Erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), member of APC Legacy Projects Media Team and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Eze Chukwumeka Eze, says one good strategy adopted by guber aspirants from Rivers State, under the platform of the APC, is the agreement to support a consensus arrangement and form a strong, united front ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The party chieftain however regretted the current discordance seeming to have permeated the circle upon the emergence of Arch. Tonye Cole as the choice candidate to fly the party’s flag in the election.
In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, Chief Eze said Tonye Cole’s emergence was the resolution of leaders and elders of the party who met, weighed each aspirant and accordingly, decided to approve Arch. Tonye Cole as the consensus candidate, based on records within their disposal and the parameters for the scrutiny.
“I was elated when key Rivers APC Gubernatorial candidates resolved to come together through a memorandum to support whoever amongst them that would emerge as consensus candidate of the party, to wrestle power from the visionless administration of Gov. Nyesom Wike and the People’s Democratic Party, but hearing that some aspirants who are signatories to the memorandum are singing discordant tones gives me concern. This is because we have suffered and sacrificed so much to keep the party afloat in th State.”.
The party Chief said all the 13 gubernatorial aspirants are eminently qualified to represent the party in the 2023 gubernatorial race but reminded everyone that not all 13 can represent the party at the same time. The elders and leaders having decided on Tonye Cole, Eze said party faithful and loyalists ought to team up and ensure that the party succeeds, noting that the interest of the party must rank topmost in all individual considerations.
Eze referred party members to the recent teaching of the Transportation Minister and Nigeria’s next President, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, on loyalty.
According to Eze, Rt Hon. Amaechi explained that it is sad that many politicians do not understand the concept of loyalty. “Loyalty is not when you are not chosen, you become disloyal. Loyalty means you follow the man that leads you, the man to whose leadership you have already surrendered. If you don’t follow, it means you are not loyal, you are only benefitting from the man politically and economically. The day he’s not able to give you that economic reality, is the day you become disloyal.
“Let me tell you something about loyalty. In 2007, we were in a meeting and somebody asked me if Dr. Peter Odili (former Governor of Rivers State) says you will not run for the office of governor, what will you do? I said I will surrender and support whoever he brings. We fought the battle for me to be Governor because Dr. Odili called me and said ‘go to court,’ if not we had met as a group and said we would stand by his choice. But he called me and said ‘…go to court.’
“I am a very loyal person, and those who are disloyal, I wish them well, those who want to do whatever they want to do, I wish them well. The opportunity will be given to everybody, we will run this presidential election, we will run, and I am loyal to the President and I am loyal to the Party. If the party says it is me, thank God. If the party says it is not me, whoever the party chooses, I will support. If the Party and President choose anybody, I will support the person. If the party chooses me, I will be glad and say thank God,”
Responding to those offering negative opinions about consensus, the party Chief said so far as the party’s constitution supports such arrangement as one of the options through which a candidate can be selected to fly the flag of the party in an election, it becomes immoral for anyone loyal to the party and her leadership to think otherwise.
Eze categorically stated that though Tonye Cole is not his preferred candidate for the race but as a party loyalist and blind one at that, he is restrained from acting in any manner that will turn the party into a laughing stock by those who have been making efforts in the last seven years to ensure that the party is destroyed.
“I accept and agree with some school of thought that Tonye Cole is not an ideal politician by keeping off from most of our political activities and welfare of members, I wish to plead and urge each one of us to sheath our swords and team up with him to salvage Rivers State before it is too late. Besides, I am convinced that Tonye Cole being a successful Entrepreneur and international one in that matter will bring his wealth of wisdom in this regard to turn around the fortunes of the State positively so let us give him a chance to serve the State.
I sympathize with Dr. Dakuku Peterside who has stood fiercely behind the party all these years fighting and taking a lot of troubles on our behalf and appeal to him to be calm and retrace any step that may be interpreted as an anti party activity because the future is greater than where we are at the moment.”
“Our major goal as party faithful is to ensure that we get back the Brick House and occupy the Aso Rock and when that happens, we all will be tired of appointments. So, why fight over little or inconsequential issues while we are capable of having better opportunities by tomorrow”.
For those who feel that Amaechi must be blamed for every mishap or mistake, Eze said propagators of such opinion should tone down such mentality, stressing that the very day the 19 Wise Elders met to discuss on consensus, Amaechi was not in that meeting as he far away Delta State with Vice President Osinbanjo, attending the burial of the father of the Minster of State for Labour and Employment Festus Egwarewa Adeniyi Keyamo so how can Amaechi be blamed for a decision taken in his absence?
Chief Eze emphasized that the task ahead of the party is a serious one as he noted that when politics is involved, Governor Nyesom Wike is not a pushover no matter his shortcomings and underperformance as Governor. The party is dealing with a deadly and crude political strategist. It is only when the APC gets her acts together that the party can teach Wike and the PDP some serious political lessons as he retires from politics come 2023.
Eze counseled Pastor Tonye Cole to sit down and reflect on reasons for opposition to his candidature and make relevant amendments to his style of politics because according to him, Rivers APC has very credible party members that can help him to win election in Rivers State comfortably without much thought over bringing outsiders in that regard.
He encouraged Cole to unite and liaise with all those who contested this office, adopt some of their policies and incorporate some of their members into the campaign Team, assuring that by so doing, the journey to the Brick House will be smooth and enjoyable.
He said Wike has done much of the campaign for the APC with his visionless style of administration and therefore, it is only left to the party to capitalize on most of his shortcomings and teach a lesson that he will live to cherish throughout his retirement years from politics come 2023.
“In this regard, I urge Tonye Cole to inculcate the Spartan strategy of Dakuku Peterside, the humility of Dawari George, the royalty of Tonye Princewill, the listening style of Dr. Davies Sonkote, the flamboyant style of Alabo Ebenezer and most importantly the uncommon wisdom of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, these are qualities that will make you the desired leader of Rivers State. Some of us will be ready to help out if we are still found to be relevant.” Eze stated