(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Last week, the news was all over the place that Senator Magnus Abe has been appointed to represent the entire South South in the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. That appointment, coming after his unsuccessful bid for the governorship ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress, in the 2019 elections, was like an answer to the prayer of many his supporters and admirers across Rivers State. That appointment is also seen by many as a deft move which will lead to the rising of some, and the falling of others as attention shifts to 2023 in the months to come.
The reasons are obvious: the senator, known for his generosity and admirable personality, is definitely going to use his position as a member of the board of the NNPC to change the lives of many, not only in Ogoni land but also in the entire South South. And that is the catch: the appointment has projected the Ogoni born politician to become, not just a household name in the Rivers South East, and in the state – as was the case until the new appointment, Senator Abe now has the entire South South as his constituency.
And as a politician who is not only intelligent and articulate but also has the right manners and carriage, there is no doubt that he will use the new office to make new friends, not only in the South South but in the entire Nigeria, making him a difficult nut to crack by his political opponents. The implication is that, his resilience would be further boosted – to the point of possibly wearying any opposition to submission.
Over the years, Senator Abe has built a reputation of competence. He carries the aura, in his words and behaviour, as a man of all seasons; a fit and proper person for any important assignment. He demonstrated this as a lawmaker both at state and national levels. He also did same as Commissioner for Information in Rivers State, and as Secretary to Rivers State Government.
Many observers do not, and rightly so, see his recent appointment as member of the NNPC board as an end in itself but as a means to an end. There is no doubt that, the Ogoni born politician still has eyes on the office of governor of Rivers state, and his third attempt in 2023 might make or bury the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State.
This is because Abe’s resilience has become legendary: his unusual persistence and organizational ability have projected him as a stakeholder that can only be ignored at grave costs. He is an inspiration to many across tribal and party lines, and therefore enjoys large following in Rivers State. But he cannot do it alone; Abe needs the support of others if his dream can ever become a reality.
Meanwhile, the history of his political family in Rivers State is cluttered with vicious hatred and strife, but they must deliberately choose another way if they are serious about a different outcome. As we congratulate distinguished Senator Magnus Abe on the very strategic new appointment, which came when some persons had written him off, we sincerely hope that he will emphasize the things that make for peace, and that will also enhance his reputation as a large hearted, courageous and resilient politician.
The warning of Martin Luther King Jr. is however appropriate here: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, and will add deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars”. This pint was amplified by Renhold Neibuhr: ”We must be reconciled with our foe lest we both perish in the vicious circle of hatred’’.
Iheanyi Ezinwo, is the founder of Notable Outcome, distinct newspaper that is read globally.