The attention of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe’s campaign organization otherwise known as FREEDOM HOUSE has been drawn to a press briefing held by Hon. Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali alleging that the cause of the problem in Rivers APC is because of the ‘premature declaration’ to run for the governorship position by Senator Abe. This is most misleading and a piece of untruth to the knowledge of the persons saying so.
I welcome you to this press conference intended to respond one or two issues that arose yesterday from a press conference held by Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali in which they stated that they were urging Tonye Cole to offer himself for election as Governor of Rivers State under the platform of our party, the APC. While these two gentlemen were pretending to urge Tonye Cole to offer himself for election, the leader of our party elsewhere in a meeting was announcing the same Tonye Cole as the aspirant or candidate of the party for the election. That process of nomination or appointment or announcement is the exactly the process we here have sworn more than a year ago not to be part of.
We prefer instead that any individual desiring to be governor of our state under our party should himself come out and do the announcement by himself and not wait for individual anointment or announcement or putting forward.
This press conference would have been unnecessary if Hon. Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wale had restricted themselves to the issue of their preferred candidate. But they went beyond there to state that Tonye Cole, their own anointed aspirant is a neutral candidate. Two, that the premature declaration of interest by some aspirant, according to them was a breach of the law and three, according to them still that the reason the party was in disarray in the state was traceable to that same premature candidature. It is these maliciously untrue statements, these damagingly misleading untruth that warranted these press conference. So that we could urge the public not to accept these untruth and to state the correct position.
Let me begin by reminding all of us that on 10th of March last year at the Dome, Peter Odili Road, Port Harcourt the leader of our party called a party leadership meeting to which I was invited and I attended. He stated clearly at that meeting that he will destroy the party if Senator Magnus Abe does not shelved his ambition. When he realized how extreme that was he modified it to say that he will draft in Tonye Cole into the election if Abe refuses to drop his ambition. He (Amaechi) added that although he was yet to contact Cole on the matter, but that he has made up his mind to bring him into the race.
This morning in a series of messages online and on various APC platforms, the leader of our party confirmed his appointment of Tonye Cole as his preferred aspirant for the APC gubernatorial election, which same the Tonye Cole, Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali were purporting to urge, the same way youths earnestly ask for Abacha to run for election. In the circumstance, it amounts to murderous misuse of words to describe Tonye Cole as neutral in his candidature. How can a person drafted in by the leader of the party for the election to challenge senator Abe for refusing not to run be described now as neutral?
We restate here that the leader of the party or anyone for that matter, including the duo of Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali have their right under the law prefer a candidate to Senator Abe. But it is mortally misleading as they have now done to call such a candidate neutral when he is clearly in keeping with a promise being put forward by the leader of the party who had promised to draft him in should senator Abe refuse to forget his ambition. In one sentence Tonye Cole now said to be an aspirant is not neutral. He is Rt Hon. Rotimi Amachi’s protégé and candidate. I see nothing wrong with that, but the reason they want to state the opposite makes me believe that they know that something is wrong with that.
On April 8, 2018, President Muhamadu Buhari announced his intention to seek reelection in 2019 as President. A fortnight later, precisely on Wednesday, 25th April, 2018 Senator Magnus Abe announced his intention to run for the governorship race in Rivers State under our party, the APC for which this Freedom House was established dedicated. We repeat that Senator Abe made his intention known only after the leader of our party and President of Nigeria did so. Yet the duo of Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali without drawing our attention to any known law on the matter told the public that by so declaring, the declaration was not only premature, but has thrown the party into disarray and that the declaration was a breach of the law. Kwanee is a lawyer and a former Deputy Speaker of a State Parliament. It would have helped public understanding if he cited any single law the declaration broke. Merely stating that a law was breached or broken without bringing the law to the attention of the listeners in circumstances as we have where it is not so obvious, is a species of misguided public communication which should not be taken to by persons who seek to govern. We state for the records that neither the President’s declaration on April 8thof his interest to seek reelection in 2019 nor Senator Abe’s declaration of intent to run for election in Rivers State on April 25th this year breached any known law, electoral or otherwise. And we challenged Hon. Leyii Kwanee and Kingsley Wali to cite the law for us to see.
It is equally most misleading to state as they did in particular that Senator Abe’s ambition when he declared to govern Rivers State is the cause of any problem in APC Rivers State. This is a piece of untruth to the knowledge of the persons saying so. The source and cause of the problem in the state APC which we have stated many times is our refusal to accept that a gubernatorial candidate should be appointed by the leader. That we should all wait. Don’t express any intention or view. You just wait or stand still or sit still or lie still until he appoints, say it is you, then we all follow. I said and many others said they will not allow such a process to happen again. We have always stated, it should be by democratic process as enshrined in party’s constitution. Luckily, this task, my colleagues and I have almost accomplished. Any other narrative is fake news!