By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Minister of Transportation and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has declared that he could not be the leader of the senator representing Rivers South-east in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, as long as the senator has not accorded him the respect due a leader.
This is also as a chieftain of the party, Chief Eze Chukwuma Eze, accused the senator of dropping the names of President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the party as having endorsed his gubernatorial ambitions.
But Abe has come out to state that Eze and his co-travellers were bent on blackmailing the president to scuttle his governorship ambition.
Amaechi, in a statement issued by his media office yesterday repudiated comments allegedly made by Abe to the effect that he (Amaechi) is the senator’s leader.
The statement said Abe had last week, at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, told journalists that Amaechi is his leader.
However, Amaechi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State pointedly told Abe at the weekend that he’s not Abe’s leader and that Abe should stop deceiving the public by saying ‘Amaechi is my leader.’
“It’s cheap and indeed shameful political sophistry for Abe to stand in the APC secretariat and deceitfully say I am his leader, while all he has done, both privately and publicly in recent times is to undermine me, the APC and desecrate the APC in Rivers State. As a matter of fact, it is indeed very doubtful if Senator Abe is still in the APC. He mouths APC but his actions belie his words and clearly tell a different story.
“A man who wakes up, create an imaginary parallel party executive and went ahead to open an office for the non-existent parallel executive, that has no base and foundation, cannot be said to be committed, in anyway, to the party. As a matter of fact, his actions are obviously targeted at weakening and destroying the party.”
“Such a hypocritical, devious character cannot be my follower. I am not his leader.”
Also, a chieftain of the APC, Chief Eze, accused the senator of name dropping to the effect that President Buhari and other leaders of the party have endorsed his candidature for governorship of Rivers State.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, Eze said Abe should tender an unreserved apology to President Buhari, for the embarrassment his recent actions have caused him.
But in a swift reaction to Eze accusations, Abe’s Campaign Organisation, Freedom House, described it as cheap blackmail against the president.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday and signed by Attorney General of Rivers State under Amaechi and Director General of Freedom House, Worgu Boms, Abe said, “These rumours and insinuations, which had been making the rounds for some time, were given accent following the successful visit of the Ogonis to the President to thank his excellency for his efforts in the Ogoni clean-up.
“We would have continued to ignore the rumours, which were actually intended to blackmail the President, until it became clear that Amaechi, was behind it as he made similar insinuations to his supporters in Eleme LGA during a rally on Saturday, September 15, 2018.
“We wish to state categorically that at no time, whether in private or in public discussions, did the Senator Abe, or anyone associated with him, informed any one or give any impressions to any one to the effect that President Buhari, has endorsed him for the gubernatorial election in Rivers State.
“It is obvious that the motive behind this unfortunate and disingenuous rumour mill, which the Minister gave prominence to in his speech, is to blackmail the person of the President and sow seeds of discord between the President and the Senator who holds the President in very high esteem.”
He said, “Freedom House reiterates the preparedness of Senator Abe to present himself and run for the gubernatorial ticket of the (APC), in a primary election he believes will be free and fair and the outcome acceptable to all in line with the policy of our party, the APC, and the publicly-known desire of Mr. President for a free, fair and credible election”.
The statement urged the general public to disregard such statements and rumours and innuendoes no matter how highly placed the makers and the peddlers claimed to be.