You see, I love and respect Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, our very own D-G of NIMASA, and that is why I try my best to let many things he says about APC internal politics in Rivers State go without subjecting them to the rigorous test of truth and objectivity.
That posture of mine that refuses to subject some of Dakuku’s claims about the internal politics and dynamics in Rivers APC to the test of fire to determine their veracity or otherwise is borne out of a sincere desire to de-escalate tension in the party, and it represents my own signature commitment to peace and cohesion in Rivers APC.
I believe that Rivers APC is stronger when we are together, and I recognize and understand the colossal importance of our actions and communication, especially from our leaders, in forging that unity and bond that is absolutely necessary in order to move forward.
That is why it has always been my own expectation that leaders of our party in Rivers State act and communicate in such a way that oozes healing, forces deep thinking, x-rays truth which is the foundation of justice and then commit to peace. After all, we all know that the art of communication is the language of leadership.
In the present political climate of Rivers APC, however, my disappointment stemming from the burden of that expectation has been heavy. Many of our leaders have knowingly or unknowingly deployed verbal missile in their speeches where they should deploy the balm of Gilead. That is why I am constrained to react to Dr Peterside today, because I believe, respectfully, that in the interest of our party, he needs to sort out his communication, which has disappointingly not been topnotch on many occasions.
There are two things that Dr. Peterside reportedly said yesterday, but I am inclined to talk about only one.
The D-G of NIMASA is quoted online to have said that the APC secretariat in Port Harcourt was vandalized because of the internal issues between supporters of Senator Magnus Abe, and therefore the Minister of Transportation should not be blamed. I didn’t hear the D-G say that. I listened to Rhythm 93.7 news at 7am and I didn’t hear him say that, even though people quoting him in that regard are quoting a different radio station (Nigeria Info 92.3). I don’t believe that Dr. Peterside can say such a thing and I will not comment on that because I simply can’t bring myself to believe that such pettiness can come from him. It can’t be true.
What I want to talk about, however, is the one I heard on Rhythm 93.7 news at 7:am where Dr. Peterside said he acknowledged that there is crisis in the party but that 95% of Rivers APC members recognize Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as leader against 5% who are with Senator Magnus Abe.
First, I want to say that the issue in Rivers APC is not about who is leader of the party and who is not. All members of the party acknowledge and recognize the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. CRA as leader of the party and I don’t understand what Dr. Peterside intended to achieve by dividing party members along percentage term that only exists in his own imagination.
Second, assuming without conceding that such division on percentage terms as to who regards Rt. Hon. CRA as leader or who supports him exist, I know it as a fact that Senator Magnus Abe belongs to that 95%. In all the political upheavals that CRA has encountered since 1999 till date, Senator Abe has been at the very center of it fighting on the side of Amaechi. Talk about Odili’s succession saga; talk about the assembly saga and saving the job of Amaechi; talk about the transition to APC saga in the days of Joseph Mbu; talk about the one as recent as ministerial confirmation saga, Magnus Abe has always been at the center of gravity. So Abe belongs to the 95%. Dr. Peterside is free to say where he belongs, whether to the other 5% or somewhere outside his imaginary percentage ceiling.
The issue in Rivers APC is obviously about who flies the guber ticket of the party in 2019. Magnus Abe since presented himself to the party and Rivers people by boldly declaring his widely accepted ambition. If Dakuku is interested in the job as I know he is, he should also boldly come out and declare his ambition and present himself to Rivers people instead of hiding behind Amaechi and trying to claim exclusive possession of the minister against the rest of us party members.
Such tactics of hiding behind Amaechi and hoping for anointing that will never flow has become anachronistic and can no longer guarantee the guber ticket of APC. It’s said that in politics, one minute is a long time, how much more three years. Let all those who want something work without fear for what they want and stop thinking that the power that belongs to Rivers people is in the hand of one man. It is not so.
There is no 5percent or 95 percent in Rivers APC, there is Rivers APC where members are disagreeing about issues of internal democracy, issues of inclusiveness and issues of the right of party members to participate in party affairs according to party rules and constitution.
If Dr. Peterside wants to address the root of the problem in the party, he should address those things that are in issue and leave the issues that are not in issue.
As Yehuda Berg said, “words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively with words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble”.
Dr. Peterside should not speak to further divide us into percentages. He should not speak to discriminate. He should not speak to hurt. He should not speak to please any man even if the truth is bruised and trampled upon and the problem glossed over. If he has to speak at all, he should speak truth, he should speak justice, he should speak the path to what is right and what is just and what is fair and what is good. His 95/5% speech is a classics howler that should never have been said.
Kennedy Friday wrote From Port Harcourt