[OPINION] Amaechi-Abe face-off: When will there be an end in sight?
Whatever drove a wedge between two political associates that eventually pushed the APC Rivers State chapter in desolation, calls for urgent intervention. The faceoff between Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and former Senator representing Rivers Southeast in the Senate, Senator Magnus Abe let to the disqualification of the party from contesting in the 2019 general elections in the state. In spite the leadership crisis that rocked the APC at the national level, and the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, there seems not to be end in sight for the two gladiators in the state.
The faceoff between Amaechi and Abe stems from the governorship ambition of Senator Magnus Abe who was the Secretary to the State Government when AmaechI was the Governor of the state. Abe in an interview with The Nation accused Amaechi of attempting to frustrate him and his supporters out of the APC just because he nursed the governorship ambition in 2019.
According to the former Rivers Southeast Senator, he supported Dakuku Peterside, Amaech’s favourite for the governorship post during the 2015 election which he eventually lost to Nyelsom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but unfortunately ahead of the 2019 elections Amaechi accused him of not supporting the APC candidate in the 2015 election. Abe said that was the beginning of the protracted issue between the duo as Amaechi was hell-bent on seeing that Abe did not grab the party ticket to contest in 2019.
The faceoff between the two led to parallel primaries in the state which eventually cost the APC all elective positions in the state. A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt nullified the two primaries conducted by the Amaechi and Abe factions. The scenario paved a smooth ride for the PDP and Wike to coast to victory in the governorship contest.
The crisis in the state according to observers was fanned by the national secretariat of the party with Adams Oshiomhole, the then National Chairman covertly supported Abe against Amaechi. Chris Finebone, a close associate of Amaechi accused Oshiomhole, of showing too much ambivalence to issues pertaining to River state. He argued that should Oshiomhole had shown leadership and discipline in Rivers State, Magnus Abe would not have gone ahead to set up alternative state secretariat of APC.
But as the crisis in the party lingers on, a chieftain of the party in Rivers state, Eric Nwibani called for reconciliation of the two actors in the crisis in the overall interest of the party in the state. Nwabani in an open letter directed to Abe, urged the former Rivers Southeast Senator to forge a common front for Rivers APC and reconcile with Amaechi.
“It is common knowledge that you,” refereeing to Abe, “until three years ago enjoyed the best of friendship and strong collaboration with the man, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi whose highest political investment, you said you are.
“The friendship earned you uninterrupted and rapid growth in your career. It is true that you met Rotimi Amaechi at the Rivers State House of Assembly in 1999 but testimonies abound to the effect that it is not true that you emerge the minority leaders of the House of Assembly without the support of your friend Rotimi Amaechi.”
The APC chieftain recalled that in 2011 when Ogoni leaders did not support the nomination of Abe as the Rivers Southeast senatorial candidate, Amaechi insisted and he went ahead to serve two terms in the red chamber.
He advised Senator Abe to “stop the fight, return to your friend and leader and make peace with nature.”
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