Amaechi’s Ex-CoS Shakes the Table, Blames Transportation Minister for Rivers APC Crisis
Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, appears to be at the centre of the protracted crisis that has been rocking the Rivers State wing of All Progressives Congress (APC) since the build-up to the 2019 elections.
All does not seem to be going good in his camp ahead of the 2023 polls. Except he gives in to superior argument, APC might be heading to the waterloo again in the state. On the internal bleeding of the party in the state, accusing fingers are pointing at the direction of the minister from his top political associates.
While as a sitting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, Amaechi defected to APC ahead of the 2015 general elections. He was rewarded with the juicy transportation portfolio since the inception of the Buhari administration.
Going by the latest revelation of his former Chief of Staff (CoS) when he dominated the affairs of Rivers as governor, Tony Okocha, Amaechi does not seem to be a good party builder. Okocha, his Ikwerre kinsman is blaming the minister for the crisis in Rivers APC.
While giving insight into the causes of the problems of APC in Rivers and proffering the way forward, he attributed the crisis plaguing the party to his former principal’s inability to listen to superior advice.
According to Okocha, “the emergence of two-state chairmen after our last state congress is not a good signal. Even the bible says a house that is divided against itself cannot stand. What you see as two chairmen in the party was avoidable but we chose the path we took. No politician will stand aloof and watch the other one outwits him.
‘’Politics is a game of wit but you don’t need to stand aloof. Failure is the ability for anybody to do nothing. This does not speak well of the party. There is a high degree of ineptitude in the leadership of the party. A party that is deeply rooted and robust like APC in Rivers ought to speak in one voice.’’
With two lists of delegates likely to emerge from Rivers for APC National Convention, Okocha said, ‘’I don’t expect that to happen. I am aware that a reconciliation committee has been set up by the national leadership of the party. But this problem is not peculiar to Rivers.
‘’You have it in more than 13 states where you have two or more chairmen emerging from one state. I believe that before the convention, this should be sorted out. This was supposed to be a family matter and it is not about land or communal dispute. It is a party affair.”
Continuing, he said in 2015 APC was on the ballot. ‘’I was a candidate of the party for Obio/”Akpo Federal Constituency. We didn’t have much problem. Our problem actually started years leading to 2019 when some people tried to undo some of us.
‘’After that election, we were doing a series of postmortem meetings under the leadership of Amaechi. He championed the cause from PDP to APC. I was the chief of staff then. I played very crucial roles then.
‘’After our abysmal showing in 2015, we likened that to the Federal Government using security apparatchiks with their collusion with INEC to undo APC in Rivers. We were meeting regularly. First, the meetings were led by Dakuku Peterside who was our governorship candidate in 2015. Those meetings had one representative from each LGA and I represented Obio/Akpo.
‘’Those were leaders of their LGAs. There were statutory members and these are former members of the National Assembly, former governors, former speakers and party officers who are still members of the party.
“This was before our leader took over and started to invite us to Abuja for meetings. Then a lot of us were in Abuja pursuing our tribunal cases which sat in Abuja because of security challenges in the state at the time. We were meeting to fine tune and re-strategize. The leader was in charge but he never listened to the people.
‘’He assumed he had the compendium of knowledge. When you cross-fertilize ideas, you get fresh knowledge. Knowledge is a universal concept. He called for meetings, only he would talk and would get up for another meeting. Nobody was given the chance to say anything and the meeting will rise. Even if there were two camps, as the leader alleged in the meetings and were visible, they were visible along the line of interest.
‘’There was Dakuku Peterside and there was Senator Magnus Abe. These were the two front-liners then. Is like, when you get salt and natural water they can never mix. As a former chief of staff, I still had the responsibility to advise my boss.’’