Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The senator representing Rivers South-east district in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, wednesday formally declared his intention to contest for the governorship of Rivers State in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Abe, who made the declaration while speaking at the inauguration of Freedom House, his campaign office, in Port Harcourt, said his decision to run for the governorship position is for the interest of the future of the state.
He said: â€œI am glad to say that I have reached a decision which I am going to share with you on a burning issue if Senator Magnus Abe is going to vie for the governorship of this state under the APC or not. I have taken every advice and every opinion I have been offered into consideration.
â€œI have also consulted my family and most importantly, I have consulted my God. There are several persons who have advised me against seeking for the office of the governor just as there are several who have advised me to go for it. Looking back now, everybody who had spoken to me did so with the best of intentions.
â€œHaving taken all these into consideration, I, Magnus Ngei Dunebari Abe, have decided to seek the nomination of the APC, Rivers State, in the interest of our state and in the interest of the future of our people.â€
He commended his supporters for conducting themselves with decorum, saying their actions were not signs of weakness but strength.
The senator said: â€œWe have conducted ourselves with decorum; we have shown and will continue to show great respect for our leaders. This is not our weakness, it is our strength. We must not allow conflict entrepreneurs and frustrated politicians whose only hope for relevance and economic sustenance is the continuous balkanisation of our party.
â€œSome of them are here and some of them are there. But all of us need to ensure that the congresses are free, fair and transparent. Any attempt to hold another hotel-style congress in Rivers State will break faith with the people of the state that we are a party committed to doing the right thing.
â€œWithout the confidence of the voting public, a political party becomes a mere social club. It will be good for dancing and partying but it will not win any elections.â€
In his opening speech, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, called on the APC to learn from the past mistakes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the country approaches the 2019 general election.
He added: â€œLet the APC learn from the mistakes of the PDP. The PDP was imposing candidates and that was why some of us left. Today, it is happening in the APC but thank God, Senator Magnus Abe came up. Let us have a transparent congress and let the popular candidate emerge.â€
He described Abe as one of the best sons of Rivers State, adding that the state needs a leader like the senator to treat all indigenes and residents of the state equally.
He said: â€œAbe is one of the best sons of Rivers State. He has embarked on a journey to free Rivers State. Abe believes on the development of Rivers State and the empowerment of the people.
â€œRivers State needs a leader like Magnus Abe, who will treat all sons and daughters equally. Rivers State needs a leader who will not victimise Rivers people and see sons and daughters of the state who have gotten national recognition as threats.â€
Also addressing supporters, the lawmaker representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chidi Wihioka, said the people of Ikwerre ethnic nationality and Rivers East senatorial district in general would support the emergence of an Ogoni as the next governor of the state.
Wihioka said: â€œNobody can cause problem between the Ikwerre people and the Ogoni people. The cooperation between the two ethnic nationalities had been there before we were born and it will not end at our own time.
â€œIkwerre people and the Rivers East senatorial district will support the Ogoni governorship ambition because the people of Ogoni supported Ikwerre people. The four local government areas in Ikwerre are in support and our senatorial district is also in support.â€