It’s no longer news that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-South gathered at the Abuja home of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday to throw their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari to present himself for Nigeria’s top job yet again in 2019, but what is not in public knowledge yet are the intrigues that played out before during and after the meeting.
The meeting was earlier scheduled to hold at the Abuja mansion of Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation who prides himself as the leader of APC in the South-South, but problem started when over 80% of APC leaders of the zone threatened to boycott the meeting if the Minister’s luxury home remained the venue. As it’s always the case in democracy, majority views prevailed and the meeting was shifted to the home of Adams Oshiomhole without any further objection.
Further drama ensued when the meeting got underway without the Minister of Transportation in attendance. Nobody could readily ascertain why Amaechi was not in the meeting and tongues started waging.
There has been a Cold War between former Governor of Edo State Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Chibuike Amaechi over the title the latter unilaterally ascribed to himself as leader of the APC in the South-South. Many leaders of the party in the zone consider Amaechi’s self-ascribed title as a slight on other established leaders of the zone, particularly Comrade Adams who won election in the zone under the platform of ACN at a time when every other party was regarded as a taboo in the area.
Comrade Adams, at the height of the Jonathan sentiment in the south-south and the blackmail of APC as Hausa party also fought hard to deliver his own successor under the platform of the APC even when all other states in the zone, including Rivers, easily fell to the PDP. That was something Amaechi couldn’t do, in spite of all the billions of petro Dollars at his disposal and the hype and noise he made of the 2015 elections in Rivers.
Several reasons have been adduced as to why Amaechi failed to deliver his state to APC, one of which is the fact that he imposed a weak and unpopular candidate on the party who had no relationship with the people. Comrade Adams, on the other hand, allowed for a free and fair primaries in his state in which party stalwarts made their choice as to who should fly the flag of the party. The result of the primaries meant that all party faithful had an input and were willing to go the extra mile to ensure the victory of their candidate.
The fact that Rivers State is controlled by PDP has made Amaechi’s claim that he is the leader of the party in the zone sounded like a soured grape in his mouth and made the ears of other leaders of the zone to tingle. For instance, Oshiomhole has always felt that he has added more value to the party in the zone than Amaechi whose state is controlled by the opposition, and who is playing a divisive politics unlikely to change the electoral status quo of Rivers even in the coming 2019 elections.
Several leaders of APC in the zone have also bitterly complained about Amaechi’s arrogance, lack of respect for people and intolerance of opposing views. Those were part of the reasons why they threatened a boycott of the south-south caucus meeting in his residence.
“The change of venue of the meeting to Oshiomhole’s house clearly angered Amaechi”, said a credible party source from Edo state who craved anonymity, “and that was why, as a strategy to undermine members of the caucus, Amaechi willfully came late to the meeting”, the source concluded. Amaechi was the last stakeholder to come to the meeting.
More trouble was however in the offing, and the whole thing bursted when the convener of the meeting announced signatories to the communique from Rivers State. Only the names of Magnus Abe, Senator representing Rivers South-East and Rt. Hon Prince Chibudom Wuche, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives made it as signatories.
Unable to bear with that, Amaechi stood up in the meeting and started saying how he is the only person who is close to President Buhari from Rivers State, how he is the person that has contributed resources to the party more than every other chieftain and how he is the only person making the President to empower party leaders from the zone. As he spoke in anger, everyone at the meeting kept mute and watched him ramble in amazement.
Done with the talk, Amaechi angrily stormed out of the meeting. Shortly after, Hons. Victor Giadom, Otelemaba Dan Amachree and Senator Uchendu walked out with him and left Adam’s house. Amaechi was the last party leader to come to the meeting and the first to leave.
Another surprise however surfaced when Amaechi, who was nowhere at the venue of the meeting when the communique was signed instructed his media aide to add his name as one of the signatories to the document in the early report of the meeting that was distributed to the media.
The meeting may have looked smooth and without rancour on the surface, but deep and suffocating intrigues nearly marred it as a result of the bloated size of Amaechi’s ego.