It is convenient to say that peace is still far away from The Rivers State chapter of the APC. The faction led by Senator Magnus Abe is not relenting in the fight to force the faction led by the transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, to allow them have a space in the scheme of things in the party.
But spokesman of the party, Chief Ogbona Nwuke who is a former member of the House of Representatives and former commissioner under Amaechi believes that Abe and his followers are not telling Nigerians the truth.
Let’s begin with the ward congresses that your party conducted. There are still pockets of protests by aggrieved members who felt they were shut out. What really happened and what is the fate of those who were shut out?
We are tired of lies; tired of people who are doing propaganda instead of playing politics. These people on their own, in broad daylight pulled out of the ward congress. We did not chase them away. They came with photocopies of bank tellers to acquire forms contrary to well known conventions claiming they have court judgment . When they were asked to provide proof of ownership of those tellers, they ran away. Now, they are claiming they were shut out. Who shut them out?
They claimed that the caretaker committee connived with the team that came from Abuja to deny them the forms, even when they had paid for the forms.
Thrash! They know that is not true. Amina Ibrahim Gawama addressed that issue while she worked with members of her committee here.
Abe was the one who tried to infiltrate the committee. He tracked the committee leader to her home and told the usual venominous tales. He got assurance that there would be a level playing field. The committee got into Port Harcourt and started calling Abe to send his men to acquire forms all to no avail. We are not cooking this up. The woman, I mean that Committee Chairman disclosed this at her press briefing in July. That was a day before Abe, beaten to his own game of manipulating circumstances, called the press to throw in the towel.
We cannot continue to recycle lies. Those who came with originals of bank tellers from Abe’s political family were given forms. Some of them showed proof of this on the social media. Besides, the records are there for all to see. Complaints were raised at appeal, it did not fly. Those who served in the appeal committee were different. How can everybody be against Abe? When will Abe realize that he is the only one against himself?
Talking about Magnus Abe, we had thought that the minister of transportation had reconciled with him, especially when we were told that the parallel APC office had been closed. Are you people not afraid that this looking crisis may still hunt the party in Rivers in 2023?
Let me start with the last question. We are not afraid of anything now that you are talking directly about Magnus Abe. No two situations are exactly the same and it would be wrong to succumb to blackmail, especially if it is coming from Abe. Everything that is reasonable has been done to accommodate Abe by the leadership. There have been meetings, committees that were set up to mediate, and all who have intervened have pleaded with Abe to back down and make peace. They have all begged him, persuaded him and prostrated before him.
Abe has refused because there are persons who are sponsoring his rebellion. Where are Abe’s followers? Most of them, especially the influential ones have drifted to the PDP. Other strong members of his team, tired of being misled, have joined the minister of transportation. So, who are you likely to find in the so-called parallel office? Ghosts?
We have a situation where the attitude of the Senator can be likened to that of an over spoilt brat. People are tired. He is on his own.
This statement is full of insinuations. You are inferring that the senator is being sponsored to destroy the Rivers APC. Sponsored by who?
Those who are supporting him know themselves. I’m sure they are known to the senator as well. People should use their tongues in counting their teeth, so says an African proverb. This proverb and its intended meaning should suffice. Let me add that it is no longer a secret. It was known among those who were following him. It is known everywhere.
You accused some judges of being responsible for what has been called cash and carry judgements against Rivers APC. How did you arrive at your conclusions?
Go look at the facts. There are no less than 27 judges. The judges that we named have been the very ones who have presided over politically motivated cases. Across the country, people are complaining about the damage that judges who are selling injunctions and other court orders are causing. They are damaging the integrity of the judiciary.
You ask how the APC arrived at that. Since 2018 or thereabouts, these judges have been the only ones handling countless cases targeted at the APC. The question to ask is, why are they the only ones, in a system that has senior and experienced judges?
What this means that experienced and senior judges who have an image to protect have been shunning these “bread and butter cases”.
What are your specific expectations from the petition you sent to the NJC?
You do not expect me to talk specifically on this matter. It is sensitive. We do not intend to prejudice the outcome of NJC’s investigations.
What does the future hold for the APC in Rivers, with all the altercation that have refused to abate?
There is a brand new future that’s beckoning. We haven’t invested in an oversized coat as a party. We have taken accurate measurements.
On the contrary, Rivers people are identifying with the APC. They know we hold a lot of promise. They can look at the present administration and the previous one and they can tell the truth about how Rivers interests were handled.
Rivers money was for Rivers people. That era is gone. Now we hear of investors that nobody knows. Civil servants are being chased out of their living homes by a government which doesn’t care about workers’ welfare.
Mothers and children as well as the elderly didn’t have to pick up their medical bills in the past. That has changed.
Our students with good and excellent brains were sent to good schools abroad. They included children of the poor. They have been withdrawn by our new masters. Our leaders in the state have been tried and tested, which is why we are insisting the future is bright.
Those who are trying to derail the dreams of the Rivers people and the place of the APC in it will not succeed. We proclaim, “Holy Ghost fire!”
How did you feel when flood from the heavy rain of today caused havoc in all parts of Port Harcourt? What is the government not doing right?
Sour, bewildered, shocked. Somehow, it showed how little we are paying attention to climate change; how unprepared we are to face reality.
Storm water took over everywhere, bringing traffic in the city to a complete halt in several parts. Most roads were absolutely covered by surging flood water. It is not difficult to predict weather these days. Science has become more precise. One can tell where it would rain, when it would rain. You can tell where flooding is possible, how long it would take before receding. Areas that fall within floodplains are equally known.Bits of information that are available should make it easy for government to plan. This is not usually the case. There are blocked drains which are unable to cope with flood water when the rain falls.
Government isn’t doing enough to take advantage of advance warning mechanisms; enough to properly channel flood water and reduce the tendency of flooding; enough to enlighten its citizens on the flood menace; enough to protect possible victims; enough to support those in our State impacted by floods. There is this feeling, the attitude by the State Government which seems to support the thinking that matters pertaining to the environment and the mishaps that are associated with it should be left to the Federal Government. This is not right, certainly not reasonable. It is not in the best interest of our people.