A former representative of Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has purchased his Expression of Intent and Nomination forms for the gubernatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 election in Rivers State.
This is despite the fact that the State Executive Committee of the party has endorsed Tonye Cole as candidate.
Controversy had emerged over the endorsement of Cole, which was said to have the backing of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Abe, in a statement on Monday, said the decision to purchase the N50 million forms followed his consultation with the people who wanted their “own governor”.
While thanking those who provided financial contributions to enable him purchase the Expression of Intent and Nomination forms, Abe, who spoke on Arise Television on Saturday in Abuja, said Rivers State people are more interested in effective governance that will return power to the people rather than politics.
The Senator said: “I have already purchased my form to run for the primary election in our party, the All Progressives Congress, and it will interest you to know that Rivers people from all across contributed money to support me to get that form.
“Rivers people from every divide, every ethnic group, every political affiliation, every religious affiliation that you can think of, Muslims, Christians, people across the State.
“Some put in N20,000, some N1 million.
“They brought money to help me cross that barrier.
“I think that with that kind of background, the party members across the state have realised that I’m one of their surest best to be able to cross that bridge when we actually get there.
“Secondly, let me also say that as far as I know what Rivers people are interested in at this point in time is not so much of politics, but in effective governance.
“They want a governor that will devote his time to attending to their own needs and their own challenges.
“They want a governor that understands their own problems that they face.
“You see like I was talking to our children the other day at the Rivers State University, when you are hungry in the school, nobody knows whether you are from Kalabari or Ogoni.
“When you don’t have a job nobody knows whether you are from Ekpeye or Andoni.
“At that point our problems are the same.
“When people try to promote sentiment over reality, they are trying to use those sentiments to blind you to the reality of your situation.
“The reality of our situation today in Rivers State is that we need to work together, we need to come together across political, ethnic privileges to be able to harness the vast and enormous economic potentials that Rivers State has.
“We need leaders that can bring that message of unity, that message of inclusion.
“We need leaders that are humble enough to understand that being a governor is just a job, you are hired by the people to do the job.
“I have the tract record to enable Rivers people believe that when I say that, that is what it will be.
“That’s why my candidacy is vibrating across the state not just within the APC but within the larger society, within all ethnic blocks and within groups in the state.
“I think that, this is the kind of message that Rivers people want to hear, they want a governor that will concentrate on the issues of Rivers State.
“A governor who understands that they are the reason this country was created and the reason why Rivers State exist.
“They are the reason why the office of the governor was established in the first place and they want a governor that understands that it is all about them.
“I think that my track record in politics and my interaction with the people of Rivers State gives them that confidence that I am the man who can get that job done.
“I think that a lot of the members of the All Progressives Congress despite our differences realise that I have the best chance to actually deliver the governorship to the people of Rivers State.
“I hate to play the ethnic card because when politicians do that, they take away from what should be the substance of the conversation, which is what our citizens, the voters are supposed to get from the political experience.”
Senator Abe recalled that since Rivers State was created in 1967, no Ogoni son or daughter has ever been a governor, deputy governor, Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly or the Chief Judge, which, according to him, could not have been a coincidence.
He said, there are three Senatorial Districts in Rivers State: Rivers West, Rivers East and Rivers South-East, but in all, only the Rivers South-East Senatorial District was yet to produce a governor.
Abe said: “Ogonis are of course the majority in that Senatorial District, which is where I come from and in our party the All Progressives Congress, the last time we met as a one united party, we zoned the governorship to Rivers South-East Senatorial District, which everybody knows that if you follow the rules of equity, justice and fairness that should be the senatorial district to produce the next governor of the state.
“So, if we all equally own Rivers State, it is injustice to treat the Ogonis unequally because they are also a major segment of the state.”