By Ignatius Chukwu
The highlight of the visit of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Rivers State under Gov Nyesom Wike’s initiative is the visibility and front row positioning of Sen. Magnus Abe. Did he steal the show of were people rather trying to steal his show?
Abe began in 1999 as a Rivers House of Assembly member when Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was speaker. He later crossed over from the All Peoples Party (APP) to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and picked up position of Commissioner of Information in Peter Odili’s administration (second term).
When Amaechi took over as governor, Abe become a pillar of the administration and became the secretary to the state government (SSG) from where he was supported to become senator.
He came back to fight for governor and parted ways with Amaechi stayed put in the All Progressives Congress (APC) where they all to from PDP.
In May 2022, he joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to fight for governorship, but lost. He went to the tribunal.
Now, he was seen among the inner friends of the president-elect, APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu. All the years he fought Amaechi, he was believed to be backed by Gov Nyesom Wike but he severally denied this.
Now, as Wike is in the front view as one that helped much to push Tinubu to victory, Abe is pushing to take his front seat in Tinubu’s political veranda. He first withdrew his petition against Wike’s man that won in Rivers State, a PDP man that was believed to be endorsed by APC’s Tinubu.
When tongues wagged about his push back into Tinubu’s view, he issued a statement saying his ties with Tinubu went beyond politics.
The statement signed by the head of his media team, Parry Benson, said Abe maintained that his political group has always worked with Tinubu and described it as the best place to belong.
He said: “We had always been with Asiwaju and that’s where we are. That’s fine because, that’s the right place to belong”.
Abe, who spoke on a live national television programme, monitored in Port Harcourt, also expressed regrets that a lot of SDP members and supporters in the State have been imprisoned while several others are being arrested.
He stated that the alliance between Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike-led G5 governors and the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) changed the dynamics of politics in Rivers State.
The Senator said: “I think that one needs to be realistic in politics. You are not a stranger to the politics of Rivers State. As you will recollect, we have been in this game for quite some time and right from the time we were in the APC, we actually have been engaged in internal battles over the way things are being done in Rivers State.
“You know at the time we left the APC to go to the SDP and contest the Governorship of Rivers State, you will recollect that the President-elect now was in APC, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike was in PDP and we went to the SDP to contest for the governorship of Rivers State against Governor Wike and his party.
“Now, in the course of that battle, the dynamics of the politics have changed. Wike and the G-5 now have an alliance with the APC at the national level and that alliance affects the dynamics of what is happening in the state.
“Now, we looked at it that if we continue our battle in the court at this point, we will end up in direct confrontation with the President-elect, who has clearly by his body language and the alliance between the APC and the G-5, taken a clear position as far as the issue is concerned.
“So, a lot of the support, a lot of the goodwill that we enjoyed in this battle, right from the APC into the SDP has been eroded by that alliance. If we continue with this battle, we will be continuing on our own and we will not be able to get any institutional support.
“We saw the impact of this in the just-concluded elections. SDP and our supporters in Rivers State actually went through a lot. People were traumatised. As we speak, people are still being arrested. People were imprisoned; a lot of our followers are in prison. People suffered so much.
“This struggle had been sustained by Rivers’ people, making little contributions; putting their hard-earned resources together to fight against people who are engaging in this battle with the support of public institutions with an unending war-chest. So, at this point, we are forced to question ourselves clearly at what we can achieve if we continue to propel this fight forward at this time.
“Are we still going to tell the market women, these traders, all these people who are bringing out their hard-earned and meagre resources to support us that they should continue to bring money that we are going to win, we will win Wike, we will win Tinubu, we will win APC, we will win everybody on our own? Would that be the truth? So, we looked at all that and took that into consideration.
“If the music have changed, the drum beats have changed, the circumstances have changed, you need to take a second look at your plan and that is what we have done.
“Therefore, we have taken the decision in the interest of the state, in the interest of our own followers who have sacrificed and suffered so much.
“We will not continue a fight that we are not convinced we can prevail, given the changing dynamics of the political situation,” he concluded.
Many now wonder who would be Tinubu’s number one man in Rivers State, Wike or Abe.