Rivers 2019: Amaechi, Dakuku, Abe On War Path


Following the mass exodus of members of All Progressives Congress, (APC), in Rivers State to the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP),  the chances of APC in future elections in the state have become very  uncertain. This uncertainty became more pronounced when over 8000 former APC  members made a public declaration to join the PDP at the prestigious Sharks stadium in Port Harcourt on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
The story is also all over the place of more persons trooping to the PDP secretariat to declare for the party.  We gathered that last  Wednesday,  April 12, 2017 another set of  372 APC  members from Oyigbo   and  Etche local governments, as well as others from Ozuboko  section of ward 20 of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area deserted their former party for the PDP.
As if to add salt to injury, the leader of APC in Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in a meeting of the party’s caucus and leadership reportedly made the mistake of his life when he announced that the governorship ticket of the party in 2019 will be given to his business associate and crony, Tonye Cole, the  co-founder of Sahara Energy Resource Limited, the company said to have been involved in the controversial sale and purchase of some of the  assets of Rivers State  during  Amaechi’s tenure as governor.
This decision of the APC leader in Rivers State,  we gathered has now torn the party apart as the duo of Senator Magnus Abe and Dakuku Peterside, the two contending aspirants have now vowed to teach Rotimi Amaechi a lesson of his life. Although sources close to Dakuku appear to be silent  on how they feel about what an insider refers to as betrayal of the century, it is obvious that they are as hurt as the camp of Senator Magnus Abe,  given the fact that their principal (Dakuku) had had  the opportunity to bear the flag of the party in  the 2015 governorship election.
This cannot be said to be the same in the camp of Senator Magnus Abe, as his supporters are said to be hell bent on fighting for the ticket of the party for their principal. Abe’s group, it was gathered are not hiding their anger and disappointment in the choice of Tonye Cole and have vowed to dump APC if their candidate is not given a fair chance to contest for the governorship ticket in 2019.
Meanwhile, one of Senator Abe’s supporters who pleaded anonymity had threatened that APC in Rivers State risks disintegration should the Transportation Minister jettison, for the second time the democratic process of party primaries, and goes ahead to impose his preferred governorship candidate against the wishes of the majority.
His words: “Honestly, we are not saying that Abe should be given the ticket without any contestation. Anybody who wants to emerge as the party’s governorship candidate should do so through the ballot. The era of imposition is over.
“We will not tolerate what happened in 2014 to repeat itself in 2018.To be candid, if Abe is denied the ticket this time around,  the APC at this time will be her worst nightmare. The party will just become easy prey for the ruling PDP. Speaking for myself, we may be compelled to accept to get back to the senate on the platform of either the PDP or any other party that offers the opportunity”, the supporter bitterly concluded.
It would be recalled that, in 2014, the governorship candidate of APC, Dakuku Peterside, current director general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, was foisted on the party, a bitter pill which Senator Magnus Abe and his supporters managed to swallow as Abe was compelled to redirect his attention to the senatorial ticket.
Shockingly,  while APC is engrossed in internal squabbles, their leadership is losing  sight of the fact that Governor Ezenwo Nyesom  Wike, who has the constitutional right of second tenure is consolidating his hold on power by combing into the nooks and crannies of the state to attract the support of, not only the existing apolitical Rivers men and women but carting away APC members in their thousands. This development, it was  gathered, is apart from the governor’s preoccupation and commitment in providing enduring landmark infrastructural facilities for the benefit of the good people of Rivers State, testimonials  that have made his choice, both now and in the future unavoidable.
Reports say, this situation has placed  Governor Wike at an advantage over and above  any person  that may be put forward by the APC or any other party for that matter, as the people of the state have a choice between a tested performer and a neophyte who would come to learn on the job.
Reflecting on the likely political direction of the state in 2019, a political analyst, Dr Oforika Stanley observed thus: “Rivers state is experiencing and enjoying  massive infrastructural development under Governor Nyesom Wike and it will be stupid of any body to imagine that our people will ignore the high standards set by Wike and begin to look elsewhere. It will amount to the proverbial hunter who has killed an elephant and still begin to look for snail. It is certainly not possible, our people will continue to enjoy the peace, unity and progress Governor Wike had already put in place in our dear state”, Dr Oforibika emphasised.