Rivers 2023: Abe counters Amaechi over zoning of APC governorship ticket

Magnus Abe and Rotimi Amaechi: at war over the zoning of APC Rivers 2023 gubernatorial ticket

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Magnus Abe, a former Rivers South East senatorial district in the National Assembly has sharply disagreed over the part of Rivers to zone the All Progressives Congress, APC’s governorship ticket to in the 2023 election.

Amaechi had indicated that the Rivers gubernatorial ticket of APC for the 2023 election will be zoned to the riverine area of the state when speaking recently at Ogu-bolo in Ogu-bolo local government area of Rivers.

But while addressing his supporters in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Senator Abe disagreed with Amaechi, saying the party is yet to take any concrete decision on the zoning issue.

Abe said, “When you want to zone, there must be a process, there must be consultations. The people that are being zoned in must understand why they are being zoned in, and the people who are being zoned out must understand why they are being zoned out. If you just stand, carry a microphone and begin to zone to “unzone”, and “unzone” to zone, everybody knows what you are doing, and I want to stand here and say that it will not work.

“If that was an attempt to set the Riverine people against the rest of the state, I want to stand here to say that the riverine people I know are smarter than those who are trying to use them. It is a poisoned chalice. It is a Greek gift. It will get you nothing, because it is not well intended.

The former Senator further warned that no tribe or  group in Rivers State can produce a Governor without the support and cooperation of others.

He added that Amaechi does not have that power as far as Rivers State is concerned.

“How can anybody get up, in a party where we are to do registration, we have not even concluded the registration, we have not chosen one ward chairman, we have not chosen one ward ex-officio, we have not chosen a local government chairman, we have not elected a chairman of the party in the state, and even before we do any of that, somebody has come out to zone governorship of the party. Is that a sensible political action? Will it help the APC to win in Rivers State? It is an action that is doomed to lead to another round of failure, and we should not allow it.

“To that extent, let me say it here, loud and clear, what the Minister expressed in Ogu-Bolo – single-handedly zoning the governorship of Rivers State 2023, is his personal opinion, he does not speak for all of us in the APC”.

He added that it was too early to talk about where the governorship candidate of the party in the next election would come from.

Abe pointed out that the APC was yet to set up its administrative structures, saying that an individual cannot impose or zone governorship ticket of the party.

“When the minister of transportation visited Khana, he started well.   He said that every member of the party will be involved in the decision-making process of the party.  But last week, the same minister was in Ogu-bolo where he said that the governorship candidate of the party will come from the riverine part of the state. I want to say that the minister’s comment about zoning at Ogu bolo was his personal opinion.

“He, as an individual cannot determine on his own the area or zone where the party’s governorship candidate will come from. The zoning of APC governorship ticket should be the unanimous and collective decision of all the party members,” he said.