Nigeria: Emergence of APC Third Force in Rivers

17 January 2020

The All Progressive Congress APC in Rivers State has been enmeshed in an age long crisis which has become like the lifeline or death trap for the party depending on the angle you look at it. The party in the state has been a subject of too many controversies and disputations with a third dramatis personae emerging with what can be described as the APC Rivers 3rd Force.

It all began sometimes in 2018 when the subject of who should then become the Governorship Flag-bearer came up. There was a sharp divide between the Minister for Transportation Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on one hand and Senator Magnus Abe on the other hand leading the two factions respectively resulting in parallel Party State Excos and two party Secretariats. The drama is endless. While the Senator Magnus Abe faction insisted on a direct primaries where all members of the party should choose the their candidates, the Minister Rotimi Amaechi faction insisted on an indirect Primaries. This led to multiple litigations, Court orders and counter orders. Congresses were conducted in disobedience to Court orders by the Amaechi faction which was accused of high-hacking the Party structure for personal gains without consulting other stakeholders. There were multiple orders and some conflicting at different times. This led to the failure of the APC to field in candidates during the last Governorship and State Assembly elections owing to judgments of Court up to the Supreme Court. It became a case of no retreat no surrender in both camps.

Towards the tail end of 2019 an order of Court stopped the APC from conducting a Congress was instigated and I had in an open letter on 3rd December 2019 in the Nation newspaper to the APC National Chairman lamented that the National Party leadership had abandoned the party at the state related only with Magnus Abe and Rotimi Amaechi to the exclusion of other members and stakeholders. This fight has led to the structural destruction of the party.

The argument though a subject now in court is that as a Statutory State Executive Council Member of the Party I have gone to as of right to demand the full enforcement of the APC constitution challenging several illegalities that has crippled the APC in Rivers state including the conduct of a congress and the setting up of an illegal caretaker committee for the party.

As we speak the APC in Rivers state appears to be without direction and a future because of the liturgy of conflict, horn-locking that questions their existence in the state.

Let the polity know that the APC is not a micro party of just two persons. There are several stakeholders, statesmen and women. Who, an aggregation of every bodies support base builds the party. We have a situation where for about four years since the run off in 2015 to 2019, our effort in four years has been wasted. We had a programme that would have genuinely delivered the Free Rivers Movement as a mobilization strategy. And indeed if you saw what happened in the Presidential Election in Rivers State, it shows that if we were in the ballot, we probably would have won the governorship. Even if we didn't, we would have had many seats in both National and State Assemblies. So you find out that the ego, the ego play is what has kept APC Rivers comatose

You cannot have former Deputy Speaker, Former Senators, Former National Assembly Members, Former Principal members of the state assembly, other stakeholders, businessmen, many who are constitutionally recognised as stakeholders in the party; you can't have these kind of people and we have never sat down once, just once to discuss what has befallen us in Rivers state. Everything has been reduced to just two persons.

We cannot, we have invested our time and our energy, yet the national leadership of the party has never called us to ask: what is happening in Rivers State? It is not right.

You cannot build something on nothing. First and foremost, the caretaker committee which I am contesting in court to be illegal was lopsided.

Secondly, you cannot hold a congress that is designed to disobey a judgement of the Supreme Court of the country. The Supreme Court is clear that as long as people bought forms and their monies are with the party, they must participate in a congress.

The issue is this, if you are obeying court orders, which what we are talking about, look at the orders. The National Secretariat should look at the order and deliberately design a system that will obey the order while maintaining the constitution of APC.

When we talk of betrayal, we know that the biggest betrayal, the biggest person that has betrayed anybody in Rivers State today is Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

Where is his relationship with Sir. Dr. Peter Odili today? A man who sacrificed all for him. And there is another level of betrayal. You have also betrayed the trust and confidence we put on you as a leader to lead us into an election. You betrayed it. We were not on the ballot. The only position that has come constitutionally to the state today, you have taken as the Hon. Minister. Where then lies the entire Rivers State. No Chairman, no councillor, no state assembly member. No House of Rep, no Senator. Nothing. Only one position. That is the greatest betrayal of trust because a leader, you must not be driven by ego.

We respect the party, we respect the constitution, we respect that authority lies with the person who has the highest level of position in the state who is the Hon. Minister. And we are saying, leader, call us to a table let us x-ray what are the issues. Are we going to go on like this till 2023?

Note it; people have become more politically aware of their political rights, so we cannot hoodwink anybody again. Feudal politics is gone. That I am a part and parcel of a system that is in government. Let Rivers State voice be heard. Let Rivers State be seen to be united. Let Rivers State be seen, as a force that it is in the party. We are indeed a party poised to bust out in Rivers State.


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