By Gift Osaze
Rotimi Amechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation is not a happy man. Amaechi’s source of unhappiness was the exclusion of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC, from the governorship, National and State Assemblies election in Rivers state in this forth coming election.
The Commission had told those that cares to listen that it was a deliberate effort to spite the party but to rest a Port Harcourt High Court ruling on May 18, 2019 which nullified the party last primaries in the state and subsequently ordered the electoral not to endorse any APC Candidate for the election. The party was said to have conducted two primaries : direct and indirect primaries. The direct primaries had produced Senator Maganus Abe as the governorship Candidate and other Candidates for other elective positions.
Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the sate and minister of Transportation who controls the party structure was said to have organised an indirect primaries which produced Tonye Cole, an a Lagos based business man and other Candidtates for other elective offices. The elected Candidates , formed the Amaechi, which was submitted to INEC, for endorsement . Abe , who felt short changed did not find it funny engaged Amaechi in a legal battle to frustrate his plan.
With backing of other 22 aggrieved members of the party, Abe had dragged the party to Court to stop the endorsement of the list of Candidates presented to INEC for the election. He was said to have armed himself with his own list of Candidates as a replacement, which he claimed were elected at the party primaries. The case had dragged on to the Supreme Court but the duo finally lost out on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, thus, throwing the minister’s Camp into confusion.
He claimed that the governor has been” lobbying and negotiating with the party to be allowed for a second term in office” while promising to support to the APC Presidential Candidate total support to win Rivers state in the February 16, 2019, Presidential election. He may have shot himself on the leg when he said ” we will battle him to the lat”.
Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and National Chairman of the APC, regarded as the major problem of Buhari in APC, because of his flippant statements ,could not hide his frustration as well as he said ”we must fight for our right to ensure that our Candidates were fielded by IEC for the various elective offices in the state, from the governorship to state Assemblies.
The duo had expected Buhari, to speak on the Court ruling asking INEC not to field any APC Candidate for any elective office in Rivers state in the forthcoming election as he said he would not interfere with the workings of the inherited institutions, insisting that the Institutions including the Courts must be allowed to do their job.
He was said to have made it clear to the party Chieftains
Amaechi and his foot soldiers may have worked round the clock to mobilise the teeming from all the 36 local government Areas of the state with hope that Cole, his godson , would be given the party flag by the President as the party flag bearer. He was disappointed.
Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, and the Rivers state Police Command Spokesman confirmed that four people died in the struggle to maneuver their way out of the Stadium, which the APC , Presidential Candidate considered very disturbing when he heard about it . But Wike, who is a trechant critic of the Buhari Administration , for bringing suffering to the people of Rivers state claimed that 17 people lost their lives in the APC Presidential rally.
The large turn- out at the APC, presidential rally may have sent a signal to the Rivers state state governor that he must not take things for granted as Amaechi and the APC could pull a surprise during the Presidential and governorship elections.
Political watchers fears that Amaechi, the godfather of APC , in the state , might mobilise the party supporters to vote either for the Labor or the Social Democratic Party governorship Candidates who are on the race to the Brick House and the other of their Candidates seeking elective offices to frustrate the PDP .
The minister may have told his arch-political rival ”since, I cannot have it, you too, cannot have it”. The governor may have read the handwriting on the wall that he had no option but to reach out to the non-indigenes in the state to seek their support in the February 16 and March 2, 2019 , elections , to gurantee PDP victory in the state. Many believe that the signing of the second peace accord between Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP and the other Candidates under the close watch of Abdusalami Abubakar and other members of the National peace Committee may have saved an impending doom in Rivers state. This is because ,Amaechi, the minister of Transportation could go to any length to make trouble with INEC for stopping his Candidates in the election.
Appealing to Nigerian youths to” eschew all forms of violence”, pleading the Candidates to” accept the final outcome of the election” for peace to reign. Note that in every of his Campaign rallies in the states including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, , he had repeatedly told the people to vote whoever they like during the election and not necessarily him.
He may have been guided by the record set by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who conceded victory to him in the 2015 , election, when he saw the way the result was going. Atiku, who many believe that his supporters would not take it if he loses to Buhari in the election because of his alleged popularity and poll forecast that he will win, may have re-echoed Jonathan’s message to the youths , ”my ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian”.
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