The Traditional and New Media have been awash with reports and commentaries on the withdrawal of Senator Magnus Abe from the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Plenty germane issues have been raised theretofrom and I isolate a few:
“I WILL BE ON THE BALLOT”. ~Magnus Abe.
One sentence that became monotonous typical of and synonymous with Senator Magnus Abe in the build up to the last electioneering processes in Rivers State, was “I will be on the ballot”.
For Abe being on the ballot came to mean so much. It was some kind of response to those forces that didn’t want him anywhere near Brick House. Somewhere along the line it metamophsed into an ego quest, a desire if for anything to prove a point.
Putting Abe on the ballot was not however an option in the All Progressives Congress, APC. It never was in the 2014-2015 era, not to talk about the 2018/2019 political period when lines were drawn in the sand and certainly not in the 2022-2023 season.
So, the catch phrase, “I will be on the ballot took up a form of its own. This rhyme was recited; belched with confidence, so much so that Abe’s main supporters adopted and promoted it to a movement.
I had watched events play from a close range as a participant observer. I still recall how it all started. It all started during the relentless battles in the Rivers APC, way back before party congresses were conceived, continued ab intra and after.
To pursue his dream of transforming into a Rivers governor, Magnus Abe first aroused the consciousness of his ethnic base with the sentiment that it was the turn of the Ogonis to produce the Governor of Rivers State in 2023, having not had a bite on the cherry since the creation of the state in 1967.
Moreso, Magnus Abe was lost in the belief that he was more popular and best experienced amongst others and so it was his turn to take the rostrum. Therefore, to achieve his tall dream, he constantly and audaciously bellowed ” I WILL BE ON THE BALLOT’
As it is known, driven by this ambition, Magnus Abe sponsored and prosecuted many legal and Political “wars” in his party, APC Rivers. The impact of the spirited fights which he staged against his former Party, APC, contributed to the running aground of a once formidable and robust party in the State.
No thanks too, to the crassly inept, draconian, totalitarian and autocratic style adopted by the founding Leader of the Party in Rivers State and the former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
Whilst pursuing his ambition which some referred to as “gunpoint”, Magnus had no boundaries to respect. He frolicked, struck deals and weaved up alliances with the PDP in Rivers and/or any other group or person, whom he thought could be relevant to his pursuit.
When all the unholy efforts failed, not even the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (an aspirant he and other friends from RIvers supported) as Presidential candidate of his Party, could dissuade him.
Not even the stout disapproval of the Tinubu nucleus and nuclear Political family, could stop him from realising his “age long “dream of ‘BEING ON THE BALLOT’.
SOJOURN TO THE SDP (White horse).
When it became impossible for Magnus to off~stage the fire~power in the already franchised APC in Rivers, he quickly shopped for a Political shoulder/platform to lean on to ply his trade.
Voom!, he makes what to him, was a deft move, by porting to the SDP, a party clearly in the lower rung of the fringe parties in Rivers State.
Relatively unknown, Magnus Abe succeeded in taking along with him, his ethnocentrist supporters and few friends who were belied to, that there could be light at the end of the tunnel. The hoax and chicanery continued.
SDP structures were quickly built on quicksand in some local Government Areas in the State. Of course, the moribund leadership of the Party in the State, was twerked to look like a Party Exco, all in an attempt to present it as vehicle to satisfy his curiosity -“I will be on the ballot”.
SDP and its horse logo, took over from Project SMA. Campaigns with few others, who, having also lost out in the APC, were hoodwinked via offering of free tickets into believing in the practicality of waking up a “dead horse”, commenced in some LGAs in the State,
This new decision completely drowned Senator Magnus Abe’s little voice in hitherto support for Tinubu, who took him into his Political family.
Expectedly so, as Magnus Abe’s new Party, SDP, had a Presidential Candidate and he, as Governorship Candidate, necessarily, was the head of his Party’s Presidential campaign in Rivers State. Magnus Abe could not mention Tinubu/APC anywhere else in Rivers State. He couldn’t sponsor either a banner or billboard nor radio jingle in support of Tinubu in Rivers State.
He was conspicuously absent in the Tinubu Presidential Campaign Rally in Rivers State, despite the fact that he had sneaked into the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive Tinubu and his campaign entourage to Rivers State, but wouldn’t accede to joining them to the venue of the APC Presidential Campaign Rally. Because the Principal was averse to Tinubu’s Presidency, his supporters too, couldn’t get close to supporting Tinubu in anyway material.
All entreaties to Magnus Abe to beat a retreat back to support Tinubu/Shettima failed. Tinubu didn’t only lose to the SDP in Abe’s Ward 16, Bera community in Gokana, he spectacularly lost in the polling unit where Magnus Abe voted.
GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION IN RIVERS STATE.
Magnus Abe had achieved Unbeknownst to Magnus Abe that he was being deceived to think that he was popular, he and his Party, SDP, came a distant third position in the election.
Whereas, it was expected of Senator Magnus Abe to congratulate the landslide winner of the Governorship Election in Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, he took to the Media to discredit the elections, Governor Wike and the State.
Of course, what did anyone expect of Abe’s gullible supporters, when their Principal was speaking in condemnation of the elections in Rivers State? Severe attacks were similarly directed at those, who as friends of Senator Magnus Abe, refused to follow him in the actualization of the wrong political mathematics which led him wittingly or unwittingly to the dungeon.
Magnus Abe boasted that he won the Governorship Election clear and square in Rivers State. Several committees he set up, revealed so, via critical investigations and studies. So, he happily jumped into filing a Petition at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Magnus Abe further boasted of his efforts in ensuring that the Tribunal relocated outside the shores of Rivers State, preferably Abuja. And he had for the umpteenth time, justified the justice and rational in the relocation of the Tribunal to Abuja.
Magnus Abe laboriously harped on insecurity as reason why he justified the relocation of the Tribunal to try the alleged election infractions. He still speaks of Rivers State as a hotbed qualified with unprintable adjectives, and degradingly of Governor Wike.
Alas, a few days ago, news reports had it that Sen. Magnus Abe had withdrawn from the same Election Petition Tribunal whose relocation out of Rivers State he influenced.
Most unfortunate is the fact that he hinged his decision on the fact that it was in the interest of the state.
WHAT INTEREST OF THE STATE Please? Was the State about to go into flames because the Tribunal was moved out of her shores? Is there anything else the candidate of SDP hasn’t told us?
Will his withdrawal from the Tribunal now necessitate the return of the venue of the Tribunal to Rivers State?
Meanwhile, I congratulate the SDP Candidate for withdrawing his watery petition and not bothering more, to waste the time of the very busy Justices and further elongate the deceit of his very few supporters. I know others will do so.
Let me therefore, advise the SDP Governorship Candidate to do the following things in no particular order:
- Congratulate the Governor-Elect, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.
- Apologize to Governor Wike for the unguided tantrums he threw at him.
- Apologize to Rivers State and her people for portraying us as a violent and insecure State.
- That he takes further step by returning to the APC Family in Rivers State where he would take his place in the long queue or return to the PDP.
- That he openly apologize to The President-Elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for disobeying his directive not to leave the party, APC, thereby not supporting him to win the Presidential Election.
- He should openly apologize to his supporters for the dismal performance and clearly leading them politically to golgotha.
- He should as well apologize openly to those whom he and the goons around him, villified and called unspeakable names, for refusing to genuflect and embrace failure.
8) He should now know that Politics of Rivers State is not about opportunism or “trial and error.” It goes beyond the knack to BE ON THE BALLOT.
When these issues raised are religiously followed, we may now consider the unmerited passenger seat that he seeks to occupy in the new Government, candidating from Rivers State. Surreptitious lobbying is unacceptable. It is unnatural, unjustifiable and unethical to rob Peter to pay Paul.
*Tony C Okocha, Ksc, JP, is a political analyst and commentator.