(By Chris K.Amadi)-The hope of supporters of Dr. Adol Dakuku Peterside that it will be business as usual has been dashed with the decision of the All Progressives Congress, APC, national office, under the leadership of the outgoing Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, ordering Rivers and other APC states where irregular congresses were conducted not to swear in their executives until satisfactory reconciliation and harmonization of offices have been achieved with the aggrieved factions.
This directive was given on Monday by the National Chairman of APC while swearing in Hon. Flag Amachree of Rivers State and other state chairmen of the party, on Monday, in Abuja. Interestingly, in Rivers State, the struggle for control of party machinery is between Rivers former governor and Nigeria’s Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, who is said to be favourably disposed to Dakuku Peterside flying the party’s governorship ticket for the second time in 2019, and distinguished Senator Magnus Abe, representing Rivers South East at the National Assembly.
Noteworthy is the fact that, Abe, who has declared his intention to contest for the party’s governorship ticket is from the Ogoni ethnic nationality, with the second largest population in the state. He is a lawyer, charismatic, and said to have a strong support base across the state. His supporters had protested against alleged irregular conduct of ward and state congresses and also rejected the executives that emerged from the exercise. In response to their action, a High Court in Port Harcourt granted their payers and nullified the whole exercise, and the feat has been followed by another order, but this time from the APC national office directing that the errors be corrected before the state executive is constituted.
While it is hoped that the executive positions of APC will be shared equally in Rivers State, especially against the background of the subsisting court orders which are seen to be in favour of supporters of the senator, who are seasoned politicians and stakeholders such as Felix Nweke, Allwell Onyesoh and Wogu Boms (who served as former commissioners in the state at different times); Chidi Nwihioka and Barry Mpigi (members of House of Representatives)and others who are grassroots politicians, there is said to be alleged palpable fear in the camp of Dr. Dakuku Peterside, that the development may narrow his chances of picking the party’s governorship ticket the way he did in 2015, especially, considering the current thinking that no one individual will determine who flies the party’s flag in 2019.
Meanwhile, analysts who spoke with Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt, were of the opinion that the directive from the national office of APC may aggravate the lingering crisis in the party in the state, should those responsible for carrying out the harmonization exercise fail to do the needful.
The directive of the national office is also seen by some observers as the second major victory for Abe, after his supporters successfully challenged the conduct of the congresses in court and in the party; and only time will tell if this second victory will lead to the third, and may be, the end of dictatorship in the party.