It has gone beyond the realm of speculations that Mr. Oluwarotimi Amaechi is obsessed in his desire to shoot down Sen. Magnus Abe’s guber ambition. Stopping Abe by all means now preoccupies the Rivers APC leader. Interestingly, the stop Abe syndrome is the only project capable of distracting the garrulous ex-governor from his cat and mouse thrill with Gov. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. Stopping Abe now takes precedence in his political permutations for 2019. Of course, tackling Abe invariably come before engaging Wike. After all, Abe was, and still remains the ‘Brain Box’.
I have in the course of the penultimate week reflected on this irony of a petulant leader. But until then, it really didn’t strike me that some APC members in the state could be so gullible. As a matter of fact, it was most surprising to read comments that tend to portray Amaechi as the do-gooder shepherd, and Abe, the ambitious Macbeth. I was shocked when one of the commentators out rightly asked, “Who brought APC to Rivers State?” APC, in the flunky’s opinion is likened to a piece of equipment, ordered and paid for by Father Amaechi; one which Abe the inquisitive now tries to fiddle with.
Typically, Amaechi’s only joker in the circumstances is playing the upland/riverine card against Abe. This explains why I took time to highlight Amaechi’s hypocrisy in trying to turn the table against Abe. It is, and remains my submission that Amaechi dealt the deathblow to the upland/riverine dichotomy as the basis for power rotation in Rivers State. Amaechi, I insist, is the prime beneficiary of the senatorial rotation of the office of governor at the expense of the upland/riverine dichotomy. Amaechi had mounted the soapbox to crucify the upland/riverine consideration as divisive, retrogressive and unknown to the Nigerian constitution.
Amaechi to my mind is playing the ostrich in his present volte face. The legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti once shrieked at “animals giving us human rights”. What Amaechi now offers the riverine is simply the opium with which he desires to stop Abe. Yet there are those who blindly believe it is for the love of the people. I frankly wonder how a genuine leader will deliberately set out to repeat the blunder of 2015 and, (dis) honestly expect a different result in 2019.
His see-through subterfuge of “building the party” apparently stands logic on the head. Amaechi, like every true politician knows that consultations within and without the party is the hallmark of politicking. It is therefore pathetic to accuse Abe of destabilizing the party simply because he has kept alive his consultations. It goes without saying that Amaechi’s unwarranted fury against Abe isn’t only misplaced; but holds more than meets the eye.
Some of the reasons may not be far-fetched. Yet it has become imperative to highlight a few, if only to erase the erroneous belief that Amaechi meant well in biting his fingers at Abe. Why will Amaechi “kill” to stop Abe?
First, until Sen. Magnus Abe decided to take up the gauntlet, the Rivers APC had literally functioned not as the All Progressives Congress, but as Amaechi’s Political Cronies. Amaechi no doubt prefer an APC where his body language had hitherto been law. Amaechi had grown accustomed to that Rivers APC where he reigns supreme, where he alone decides who gets what. Abe’s effrontery to alter that status quo can only come with a price. The ongoing revival in the Rivers APC is something the lion king is not prepared for. Abe is the reason party men and women now freely dream dreams, openly nurse one ambition or the other without seeking an express permission from Amaechi. The call for popularity test within the party without fear of intimidation and victimization is considered an act of ‘betrayal’. And Abe has to pay for engineering this latest consciousness.
Second, Amaechi will ‘kill’ to stop Abe for fear of Lex Talionis. Lex Talionis is the Latin phrase for the law of retaliation. Amaechi is unforgiving. He erroneously believes Abe shares that trait. He had earlier stabbed Abe in the back. He had put a knife on the gentleman’s legit ambition to govern the state in a manner that shocked even the beneficiaries of that ruthlessness in 2014. It is only natural that Amaechi has since lived with the ghost of that act feasting on his conscience. But rather than choose the path of penitence as the catholic knight he professes; and letting his past deed evaporate as political error; Amaechi has remained hardened. He now panders to the Machiavelli philosophy as espoused by Robert Greene; Crush your enemy totally. Of course, Abe has moved from the ‘Brain Box’ to the ‘Enemy’.
Third, Amaechi is by every measure an adroit politician. He is no stranger to the influence of consultations within the ranks of a political party. He is equally aware; even he chooses not to admit in the circumstance that such undertaking doesn’t impinge on the cohesion of the party, except where the party leadership is prejudiced. But as a maverick, Amaechi understands the odds against his preferred candidate if Abe is not blackmailed. The fact that Amaechi’s candidate is a political appointee is a minus in the circumstances. Not when the law requires a political appointee to resign his appointment if must seek elective office. It is therefore the leader’s guideline that a certain limbo envelopes the party until his candidate is ready to resign. Abe must not be allowed to cover more than enough grounds ahead of his anointed.
Fourth, it goes without saying that Abe has become the symbol of confidence and freedom of expression in the party. Many a party hopefuls no longer see the Big Brother’s ever watchful eyes looking down on them for simply dreaming dreams. In fact, one brave ‘grassrooter’ has indicated interest to run for the seat which the leader has subtly reserved for himself come 2019. His audacity has since been linked to Abe. Hence the resolve to stop Abe at all cost.
Then the question is asked, to whose interest is a wobbling Rivers APC? Who is the sole beneficiary of the current inertia in the party? Who will continue to be the generalissimo of the Rivers APC in the absence of an APC governor come 2019? Perhaps, the sine qua non to abdicating his sole superintendence of the Rivers APC would be to install a governor that will carry the tag of an Amaechi ‘Boy’.
I do sincerely wish that Amaechi proves me wrong by the time he is done building the party, and that the candidate he finally settles for,
isn’t currently occupying an appointive office .
Caleb Fubara wrote from Portharcourt