Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The internal crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is deepening by the day as a faction controlled by the Senator representing Rivers South East District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe has opened its state secretariat in Port Harcourt.
But another faction controlled by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, described the development as “non-event”, insisting there was only one secretariat of the party under the chairmanship of Ojukaye Flag-Amachree.
Flag-Amachree had also warned that he would ensure that he shuts any parallel secretariat in the state leading to suspicions that he might have spearheaded the vandalism of the parallel secretariat last week. He however denied the allegation insisting that he said he would use legal means to ensure the closure of any parallel secretariat since there were no factions in the state.
But inaugurating the new secretariat yesterday in Port Harcourt, Abe declared that time had come for members of the party to sink their differences in order to allow peace to return to the party’s fold in Rivers State.
He said the proper thing for members of the party to do was to look for ways of achieving peace within the party in the state.
The senator said: “Let me also say that time has come for us to make peace in the party. People should not see peace as defeat. Peace is what we need to move the party forward.
“Let me also say that sending people to come and shoot members of our party will not bring peace. Sending people to begin a campaign of calumny against members of the party will not bring peace.
“The proper thing for us to do is to begin to look for things that will bring us together. I want to say without fear or favour, we need a united APC in Rivers State. That is why this secretariat is open to every member of the party, who is desirous of victory for the party.
“Nobody wants the present contraption, called a government to continue in our state. We want a change; we want true change and true progress. We want true prosperity. We can achieve that in an atmosphere of mutual respect not just for each other and even for the opposition.
“We can achieve that in an atmosphere of peace that respects the rights of other people and be ready to accommodate the voices of dissent.”
Abe, who is also a governorship aspirant of the APC, said the factional secretariat was open to all members of the APC in the state irrespective of affiliation.
In his words: “I thank all members of our great party, the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, particularly members of the state executive committee of our party, who had stood resolutely in ensuring that we gather here today.
“It is important that we remember that this executive of our party is the only executive of this party that was put together by all groups in the party. There is no group that did not participate in putting this executive together. The executive is therefore open to everybody in the party.
“This is the executive that was in place when the court gave the order that the party should return to status quo. It voided the congresses at that time.
“Let me say that therefore, in view of the existing legal situation in the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, this is the only executive that has no legal impediment. It is therefore open to all members of this party and can service.
“I want to associate myself with them. I can say that I support them and I stand with them because this is the only executive that is open to everybody. This is the only secretariat where you don’t have to preach any message of hate against any individual before you can enter.
“As long as you believe in APC, as long as you believe in (President Muhammadu) Buhari and you know that (Adams) Oshiomhole is our chairman, this secretariat is your own.
“You don’t have to like Senator Abe before you can come here; you don’t have to hate our leader, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi before you can come here. You don’t have to hate anybody before you can come here. As far as you are a member of APC, you are welcome.”
However, the acting Chairman of the APC faction, Prince Peter Odike was conspicuously absent at the event.