Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
As political analysts rue the increasing conflict within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Leyii Kwanee, has said there is no rift between the immediate past governor of the state, Chibuike Amaechi, and the Senator representing Rivers South East senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt saturday, Kwanee said Amaechi and Abe had been friends for a long time and added that recent statements credited to Abe did not show that there was any form of animosity between him (Abe) and Amaechi.
Kwanee, who said he was making a return to the APC after being on sabbatical from politics since he left office as deputy speaker of the House of Assembly in 2015, stated that he had to make a return and help to build the party ahead of the 2019 election.
He said, â€œAPC is a big family. What you are seeing is not crisis and we donâ€™t have any crisis in APC. I am solidly with the leader of the party, who is Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi. We will all work together to strengthen the party in the state.
â€œI have respect for Senator Abe. His friendship with Amaechi has come a long way and no crisis can tear them apart. Senator Abeâ€™s recent statements did not show that he and Amaechi have any misunderstanding. We will all work together to form a formidable party for Rivers people.â€
On the clean-up of Ogoniland, Kwanee disagreed with critics of the Federal Government, saying that the process of the clean-up had begun.
He recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan, who spent six years in power, failed to address the issue of the oil pollution affecting the people of Ogoni.
The former lawmaker commended the Federal Government for setting up a workable structure for the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
He said, â€œI am confident as an Ogoni man that the clean-up of our badly-polluted environment will be carried out. I thank the President (Muhammadu Buhari) for his gesture because our own son from the Niger Delta spent six years as President and could not do anything for the clean-up of the Ogoni environment.â€
On claims that Amaechi coerced members of the state House of Assembly to divert their funds to an account belonging to the Empowerment Initiative Support (ESI), a pet project of the former governorâ€™s wife, Dame Judith Amaechi, during his tenure, Kwanee said it was false.
â€œThat allegation is false, fabricated and never happened. There was no such thing when I was a deputy speaker,â€ he said.