- These are not the best of times for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state
- Key leaders of the party in the state are said to be at loggerheads over the 2019 governorship election
- The crisis in the party is over the control of the party’s machinery
A report by New Telegraph indicates that all is not well within the APC in Rivers state.
Key leaders of the party in the state are said to be at loggerheads over the 2019 governorship election.
The crisis in the party is over the control of the party’s machinery and is strictly between the minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi and the senator representing Rivers south east senatorial district, Magnus Abe.
While Amaechi, who is regarded as the leader of the party in the state and wields a strong influence in the party, Abe is said to be gaining grounds politically in the state.
Amaechi who usually has the final say over who gets what in the party is said to be facing a herculean task assertting his authority.
A source familiar with the workings in Abe’s camp, said the Ogoni born politician sees himself as the right candidate to contest against Wike in 2019.
During the recent defection of over 8,000 APC members to the PDP, one of the decampees, Chief Bob Chim Okala, a former chairman of Emuoha Local Government Area, described the APC as “a skeleton now.”
He said that the party does not have anything to offer the people of the state, urging other party members to join the PDP and join hands with the governor to move the state forward.
His words: “We know why we left the party. We are national technocrats; when we saw what they are doing at the state and national level, we decided to leave.”
The strain in the once cordial relationship between Amaechi and Abe poses a bigger problem than the defection. According to a source within APC in the state, Amaechi has made it clear he has “settled” Abe and Peterside, and owes them nothing. Abe on the other hand is not leaving anything to chance.
In 2015 when he lost the ticket to Peterside, he took the outcome as a loyal party member, but those who know him very well say that it was a major setback to his political career.
While some are quick to defend his concession to Peterside on the basis that Amaechi was the sitting governor at the time, and wielded enormous influence and power to determine who to succeed him. What has changed this time, however, is that he is no longer the governor, but holds a ministerial appointment.
According to the source, “Abe is not taking chances like he did in 2015, and he is ready to surmount any obstacle placed on his path to getting the governorship ticket for the APC.”
But Abe knows that he alone cannot stop Amaechi from ensuring that the candidate he supports for the APC governorship ticket does not get it. Recently, two names have cropped up as likely candidates to get Amaechi’s nod. They are Dr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who recently dumped the PDP for the APC.
The other candidate is Mr Tonye Cole, who is the Executive Director of Sahara Group. Lulu- Briggs and Cole are from the Kalabari axis, and any of them could get the ticket.
While Cole cannot be regarded as a real politician, having never contested any political office before, or made any comment to show he is interested in contesting, his name keeps cropping up. A similar name dropping process also occurred in 2014 when his name was shortlisted as part of those to succeed Amaechi before the ex-governor settled for Peterside.
Long before now, the disagreement between Amaechi and Abe was a cold war. It was mainly fought by their supporters, who lack the decorum to let things lie low, when issues bordering on party leadership cropped up.
While both Amaechi and Abe, have always displayed mutual respect for each other, both politicians have withered through thick and thin.