The crude display of power between the two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, which necessitated the organisation of two separate events at two different locations in the state, last Saturday, has further deepened the protracted crisis in the party, thereby threatening to tear the party apart.
Some members of the party, who spoke with The Tide last Saturday, after the rally in Bori in Khana Local Government Area, said that the organisation of the thanksgiving service for elected APC members at Polo Club in GRA, Port Harcourt at the same time that the party’s rally in Bori was going on shows that the two factions were bent on destroying the party in the state.
They said that if the situation continues, they may pull out of the party, albeit, politics for good.
Those who spoke to The Tide also criticised the factionalisation of the party, and described it as an unnecessary display of power and arrogance.
In his opinion, Patrick Amara said the display of power between former state governor and Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe had dealt a terrible blow on the APC in Rivers State.
According to him, “What is more worrisome is that some politicians instead of trying to douse tension, they have taken sides, and derive joy in mocking the party and those at the helm of affairs.
Amara said he wondered how fractured and factionalised APC in Rivers State can put the wobbling party together to enable it contest and win any election in Rivers State against a formidable and united Peoples Democratic Party team.
‘’How can a bruised and factionalised APC put disillusioned and disenchanted members together for the 2019 elections in Rivers State?’’, he said.
But in reaction to comments accusing the senator representing South-East Senatorial District, Magnus Abe of fixing his thanksgiving service on the day the APC had scheduled a rally in Bori, the lawmaker said he consulted all party stakeholders, including the failed gubernatorial candidate for the 2015 elections, Dr Dakuku Peterside, before fixing the event.
Abe expressed shock that he was accused of deliberately fixing his victory thanksgiving on a day already fixed for a ‘Free Rivers’ rally in Bori.
According to him, “I spoke with my brother, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, he promised to attend.
“I did not just invite my brother, Peterside, I spoke with him and discussed my victory thanksgiving service. He told me that he had a NIMASA event in Lagos on the 10th of February but he would do all he could to work around the event and honour our invitation”, Abe said.
“He never mentioned a ‘Free Rivers’ event fixed for the 10th of February because there was none planned at the time we spoke,” the senator added.
Abe said “The ‘Free Rivers’ event in Bori was hastily fixed for the 10th of February merely to showcase the power of a man and to show to the world that Ogoni people were not with me.
“Whether that succeeded or not is another story. The dilemma my friend, Peterside, is in merely goes to show that no one is free in ‘Free Rivers’. If Peterside was one of the organisers of the Bori event, then it was clearly done in bad faith because he had prior knowledge of my victory thanksgiving service in Port Harcourt”, Abe added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has called on Rivers politicians and political office holders to always place the state first in all their dealings.
Speaking during the thanksgiving service in honour of elected All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the National Assmbly and the state House of Assembly in Port Harcourt, last Saturday, Wike, said all political office holders should ensure the rapid development of the state.
He said this is the time to cooperate as leaders of Rivers State and build the state for the benefit of her people.
The governor said: “The state should be the first to be considered at all times. The interest of the state is paramount.
“When we come together, all we should preach is how Rivers State should be the number one state in the country.”
According to the governor, when the time for election comes, politicians can jostle for positions.
He explained that the APC members emerged victorious because God ordained their victories.
In his address, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki urged the APC in Rivers State to reconcile, pointing out that they would have challenges if their internal conflict persists.
He said that the party ought to have one programme last Saturday, but complained that the two programmes at different locations revealed that something was wrong.
Saraki said: “Without peace and reconciliation, victory will not be easy. There should be only one APC in Rivers State. What is happening is wrong. Let us have unity and let us work together”.
Also speaking, the senator representing Rivers South-East, Magnus Abe said as Rivers people, there shared a common destiny and heritage.
He said that the people reserve the right to determine who their leaders would be, stressing that the state must come first.
Abe said: “Now is the time to put the interest of the state ahead of anything else. We must work together, so that the people can benefit from the politics we play”.