“Nobody can force me to endorse Abe’s governorship ambition,” Amaechi explodes.
*Suspends former Chief of Staff, Att-Gen, lawmakers, from party caucus
The Minister of Transportation and the Leader of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has vowed that nobody, not even President Mohammadu Buhari, could make him shift his ground on Senator Magnus Abe and endorse his gubernatorial ambition in the state.
Amaechi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State, who asserted his authority at a stakeholders meeting at the residence of former Chairman, Local Government Commission, Chief Nnamdi Wokekoro, Rumukalagbo axis of Port Harcourt, said that the gubernatorial ticket of the APC in the state was his prerogative.
The minister also held another meeting at the residence of the APC Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Barr. Reginald Ukwuoma. Those present at the meeting included: State party Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya; State Secretary, Mr. Emeka Bekee; member of the APC Board of Trustees, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; other stakeholders of the party in Rivers State.
“I have foreclosed Abe’s governorship ambition as far as the Rivers APC is concerned. If he likes, let him run to President Buhari, that will not change anything. If he likes, let him go to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, nothing will change.”
He stressed: “In my capacity as the leader of the APC in Rivers State, Abe cannot be the governorship candidate of the party in Rivers State in 2019. Abe has no character. I hear the executives of about 15 local government areas are already working for him. I will see how far they can go.
“I am the only one that can determine who gets the party’s ticket in 2019. Suddenly, Abe has become something else in the party because he won his Senatorial election. Was I not governor for eight years? Was I not Speaker for eight years?” he asked.
Amaechi warned that he would suspend any party leader that was supporting Senator Abe’s candidature for 2019. I remain the leader of the APC in Rivers State. Even if the 23 LGA chairmen of the party support him, that will not change anything.”
He recalled: “As the Speaker of the House of Assembly, I submitted his name to former Governor Peter Odili for appointment as Secretary to the State Government, SSG. But Odili turned down my request. Odili rather made him a commissioner for information.
“I appointed him as SSG in my first term as governor because I wanted to fulfill my promise to him. I recommended that he should move to the Senate in my second tenure. Because I now operate from Abuja, Abe has expanded his tentacles all over the place. Just imagine people who are not even politicians are now telling me that it is only Abe that can win the governorship seat for the APC in 2019.
“I am waiting to see how they will make him the governorship candidate of Rivers APC in 2019. We have the National Working Committee, NWC. We also have the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party. But no one will deny that I have made enormous sacrifices for the party to get to where it is today,” he said.
At Okwuoma’s residence, Amaechi pulled off his pugilistic gloves and branded Senator Abe as a “treacherous politician who is now fraternising fulltime with my political enemies in Rivers and Lagos States, including Abuja politicians who are always willing to flaunt their new found political titles and connections.”
The minister of transportation fumed: “I know Abe is a Senator. But I also know that he is fraternising with my political enemies like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. If Abe likes, let him come to Rivers State with the leadership of the National Assembly or that of the APC. I, Amaechi, will not support him for governor in 2019.
At 11.35.am, on Friday, Amaechi suspended Worgu Boms, former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, as the leader of the APC caucus in Port Harcourt Local Government Area, PHALGA. He replaced Boms with Hon. Wokekoro.
The minister of transportation later met with stakeholders of the party from Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, at 2.pm, and also suspended his former Chief of Staff, government house, Chief Tony Okocha, as the leader of the APC caucus.
Amaechi who met with top brass of the party from Etche Local Government Area, ratified the suspension of Chief Allwell Onyesoh, as the leader of the APC caucus in Etche. Chief Onyesoh’s suspension, last week, by a former member of the House of Representatives, Ogbonna Nwuke, sparked a whirlpool of discontent among top notchers of the party in Etche.
A leader of the party in the state who expressed dismay at the gale of suspensions embarked upon by Amaechi disclosed that Senator Wilson Ake, would be suspended later on Friday as the leader of the APC in Egba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.
The minister of transportation had removed Hon. Chidi Wihioka, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, as the leader of the APC caucus in Emohua. He replaced him with Chibike Ikenga, who is regarded as the minister’s satellite.
Some leaders of the APC in the state opine that the Minister has resorted to the suspension of party leaders in their respective local governments as a last ditch move to wrestle the APC from the clutches of Senator Abe, solely, to forestall him from earning the APC governorship ticket in 2019.