The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Isaac Ogbobula has said that Transportation Minister and leader of the party in Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has displayed character and consistency in his choice for a governor from the riverine area of the state in the next general elections in 2023.
The chairman who made the statement when members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State paid a courtesy visit to the Rivers State APC said that the former governor’s pronouncement showed character adding that he was being fair to all.
Leader of the APC in Rivers State, Amaechi had in a recent pronouncement urged the riverine people of the state to start a search for a suitable candidate for the governorship position in 2023, indicating that the party would zone that position to the riverine area.
Unfortunately, the statement was not well-received by many members of the party, especially his former friend and now stiffest opposition, Sen. Magnus Abe who argued that the former governor has no right to unilaterally determine where the party should zone its governorship candidate to.
“That is character. That pronouncement shows a character in a play. The man has been consistent,” Ogbobula declared saying that Amaechi had maintained right from 2014/2015 that it would not be fair for the upland to continue to retain power as far as governorship is concerned in Rivers State.
He explained that in the spirit of fairness the riverine politicians had to work against their own to have Odili from upland to mount the saddle as governor in the 1999 elections that ushered in the current political dispensation.
He said: “Come to think of it, before power shifted to the upland you were all here, you know what was happening before. I mean when we had Bayelsa and Rivers together.
“Those who were in charge of our affairs at the time this new democracy, that’s the time that Dr Peter Odili came into power, those who were in charge of our affairs, who could take everything, they were riverine people, like Elder Marshal Harry, A.K Dikibo and T.O. Graham Douglas.
“They were in charge and if they wanted to retain power, they could have done so but they said no, against all odds. In fact, going against their own brother Ebenezer Isokariari they practically handed power over to Dr Odili. And then here we are, we don’t want to cede to the riverine.
“So if the northerners insist because they have the strength, they have the population, they have what it takes to retain power in the north will we be happy down here in the south? No, we agitated for power to shift to come back to the south.
“So the same measure, the same thing you are advocating for the national and somebody has come here to express and some persons feel like, no. I think he was being fair enough and he is being consistent and that shows character.”
Ogbobula said that as a way of settling squabbles and disunity among members, the party has set up a reconciliation made up of prominent members of the party to listen to and resolve all misunderstandings.
He said: “The internal party issues are not unusual, there must be a contest, and some measures of conflict, it could be in any political party, or even in families and that’s why we make sure that each of our disagreements does not escalate.
“We have committees both at the state, regional and national led by Sen. Andrew Uchendu and Wilson Ake in the state and John Oyegun led a committee at the National level to resolve every issue and move the party forward.”
He said the committees at various levels have been working and urged any member who has any grievance to approach the committee so that their matters would be heard and resolved appropriately.
He stated that the Rivers APC has resolved to forge ahead as the strong force it is in the state saying; “APC is a party in the state that nobody should ignore, it’s not a paper party or social media club or an organisation, but a Political Party properly registered and credible in the state.”
Ogbobula assured that everything that the party needed to do would be done within the context of its guiding rules whether congress or any other activity to move the party forward.
“We are confident that come 2023 election our party will be in charge of leadership because Rivers people love us, we, therefore, urge every member of our party to join hands and move our party forward,” he stated.
He stated that the party would be ready to partner with the media to build a lasting democracy for Rivers State and express his appreciation for the visit.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Amaechi Okonkwo, the Chairman of the Correspondent Chapel of NUJ, Rivers State congratulated the party executives and members at the meeting for the final resolution of the long legal tussle that had held the party down since 2018.
He urged the party to the unit and provide Rivers people viable and credible opposition that would lead to further development and deepening of democracy in the state.
He said; The rank of the opposition is waiting for the APC to provide the needed leadership. Rivers people and politics are also waiting for the party to provide viable opposition that would help deepen democracy and bring about development and you cannot afford to delay these aspirations by continuing to fight among yourselves.”
Okonkwo assured the party that the correspondents were provided support to the party by giving fair coverage and reportage of its activities in the state as the union does not belong to any political party or organisation but only works for the development of the state.
“We urge that you give us an open ear, pick our calls, give us timely information that can help us give you the opportunity to always present your own side of the story,” he urged.
2023: Rivers APC Chairman describes Amaechi’s choice for riverine gov as display of character, consistency
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