Senator Magnus Abe yesterday dismissed suggestions that external forces are behind the crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but refered to it as a self-inflicted wound.
Abe made the clarifications in a statement in Abuja, through his media aide, Friday Kennedy.
The statement said: “I read an article in the Nation newspaper of July 11, 2021, titled “2023: APC battles intra-party crises in Ogun, Kwara, Imo, Rivers, co-authored by Yusuf Alli and Jide Orintunsin, and was surprised at the attempt to rewrite the well-known and well-publicized Rivers APC crisis.
“It’s either that the authors had a brief to which they tailored their improvised narratives or they were merely engaged in sensationalism for certain effects. Whatever it was that propelled that story about the crisis in Rivers APC, the story was a slap on the face of the truth that we all know.
“There is no Nigerian who has been following the political issues in Rivers APC who does not know the origin of the crisis and the kind of leadership failure that has sustained it to this day.
“To now turn around to reconstruct an entirely new story of the Rivers APC crisis with total disregard to the facts in order to demonize Senator Magnus Abe is to say the very least unfortunate, disingenuous and mischievous.
“The writers said that the crisis in the party in Rivers State is being ‘fuelled by external forces’. “Pray, which of the precipitating factors correctly narrated above was done by anyone outside the party in the state?
“The story of Rivers APC crisis is actually a story of needless, self-inflicted wounds intentionally brought about by deliberate actions of the leader himself, and the solution lies in engaging a different, humane leadership approach to sincerely address the problems.
“It is also not correct, as the writers wrongly asserted, that ‘with the backing of some external forces, Senator Magnus Abe is still a threat to any meaningful reconciliation in the APC in Rivers State’. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“As the facts indicate, from the Aregbesola Committee down to the plethora of other committees and individuals of goodwill who have tried to intervene in the situation in Rivers State, it has been the Hon Minister of Transportation who has always rebuffed the peace efforts. His utterances too have been anti-peace and reconciliation.
“But right from when the crisis spiraled out of control, Senator Abe has been the one always calling for peace and talking in a way that can engender peace and reconciliation.”
Abe insisted that the crisis in Rivers State has never been personal but political.
He added: ” The issues in Rivers APC are not personal issues. They are political issues and political solutions are what people should think about.
“What conclusively demonstrated that the writers of the story were just not concerned about the facts was their attempt to link a crisis that started in 2016 to the Presidential election of 2023.
“The writers stated that ‘the permutations of some of the external forces are to destabilize the base of Amaechi ahead of the 2023 presidential race’.
“They continued, ‘being a favourite of Buhari, they do not want to give Amaechi any breathing space. Stalwarts of PDP in Rivers State have been mentioned as the sponsors of the crisis rocking the APC in Rivers State.’
“Such a bizarre assertion. As already stated above, the series of events that dovetailed into the crisis in Rivers APC started far back in December 2016 with the threat to Abe, before his wife, not to dare contest election in 2019 followed by the promise to destroy the party which was fulfilled.
“How then is the crisis now connected to the 2023 presidential election, or how are chieftains of PDP in Rivers now the sponsors of the crisis because the party faithful who had always fought all the big men in the party decided to stand up and fight for themselves?
“I am unaware of anybody in Rivers APC who is against the presidential ambition of anyone.”
Abe said all APC members have been calling for is a level playing field.
He said: “All the party faithful in Rivers APC have been clamouring for is to be allowed the opportunity and level playing field to legitimately pursue their own aspirations in the party.
” Some of them wanted to be officers of the party at the ward level, others wanted to serve the party they sacrificed so much for at the LGA and state levels.
” Denying them their own little dreams and now linking their principled resistance of more than four years old to the 2023 presidential ambition of anyone is to spit on the whole sacrifice they have made for the party.
“Rivers APC can be salvaged, for sure, but in curing the self- inflicted ailment of the party, respect and regard for one another must be enthroned. Tolerance for divergent views must be exhibited, and truth and justice must be given their pride of place. That is the hallmark of democracy and the change that the APC preached.
“Baseless falsehood and propaganda such as the authors of that articled dished out to members of the reading public will not help in the endeavor to birth enduring peace and reconciliation which is absolutely necessary for Rivers APC to heal its wound, pick up itself and look forward to the future.”
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