A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has declared that he can be described as a riverine man because he is from Rivers State.
Abe, who made the declaration while speaking at the expanded State Executive Committee (SEC) meeting of the APC in Port Harcourt, called on the people of the state to support his aspiration in order to bring the state back on track.
He said: “I want to stand here and say that I am riverine because I am a Rivers man. The most important thing is not because there is a river in Bera (his home town in Gokana), but the fact that I am a Rivers man and I have the interest of all Rivers men at heart”.
“It will be wrong for me as an aspirant of this party not to use this opportunity to solidly canvass for the support of all Rivers people that we need to put our state back on track.”
Abe, who is the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, said his quest to be the next governor of the state is to take the state out of the era of bitterness, hatred and anger.
The senator said: “I want to thank the people of Ikwerre, the people of Orashi, the people of Kalabari, the people of Ogoni, the people of Etche and everybody in this state who contributed to enable me buy the nomination form as a governorship aspirant. People contributed even from outside Rivers State and I thank you all”.
“I also want to use this opportunity to state clearly that the Rivers State we have in mind is not a state where; where you come from is more important than the fact that you are a Rivers man”.
“Our unit of government is Rivers State. When we were growing up in Rivers State; as a young Rivers man, I could go to Kalabari and spend the weekend. Kalabari people were in Kpor in Gokana schooling. People went to Etche to go and live there.
“Rivers people were free to live anywhere, mix with each other. We had friends across everywhere. We used to go to spend the weekend in Bonny. Everywhere in this state we had people and we had relationships. That is the Rivers State that we want to go and look for”.
“The present state we have is torn by bitterness, hatred, anger and all sorts of negative values that have become the symbol of where we are today”.
“I am sure that no Rivers man wants to live in an atmosphere of hate; where you are taught to perpetually hate, a place in which where you come from has become more important than the fact that you are a Rivers man,” he said.
The APC governorship hopeful commended members of the party’s SEC for the adoption of direct primaries as the mode for choosing candidates of the party for the 2019 general election in the state, saying their position was in tandem with all tenets of democracy.
“Let me start by thanking members of the State Executive Committee of our great party for holding this great meeting today and for taking this very noble position that is in tandem with the position of our President, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari”.
“The only kind of democracy that works is the democracy in which the people truly decide their future. Direct primaries is a reflection of the wishes of the people”.
“So, let me thank members of the State Executive Committee of our party the APC, for taking that position that is in tandem with all tenets of democracy”.
He commended leaders of the party for their commitment to the ongoing registration exercise to bring in new members into the party and validate existing membership.
“Let me say that the foundation of direct primaries is the people. Arguments have been put forward to say that we cannot have direct primaries in APC because we do not have valid membership registers”.
Senator Abe faulted the arguments of those demanding for indirect primaries insisting that their arguments were illogical; “if they say there is no valid register, I want to ask, what register was used to conduct the congresses that yielded the indirect delegates that are now going to vote on your behalf?”
“If there were no registers, how were these delegates elected? Anybody who is using the argument of registers against direct primaries, has already invalidated the congresses”
“So people who are saying we cannot conduct direct primaries because they have no valid register, must first tell members of the party the membership register that was used to conduct the congresses that produced the executives that they now want to use as delegates”.
“After all, realistically speaking, direct primaries is nothing but a ward congress; that instead of electing ward officers, you elect candidates. So, if you did not have registers, how did you elect the ward officers that you now want to act as delegates on our behalf? That is the question they have to answer before they can advance that argument.”