Rivers APC Chairmanship: A Peep Into The Political Traits Of Notable Contenders For The Party Top Job
BARR. EFFA PAULINUS
The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress is one branch of the ruling party that has been riddled with tactless power play and bitter rivalry which perpetually crippled political activities and stocked the futures of promising young men and potential leaders in limbo.
The Ward, LGA and State Executive Committee members elected during the annulled 2018 congresses had hardly settled in their new offices when some dissident members, allegedly “excluded” and thus aggrieved, headed to the courts, scamping for injunctions and injunctive reliefs which were conspicuously displayed with price-tags like wares on the shelves of a supermarket.
Yes, the Rivers State Judiciary turned itself into a Supermarket, restricted to the Governor and the snarling saboteurs within the Rivers APC who opened a floodgate of litigation against the party.
With her team of Lawyers, the party tried hard to navigate through the turbulent waters of the legal mechanics and acrobatics but the hands of Essau operating from a higher cadre kept frustrating every efforts at putting the party on a pedestal to get justice.
2019 will remain a watershed in annals of democracy and party politics in Rivers State. And those who conspired to deploy technicalities, legal sermons and hypnotic appeals to opiate the courts and rob the people of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and be voted for, in the pursuit of their selfish, private vendetta, may have succeeded in having their names on the blacklist of posterity.
Decrying the rippling effects of the conspiracy of silence by powerful politicians and leaders of the APC Nigeria, who had all it takes to quell the raging imbroglio, a former National Publicity Secretary of nPDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, in one of his widely published articles made a touching statement; he said the saboteurs and their conspirators will continue to be remembered in the annals of political treachery, and it will be of unblessed memories.
The recent judgement of the Court of Appeal in Stephen Wonah & Ors v All Progressives Congress, has however laid to rest all speculations and uncertainties about the Rivers APC. The verdict brought the melancholic torments of the daredevil stunts to a dead end.
The spoilers had as usual, purchased an injunction restraining the Rivers APC from participating in the Ward and LGA Congresses. Justice Ben Whyte, a judge of the Rivers State High Court, conscripted to do the bidding slammed the injunction against the party notwithstanding the fact that the Ward Congress had been concluded. The Court of Appeal, perceiving no merit on the order, upturned it and remedied the mischief. That decision marked the end of the road for the troublers of the Rivers APC, and the first yield of that judgement was the successful conduct of LGA Congress on Saturday, September 5, 2021. It also validated the Ward Congress held earlier on July 31.
The ward and Local Government Congresses have been adjudged by analysts and independent assessors as a necessary path to stability in the troubled party thus, it is only fair for the Rivers APC to employ due diligence and display some reasonable care and skill in her choice of who takes over as substantive State Chairman.
As party members earnestly await the next phase of the ongoing exercise, viz the State Congress, a journey through the records of some prominent contenders to the Rivers APC top job will offer stakeholders the opportunity to assess their records and settle for the most suitably qualified to steer the party and land her safely on Canaan side.
(A.) H.E., (Amb.) Oji Ngofa
Amb. Oji Ngofa, a Malabite, is a Linguist, Diplomat, and politician with a fervent interest and passion for the welfare of the plebs.
A Two-term Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Ngofa’s sterling performance impressed then Gov. Chibuike Amaechi who again, appointed him Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Council upon the expiration of his term.
He later emerged as Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress where he assisted Mai Mala Buni, then National Secretary who later won election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, as the Executive Governor of Yobe State.
Ngofa later left the APC Secretariat and was appointment as Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands. He has many sterling diplomatic records to his credit.
His desire to represent his people at the red chambers was cut short by the exclusion order slammed on the Rivers APC during 2019 election where a sizable number of Rivers electorates were denied the right to choose who represents them at the parliament and other positions in government.
A cursory view of the political calculation of the time will return the result that Ngofa be reserved for the Deputy Governorship slot which in all honesty would be zoned to the Rivers South-East Senatorial District, particularly, the Ogoni axis, as a riverine/upland ticket will be a sure bet for the APC and a win-win for the upland and lowland communities.
(B.) Chizi Nyeomasila
A reputed policy intelligence expert, political strategist, dogged progressive and grassroots mobilizer, Chizi Nyeomasila has traversed through the finest mix of the classroom of theoretical politics and the very harsh arena of practical politics, leading a no mean political pressure group; I See You Foundation for Peace and Prosperity otherwise known as I See You Group, which he founded around 2013 to galvanize mass participation in the electoral process.
The group was at the forefront of the agitation for a riverine Governor in 2015. His rugged approach in the pursuit of the riverine guber mandate forced Gov. Wike to lead some PDP leaders from the riverine, including then Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, to pay him a visit in his former office at Ada George Road, to woo him to respect the choice of then President Goodluck Jonathan, who had taken decision on the party’s guber candidate in favour of Wike.
He served as Secretary of the South-South Zonal Presidential Campaign for Dr. Jonathan/Sambo re-election in 2015, where he mobilized over 60,000 people for the rally.
In 2017, at Polo Club, Port Harcourt, Chizi Nyeomasila, led what many described as the biggest defection of all times into the All Progressives Congress in continuation of the quest for a balanced power sharing formula between the upland and riverine communities of Rivers State.
While Vanguard reporters pegged the number of defectors at Polo Club at less than 20,000, several other media platforms reported a whooping 50,000 or more. Which ever be the case, his defection dealt a big blow on the People’s Democratic Party.
His entrance into the APC, no doubt resuscitated the party and injected fresh blood into her veins as he toured the 23 local government areas, handing over his supporters to the party’s leadership for proper integration. His support base sterns across the 319 wards and the 23 local government areas of Rivers State.
Chizi Nyeomasila, has been working tirelessly for growth and development of the party. He served as State Auditor in the Ojukaye-led State Executive Committee.
(C) High Chief Emeka Beke
An experienced and successful business mogul with firm roots traversing through a vast service area.
Emeka Beke, hails from Elibrada-Emohua Community in Emohua Local Government Area, where he is notable for acts of philanthropy.
Aside having many under his employ, Chief Emeka Beke, has empowered several young men in skill and finance and set them up for life earning himself the sobriquet ‘king of boys’.
He served as Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State and made meaningful contributions towards the progress of the party.
In 2019, an online tabloid accused Chief Emeka Beke of instigating the crisis that almost crippled the Rivers APC. According to the report, “the crisis that rocked the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State was simply as a result of failure by the office of the Secretary of the party occupied by Chief Emeka Beke to sell forms to delegates even after they had completed payment for the purchase of the forms”.
Whether or not the allegation above holds water, it has been overtaken by event, especially the recent court judgement which cleared all hurdles for the Rivers APC.
Having laid bare the records of the frontline contenders, it is pertinent and in fact beneficial that party members conduct inquiries and give a critical and fair appraisal of each of them to guide leaders in their decision making.
Barr. Effa Paulinus
(Public Affairs Analyst)
0816 287 4331