(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -This might not be the best of times for the smooth talking Ogoni politician, Senator Magnus Abe who is representing Rivers South East senatorial district for the second time as his fellow Ogoni kinsmen appear to have sacrificed him in the over all interest of the All progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
It was widely reported, Monday, that APC stakeholders from Gokana Local Government Area, Abe’s home base have rejected Senator Abe’s claim that Rivers APC has zoned the party’s governorship slot to the Rivers South East geo-political zone. Among the stakeholders at the meeting were Hon. Innocent Barikor, lawmaker representing Gokana in the Rivers State House of Assembly; Hon. Victor Giadom, former commissioner in the state, and now a national officer of the APC and other key political figures in Gokana.
Leaving nothing to chance, these prominent kinsmen of Senator Abe, pledged their loyalty to the leadership of the APC in Rivers State under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation.
With this development, it has become abundantly clear that Senator Abe has again been played out of the APC governorship race, the difference this time being that the party leader reportedly forewarned that Abe will never be given the governorship ticket under his watch for reasons bordering on alleged disloyalty.
Meanwhile, members of the party from other outside the Ogoni nation have also reacted to the emerging argument over the zoning of the party governorship ticket in the state.
In his response, Hon. Iyk Orji who is from the Ikwerre Local Government Area clarified that the zoning of APC governorship ticket to Rivers South East was 2015 specific, and that it would be premature for any one to conclude that the same condition will hold in 2019 until the party so decides.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the APC leadership might be looking at the Kalabari axis made up of Asari-Toru, Akuku-Toru and Degema for a candidate in 2019, in the spirit of political balancing in the state, if Dr. Dakuku Peterside is denied a second chance.
Although there had been speculations that the party might be considering the option of Mr. Tonye Cole, a Lagos based international businessman billionaire of Kalabari origin, a school of thought insists that he is not known at home, having lived almost all of his life outside the state.
However, another school of thought contends that, outside of Mr. Tonye Cole, the Kabari ethnic nationality also has the likes of Dr. Sekonte Davies, a man they say has the academic and political experiences to fly the party’s governorship ticket in 2019.
Presently, Dr. Davies, who played a prominent role in President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in 2014/15, is presently an executive director at Nigerian Ports Authority, and eminently qualified to run for the highest political office in Rivers State.
Many observers who spoke to Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt were unanimous that, it is end of the road for Senator Abe’s governorship ambition, at least for now, and that the retinue of support that he appears to have garnered from outside Ogoni land cannot make up for the open denouncement of his ambition by his kinsmen.
The options open to Senator Abe, according to political pundits is to quickly retrace his steps, and submit to the party leadership as the party primaries that he is hoping to use to prove his popularity could still be stage managed to favour the preferred candidate.
The other option open to the senator, according to observers is to decamp to another viable party in the state, where he could negotiate to return to the senate, or be handed a ministerial ticket, especially as there appears to be no clear guarantees that APC will retain the centre in 2019.