… Accuses national leadership of sabotage
… Those on Sabbatical should come back – Ganduje
The former Minister of Transportation and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Amaechi was absent on Tuesday when the stakeholders of the party in Rivers State visited the National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje at the National Headquarters.
It would be recalled that since Amaechi lost the presidential ticket of the party to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in June 2022, he has dissociated himself from the activities of the party.
The former Minister had also been injured by the relationship of the APC leadership with the Minister of FCT, who is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic party PDP and former governor of Rivers State.
The Rivers State APC stakeholders led by the governorship candidate, Tonye Cole accused the National Leadership of sabotaging the state party during the governorship and other elections.
They also accused the party of backing out from the election tribunal petition against the opposition party.
In the speech presented at the visit, they said, “The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State on behalf of our teeming members congratulate His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje on his emergence and assumption of duty as National Chairman of our great Party.
“We are proud of you and note with immense joy, that Your Excellency has approached this historic duty with a deep sense of history and commitment to rebuilding our great Party from the get-go. We commend the National Chairman for the strides he has recorded thus far in advancing his philosophy of party unity. Indeed, this is the most pragmatic step to take on the back of an election year where some members may have been hurt for not clinching their nomination or feel alienated for some other reasons.
“As the Rivers State Chapter of the APC, we are most grateful to the National Chairman for availing us the opportunity to meet and confer with him on the huge task of rebuilding our stretch of the chain that binds all members of the Party across the Federation. We do not take the privilege of this courtesy visit for granted.
“However, Your Excellency should remember that ours is a State Chapter with a unique past and horrific experiences that most Nigerians are very familiar with. Because of what we’ve been through, our party’s State Chapter is now one of the most challenged in Nigeria. So, we’re glad that the time has come to look up to our new National Chairman for advice, direction, and unity as we try to rebuild from the ashes of the past.
“The National Chairman has been respected as a unifying force since you came to power. Your goal fits with what we want most, which is to be stronger by working together towards a common goal.
“Your first steps as National Chairman show that you are a leader with the right personality and vision to get us what we want most. So, we promise to work with you and be completely loyal as you lead the party to total reconciliation, greater understanding, and the development of stronger bonds.
“Your Excellency, we are sincere when we say that we want the party to work together in unity. However, our current situation as a State Chapter makes things very difficult. Since we formed this great party in 2013, we have been hit with mindless violence and damage over and over again.
“Since then, we have lost track of the number of bodies and can’t say how many of our member’s property have been lost to political violence.
“Without doubt, we can say that any small gain we made after the blatant assault on democracy and our right to freely choose our leaders and representatives in 2015, and the rerun elections of 2016 were lost due to the chaos that occurred during the 2018 Congresses and the judgement that took our candidates off the ballot for 2019.
“The scale of violence and all sorts of ambushes were scary, but they didn’t stop us. However, our legitimate challenge to the electoral malfeasance visited on us by a combination of factors under an APC-led Federal Government sabotaged our best and honest efforts this year. Not only were our gubernatorial candidates and other candidates not allowed to get materials from INEC to file their petitions at the Tribunals after the elections on February 25 and March 18, 2023, but our party also withdrew as a petitioner soon after we completed the filing process. That has never happened in the history of Nigeria’s major political parties. The party that sponsored our candidates pulled the rug beneath their feet when the party was needed the most.
“Your Excellency, if the event described above shocked us a little, what happened next was card-carrying PDP members of Rivers State got appointments in our APC Federal Government left us completely confused and very upset.
“Those being rewarded are PDP members who spent huge State resources trying to destroy APC in Rivers State since 2013 and failed, primarily because these loyal APC members here resisted them fiercely.
“Your Excellency would be shocked that as we address you in this meeting, the Rivers State Chapter of the APC has no representation at any level of governance in our country. There isn’t a single Rivers APC member appointed at any level of the Federal, State or Local Government.
“Things are much worse now than they were in 2015 and we are being foreclosed from exercising our right to challenge the results of elections that do not represent the expressed will of the people of Rivers State.”
In their prayers to the party, they said, “We can only urge the President and leader of our great party to do more for God’s glory and the APC’s good. This includes appointing our sons and daughters to key positions and other forms of empowerment of our members to cater for our faithful supporters who despite the human and material losses they have encountered remain longstanding in faith with the APC.”
However, in his response, the APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje said those on Sabbatical in the party in Rivers State should come back.
Ganduje also said people were killed in the state because they were not members of the ruling party.
He said, “APC as we know it in Rivers State, very many of you left the party to form another party. To contest or form another party. But I think with your determination to rebuild the party, we urged you to create an even environment to keep your doors open.
“So that those who left the party no matter how big they are in another party, where they went for sabbatical leave, let come back to their original base. To their original employers. You know you can go on sabbatical leave and after a year, you come back. Create an even environment so that they can come back to the party.
“Also, some people who have not been in the party but are in another would also like to join the party. You will keep your doors open as well because what we need is to rebuild our party and it must be so, so that we become solid. The original members of APC as we told you in APC in Rivers State will always remain the backbone of the party.
“But you need to keep your house in order and solid. You need to open your house for others to come so that we will build the state because it is better to be a servant in paradise than to be a king in hell. People are being killed and molested simply because they don’t have power in the state. If you are in power in the state, that won’t happen to you as the leader.