I will want you as a journalist to disabuse your mind of every preconceived idea or notion about what is going on in Rivers APC. This is party politics and in party politics there must always be a leader, and it is an indubitable fact that the leader of APC in the South-South and by extension Rivers state is Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State. I can tell you categorically that Amaechi may not have rigged the process but he could have influenced it, and so what is the big deal? Or can Gov. Wike deny not influencing any of the intra party elections he had contested ?
The leader decides what happens in the party and this is the fact. Everything that happens within the party remains at the discretion of the leader, he decides how the party is run and all loyalty must be pledged to the leader because it is the leader that delivers the block votes to the President. I can tell you that BUHARI DOES NOT KNOW ANY POLITICIAN IN RIVERS STATE INCLUDING SEN. MAGNUS ABE, IT IS THE HON. MINISTER OF TRANSPORT ROTIMI AMAECHI THAT HE KNOWS, because if Rivers state fails Amaechi have failed and if Amaechi fails, President Buhari have failed too, that is the way party politics works.
With respect to the ambition of Sen. Magnus Abe, he is a very viable candidate even as a Senator, he has what it takes to become the governor of Rivers State, but since the history of Rivers state, all those who begin early campaign for governorship have never won it, but as regards the Ward and LG congress is concerned there was election in in the 319 Wards in Rivers state. I was in ward 8 where everything well peacefully and we voted for our delegates. Again I want to say that if we start kicking against the will of the leader it is a recipe for disaster which means you will incur the wrath if the party, just like what Sen. Magnus Abe is doing. Even though I have so much respect for the Senator, the scenario playing out have shown that he doesn’t have any good intention to govern the state.
QUESTION: Doesn’t the Senator have any right to aspire for the governorship position under a party he had worked for and fought for to become the ruling party at the Federal level?
RESPONSE: Does he also have any right to destroy the party secretariat ?
REPORTER BUTTS IN: But are there evidences linking him (Sen. Magnus Abe) to any of the violence that have occurred so far ?
RESPONSE: Were these attacks carried out by spirits ? The Senator has supporters and he controls his supporters and he ought to take responsibility for whatever actions they carry out in the guise of their loyalty to him.
Today Sen. Dino Melaye have been charged for allegedly arming thugs and all that, has he killed anyone by himself ? No, but he is seen answering for whatever is alleged that his supporters have done, so also is the Senate President who unfortunately has found himself in the same category of being accused for what some of his loyalists are alleged to have done in Kwara state, so Sen. Magnus case may not be different. In summary the killings in Rivers state have nothing to do with APC, they are simply political in nature.
Another important point I want to make is that THERE IS AN OBVIOUS INTER PARTY COLLABORATION BETWEEN SEN. MAGNUS ABE AND GOV. NYESOM WIKE WHICH IN ITSELF IS AN ANTI-PARTY ACTIVITY that attracts some important sanctions from the party leadership.
REPORTER BUTTS IN: But aren’t they both Rivers men ?
RESPONSE: This is anti-party politics at play, I mean where you have a Senator and a senior member of the APC fraternising with a governor from the PDP, this is uncalled for, they both cannot interplan especially in view of 2019. Or can you imagine a situation where Chelsea and Manchester United Captains collaborating ahead of any big match like the F.A Cup Finals scheduled for Saturday.
Another thing we must not loose sight of with regards to internal democracy is that in some countries that practice democracy the party is stronger than the President, just like it is the practice with South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), which was able to ease President Jacob Zuma out of office. The case in Nigeria is different where the President appears stronger than the party in will and in decision making, with the command and control structure all under him. So that means that if the President wants anything done in Rivers State, he will depend on the Hon. Minister of Transport and not Sen. Magnus Abe to deliver it to him.
So it is very obvious that Senator Magnus Abe has been in collusion with the PDP to undermine the APC in Rivers state which can be seen in the way and manner the PDP thugs vandalize the court premises.
REPORTER BUTTS IN AGAIN: But the PDP we know is not a respondent or a party to that suit which was to stop the further conduct of L.G and State Congresses in Rivers?
RESPONSE: I don’t want to call names, because we all saw the PDP thugs in various online videos on the incident.
REPORTER: Do you know any of the thugs?
RESPONSE: Who doesn’t know them ? They were all there, and we saw them in action that day, or must they be mentioned by me?
There names are all on facebook and social media, so I see no reason why we should continue to portray the Rivers APC as a violent party. APC members gathered in Port Harcourt High Court and the PDP thugs came to disrupt the proceedings. I think the media needs to be objective for Nigeria’s democracy to actually stand the test of time.
QUESTION: Senator Magnus have actually thrown his hat into the race as he recently declared his intention to vie for the APC guber ticket, but we also have the D.G of NIMASA Dakuku Peterside who was the former party’s flag bearer at the 2015 elections. Who would you say is best fit to run the party’s governorship campaign against the formidable PDP Governor Nyesom Wike if he decides to seek a second term ?
RESPONSE: Well gauging and weighing the candidates from their credibility, antecedents and experience, I would say that both of them are more than qualified to go for the governorship of Rivers state, but considering the controversial issues with both contenders especially as it concerns the already escalating crises already erupting in the state, I am of the opinion especially APPEALING TO THE HON. MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND LEADER OF THE PARTY THAT IF SEN. MAGNUS ABE WILL NOT BE CHOSEN, THEN DAKUKU PETERSIDE SHOULD ALSO NOT BE GIVEN THE TICKET, INSTEAD A NEUTRAL AND VIABLE CANDIDATE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED.
The Hon. Minister should in the overall interest of the party search inwards within the party and pick a better candidate who can be able to appeal to the electorate and dislodge Gov. Wike and the PDP from the Rivers state government house.