Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation/APC leader in Rivers State

Political Conflicts In Rivers: APC Perishing In Vicious Circle Of Hatred?

(Asks Iheanyi Ezinwo)-
Conflict, which, for the purpose of this discourse can be defined as disagreement between individuals or groups because of perceived goal incompatibility, is not abnormal in any human relationship. Because people have feelings and aspirations which sometimes conflict with those of others, conflicts arise from time to time. However, conflicts, like any other human problems in the home, office and other theatres of life can be resolved if there are parameters defining the limit of behavior of those involved.

For example, in a marriage relationship where those involved believe that it is for life, the challenges that separate others do not put them asunder. They look for a way to get over challenges as they come. The parties show understanding, forgive each other and preserve their heritage while those lacking in understanding jump from one relationship to another, thinking that they can find a perfect partner somewhere, even when they are not perfect themselves.

Antecedent conditions abound in politics, and much more because of the fierce battle for positions that give occupants control of the common wealth. Interestingly, all politicians have one ambition or the other. While many are willing to wait for their time, some believe that it is now or never. And they deploy resources to bulldoze their way, and sometimes even destroying the system in the process. Those who cannot wait are the ones who change parties at will- a short cut which they hope will enable them realize their ambition. They also have the do or die mentality: it must be either them or their preferred candidates-and nobody else. People refer to them as godfathers.

Many of these political godfathers are less flexible largely because of their perceived superior economic power,and positions in the party. They therefore want to dictate who gets what and when. But there lies the problem: this tendency predisposes the system to major crises, and that is what has put the Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress in a logjam that the party finds itself today.

There is no harm in having political aspirations but it becomes unhealthy if it threatens the interest of the state and that of the party. In civilized climes, those who aspire to serve subordinate their ambitions to the overriding interest of the state and of the party. And this has helped them to manage very delicate situations and also improve their political process.


Senator Magnus Abe

On the contrary, Nigerian politicians appear unwilling to learn from history, especially in the area of imposition of candidates, and both their parties and the society have been worse off for it. The Peoples Democratic Party paid for it in the 2015 general elections, providing a rare opportunity for the Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress to take over leadership at the centre and in majority of the states in Nigeria.

In Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party is almost returning unopposed because of the protracted battle for supremacy in the All Progressives Congress. However, the general feeling across the state is that, the story would be different if Senator Magnus Abe is allowed to fly the governorship ticket of the party because a lot of things appear to be in his favour:  he is amiable and accepted across the state, and also has the experience and a solid political base.

If the political actors mean well for their party and the state, then they must demonstrate it by subordinating their ambitions to the overall interests of their party and of the state. With consultations, agreements can be reached, as without 2019, there can be no 2023.In politics, it is safer to aim at reconciliation than unrealistic total victory. Only those who look at the bigger picture overlook offense in order to achieve worthwhile goals.

Reinhold Neibuhr, probably had the Rivers APC in mind when he said:” We must be reconciled with our foes lest we both perish in the vicious circle of hatred”.
Iheanyi Ezinwo, public affairs analyst, is the publisher of Notable Outcome.

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