The power tussle between former governor, and Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe, over who controls the mainstream machinery of Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), deepened, last Friday, as the former announced removal of his former Chief of Staff, Chief Tony Okocha, and three others as leaders of the party’s caucus in their various local government areas.
Others affected by the leadership crisis in the state are Amaechi’s former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Worgu Boms, who lost his seat as leader of the party’s caucus in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, and member representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Chidi Wihioka, who was replaced as leader of the party’s caucus in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Also removed by Amaechi as leader of the party’s caucus in Etche Local Government Area is Hon Allwell Onyesoh.
Speaking at the various stakeholders’ meetings, the Minister of Transportation and the Leader of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, vowed that nobody, not even President Muhammadu Buhari, could make him shift his ground on Senator Magnus Abe and endorse his gubernatorial ambition in the state.
At a stakeholders meeting at the residence of former chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Chief Nnamdi Wokekoro, at the Rumukalagbo axis of Port Harcourt, Amaechi said that the gubernatorial ticket of the APC in the state was his prerogative.
During the meeting, which began around 11.35.am, Amaechi suspended Worgu Boms, as the leader of the APC caucus in Port Harcourt Local Government Area (PHALGA), and replaced him with Wokekoro.
The minister later met with stakeholders of the party from Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, at 2.pm, during which he suspended Okocha as the leader of the APC caucus.
The minister also held another meeting at the residence of the APC Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Barr. Reginald Ukwuoma, during which he met with top brass of the party from Etche Local Government Area.
At the meeting, Amaechi ratified the suspension of Chief Allwell Onyesoh, as the leader of the APC caucus in Etche. Onyesoh’s suspension, early last week, by a former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, had sparked a whirlpool of discontent among top players of the party in Etche.
Amaechi allegedly said at the meeting, “I have foreclosed Abe’s governorship ambition as far as the Rivers APC is concerned. If he likes, let him run to President Buhari; that will not change anything. If he likes, let him go to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, nothing will change.”
He stressed: “In my capacity as the leader of the APC in Rivers State, Abe cannot be the governorship candidate of the party in Rivers State in 2019. Abe has no character. I hear the executives of about 15 local government areas are already working for him. I will see how far they can go.
“I am the only one that can determine who gets the party’s ticket in 2019. Suddenly, Abe has become something else in the party because he won his senatorial election. Was I not governor for eight years? Was I not speaker for eight years?” he asked.
Amaechi warned that he would suspend any party leader that was supporting Abe’s candidature for 2019.
“I remain the leader of the APC in Rivers State. Even if the 23 LGA chairmen of the party support him, that will not change anything,” he boasted.
He recalled: “As the speaker of the House of Assembly, I submitted his name to former Governor Peter Odili for appointment as Secretary to the State Government (SSG). But Odili turned down my request. Odili rather made him commissioner for information.
“I appointed him as SSG in my first term as governor because I wanted to fulfill my promise to him. I recommended that he should move to the Senate in my second tenure. Because I now operate from Abuja, Abe has expanded his tentacles all over the place. Just imagine people who are not even politicians are now telling me that it is only Abe that can win the governorship seat for the APC in 2019.
“I am waiting to see how they will make him the governorship candidate of Rivers APC in 2019. We have the National Working Committee (NWC).
We also have the National Executive Committee (NEC), of the party. But no one will deny that I have made enormous sacrifices for the party to get to where it is today,” he said.
He branded Abe as a “treacherous politician who is now fraternizing fulltime with my political enemies in Rivers and Lagos States, including Abuja politicians who are always willing to flaunt their new found political titles and connections.”
The minister of transportation fumed: “I know Abe is a senator. But I also know that he is fraternising with my political enemies like the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki. If Abe likes, let him come to Rivers State with the leadership of the National Assembly or that of the APC. I, Amaechi, will not support him for governor in 2019.”