Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A former lawmaker, representing Rivers South-east Senatorial district, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has expressed regret that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was yet to learn valuable lessons from events that cost the party the opportunity to vie for positions in Rivers State during the last general elections.
He made this assertion yesterday, just as he ruled out any form of on-going battle in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), insisting that calls for the removal of appointees in the commission were diversionary.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Abe allegedly traced the genesis of the woes of the APC in Rivers State to the “unconstitutional decision of the leader of the APC in Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, to exclude and expel members of the party sympathetic to the ambition of Senator Magnus Abe from the party.”
He said it was unfortunate that the party was still toeing the same path even in its attempt to rebuild the party after the general elections disaster, adding that the party had failed to properly consult stakeholders before announcing dates for congresses, the same thing it did that caused the crisis in the first place.
He said he did not have any personal problems with Amaechi and would ordinarily communicate with him but for the barrier created by the allure of power.
Abe said: “When I had my thanksgiving service, the Archbishop who presided over the service, asked me if I had invited all those who had issues with me. He said I must invite all of them, including the governor, including the minister. He directed me to invite all those I have issues with, saying I should not come to the house of God with a divided mind.
“So, I invited everybody, including the minister and every other persons I have relationship with across the country. People honoured my invitation, including Governor Nyesom Wike, but the minister did not honour my invitation.
“I have no problem with the minister; I believe that power has its challenges. It is difficult to communicate with people in certain circumstances. It is better to let them be. When the opportunity presents itself, I am sure we will be able to communicate.”
On developments in the NDDC, Abe said demands by some people for the sack of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the commission’s appointees were diversionary and likely to ridicule the people of the region.
He said: “Honestly, I don’t see any battle in the NDDC; a lot of these battles are on the pages of newspapers. As far as I know, everybody that has turned up at the NDDC turned up on the instructions of the President.
“That is the person constitutionally mandated to appoint people into NDDC. If he has appointed anybody as acting or interim or whatever, we have to give them support.
“So all those who are calling for the sack of Senator Akpabio, I want to advise them, in the interest of the Niger Delta, let us not behave in a manner that people in the country will think that we don’t know what we are doing.”
Abe also dismissed insinuations that he was working for Rivers State governor, stating that even though he had and enjoyed a robust relationship with the governor, that closeness was ruptured when they went their separate ways in politics.
According to him, “Everybody knows that I know Governor Wike very well. We have worked together in the politics of Rivers State when he was the Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and I was the Minority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“It is not a secret that in Nigeria, the state House of Assembly that exercises core supervisory jurisdiction by law over the local government. So, we have a relationship. He served as the Chief of Staff to the Governor and I was Secretary to the Government of Rivers State at the same time. We have a very close personal and family relationship.
“But, in the cause of our politics, you know we are in different political parties, we had our disagreements to a point that we took on each other publicly. Given Nigeria’s style of politics, all personal relationships were ruptured as we went our separate ways politically and it remained that way.”