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Worries as Rivers APC chiefs dump party

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt 
11 July 2022   |   2:40 am
Fate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State in the 2023 elections is at stake, following gale of defections by party chiefs and supporters.

APC (All Progressive Congress) Flag (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Fate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State in the 2023 elections is at stake, following  gale of defections by party chiefs and supporters. 

In the last two weeks, over eight top-ranking party members have dumped the party with their supporters.
The latest is the former Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibim Semenitari, and  former member of House of Representatives, Dr. Dawari George, who were strong allies of the ex- minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi. 

Some members reportedly left unannounced and it is feared that more party stalwarts would leave in the coming days following what they described as a faulty leadership system and lack of reward to members. 

This is aside the large number of members that left the party in May 2021 after the Supreme Court nullified the emergence  of Igo Aguma as the acting chairman of APC in the state and ruled in favour of Isaac Ogbobula of the Chibuike Amaechi camp as the chairman. 

It was gathered that the latest decision by the chieftains to dump the party is the sequel to the lingering party crisis, which has denied members opportunities since 2015 when the row between Senator Magnus Abe and Amaechi started due to Abe’s interest to succeed Amaechi as governor, a move which he (Amaechi) refused.

The defections are also traced to the party’s choice of Tonye  Cole as its governorship candidate, a decision  which has further fuelled silent mutiny among party chiefs. 
 
Cole, a businessman, has been described by many, including Abe, as an alien to APC. Party chiefs, including some 2023 governorship aspirants, who spoke in confidence with The Guardian, maintained that Cole lacked what it would take to deliver the party in any election, vowing that his candidature would be resisted. 

Recent developments in the party have left many political observers wondering where Abe would pitch his tent in the 2023 governorship elections. 

Abe boycotted party primaries with  his supporters  as he described  them as charade but he has kept  reassuring residents he would be on the  ballot  paper and would  contest  next year’s governorship  poll. The drama keeps unfolding in the party. 

Ibim in her resignation letter addressed to the Chairman of APC Ward 5 Okrika, thanked the party leadership for the opportunities of service offered to her and wished the party well.

Another high profile member of the party, who left, is Golden Chioma, the factional chairman of the party loyal to Magnus Abe.  

Chioma in his own letter cited the faulty reward system and the conquest attitude of the leadership of the party  as his reasons.

He claimed the leader, Chibuike Amaechi, was not ready for genuine reconciliation of aggrieved members. 

“All those, who fought for the party, like myself and others since 2014, till now have nothing to show for it. The party’s reward system is very abysmal, rather those who have been opportune to find themselves  in some good spaces have have been throwing  gossips to please the leader either in the  social  media have been getting  all the  opportunities,” she said.

Similarly, a rights activist, Celestine AkpoBari, who is also a supporter of Amaechi and Mr. Mileirye Boma Ariyeaoba has quit the party. 

In a statement he issued in Port Harcourt, AkpoBari, the human and environmental activist, however, debunked reports that his decision to leave politics had something to do with current upheavals in APC. Rather he stated that his latest decision was to enable him focus on his primary occupation, being to fight for human and environmental rights, and focus on his academics. 

He said: “I had contemplated for sometimes to leave politics and face squarely my human rights activism, and also push forward my academics. Continuing to combine them with politics was doing serious injury to my passion for people’s rights and the wellbeing of our environment. My hunger to pursue further studies in my chosen field suffered intolerable hiccup that I could no longer accept.”   

Reacting to the development, a political analyst, Omenazu Jackson, urged Amaechi to adopt more pragmatic  style of leadership  and advised Abe to conform himself to the  norms of the party if he is actually  still  with  the APC. 

Similarly, the spokesman for APC in the state, Mr. Chris Fineborne, stated that it was  too early  to say the effects of resignations ahead of 2023 polls because, according to him, “There is quite some months ahead to fix things ,campaign  has not  started.”