02.10.2022 Feature Article

Rivers: Abe, Ogoni and the preferred

Rivers: Abe, Ogoni and the preferred
02.10.2022 LISTEN

Senator Magnus Abe, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) flag bearer for the 2023 Rivers State governorship election, has spent years in and around the political corridor, which speaks to his ocean of political experience.

Abe is also an orator in the likes of Walter Ofonagoro, a Nigerian scholar, politician, and businessman who is a former Minister of Information and Culture. Abe’s astute oratory prowess is comparable to that of Bill Clinton of the United States, whose oratory analysts say marries argument and passion; and twenty-five years after he was elected president, no one surpasses his speechmaking.

Unlike Abe, hardly anybody in the government or out of government is talking in Rivers state. Those who were not like Abe don't see, as far as state politics and security were concerned. According to Irvine Welsh, what he (not Abe) is interested in is work that speaks the truth to power in some way... Welsh added that he doesn't think people speak the truth to power for power’s ear, but for the ear and the imagination of future generations who would seek to live in a world free from the malign and self-serving influence of those who wield it.

When in September 2022, Abe made two remarks while presenting his deputy and also the Director-General of his campaign council in Port Harcourt, he focused his efforts on proving that competency is required for governance and that this is both the norm and the right thing to do. In contrast to certain records of indecisiveness between two scheme gangs, where disinterested and non-intelligentsia are fads, Abe showed that his political environment was established with an aristocracy that was truly interested or an intelligentsia that was truly intelligent.

Abe said he chose the state’s retired permanent secretary, Dr Patricia Ogbonnaya (‘Ada Ekpeye Logbo II of Ekpeye Kingdom'), as a running mate because of her outstanding career in civil service. He described his Director-General of his campaign council, Senator Wilson Ake, as someone well known to the Rivers residents. Since then, spectators have been on the lookout to see where Abe will head to in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.

Caution, honesty, understanding, and responsibilities are composite items. Trust is the basis of any relationship. And Rivers state needs someone with the best leadership qualities like Abe with a high acumen.

Abe has said that he presents himself to the people as a leader who can serve them the way they want to be served, in a way that prioritizes their interests above all other interests. These are the things Abe wants to talk about. He will not want to talk about politics; that will bring him down.

In "IT Auditing: Assuring Information Assets Protection," Robert E. Davis says that since knowledge and ideas are an important part of cultural heritage, social interaction, and business transactions, they retain a special value for many societies, Abe without a doubt is a leader who understands that in this day and age, people want to have opportunities.

While spectators and political analysts have a right to survey Abe's moves, his hardest challenge while aspiring to sit in the seat as governor of Rivers state has not been to persuade the public. Abe has stated that he is still unwaveringly devoted to the principles that have guided his politics over the years and that he will keep working hard to advance internal democracy in Nigerian politics and put the needs of the populace first.

The influential Rivers politician who left the APC in July 2022 mocked a letter claiming Asiwaju refused to participate in APC Rivers politics. That is absurd, he said, adding that all politics is local. After all, Abe has been patient enough with this political cause, which has resulted in his rapid growth. And his political obstinacy in ensuring stability first has earned him the title of one of the popular politicians in Nigeria's new political era, not just in Rivers state.

As an intellectual, Abe has made the realm of ideas his utmost home. He believes that any administration should have good governance and good ideals. His main focus is implementation with honesty. He realizes that a strong government encompasses more than just military prowess or a well-functioning intelligence network. It should stand for "good government," which is an administration that is efficient and equitable. In the eyes of the electorate, this represents Abe.

Although everyone is entitled to a political party, this should not fall on the words of the leader of a political party from Ogoniland, Marvin Yorbana, who said in September in Port Harcourt that Rivers people should vote for his candidate. Not Abe?

In his remarks, Yorbana, who is said to be a former youth leader, pointed out that there is no single Ogoni faction, whether it is the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) or Kagote, which represents three Ogoni councils, will support the candidates from Ogoni for the governorship because they know what it means.

While Yorbana sold his people for soup in his party, he believed that a foreigner would understand the plight of the Ogoni people when he said that his people should vote for his party and that they should not allow the promises these Ogoni candidates have made, because he hopes his candidate will win elections to attract development in their area.

But Ogoni groups like MOSOP and Kagote have thrown their support behind the likes of Abe, saying it would be a grave injustice in politics and crime if no Ogoni is voted for to rule the state in next year's elections.

And Abe represents the hope for the Ogoni people to rule the River state since the creation of the state 55 years ago, as no Ogoni indigene had become a governor, deputy governor, speaker, or chief judge of the state. While MOSOP pointed out governorship candidates from Ogoni to include Dr. Lessi Gborogbosi of the Action Peoples Party (APP), the Labour Party picked Kaninee Barikpoa as the running mate for its governorship candidate, and the APC chose Innocent Bariate Barikor, a lecturer with the Department of Political Science/Administration, University of Port Harcourt, as deputy governorship candidate for Tonye Cole, Senator Magnus Abe of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), represents the face and yearnings of Ogoni people.

Abe, with his wealth of political reasonableness, has indicated his interest in a government of inclusiveness when the likes of Yorbana were championing divisiveness. It was as if Aristotle had Abe at heart when he said that the legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth, for the neglect of education does harm to the constitution.

Like Abe, Aristotle said that the citizen should be molded to suit the form of government under which he lives. Abe knows that each government has a peculiar character that it originally formed and that continues to preserve it. The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy. Judging by this context, Yorbana is oligarchic, while Abe represents the face of democracy.

Since 2015, Abe has been trying to rule the state. Although some successive state governments said that Rivers funds, contracts, and appointments were reserved for Rivers indigenes, Abe believes that everyone should be on board and that all residents of the state should be treated equally.

Abe, who served as a Senator for the Rivers South East Senatorial, said this on the dedication of SDP non-indigenes and the acceptance of converts to the party. It was obvious that Abe did everything as a unifier to unite the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) when he was in the party, no matter the court litigation experienced among attention seeking individuals here and there in the party.

On May 26, 2022, when traducers said that he had dropped his governorship ambition, he declared he was still in the race for the 2023 poll and would not quit for anyone. This statement represents "A Summary View of the Rights of British America," in which Thomas Jefferson says that the whole art of government consists of the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.

Abe also said his name would be on the ballot papers for the election and there was nothing anybody, no matter how highly placed, could do about it. The senator, who represented Rivers South-East Senatorial District, stated this in his campaign office, Freedom House, in Port Harcourt, while members of the faction of the former Minister of Transportation were at Adokie Amiesimeka Stadium holding a party primary.

No matter the politics that played out before he left the APC, he buttressed the urgent need to bring the party together if it was to be relevant in next year’s election. This also applies to his Ogoni people.

Like what he is doing in the SDP – giving his salient ideals in making sure that the party succeeds, Abe once told the APC he wouldn't care how much power anyone thought he had, but the reality was that the APC in this state could not win an election as a divided house.

Therefore, it is important for the Ogoni people to come together with Abe to rally the Rivers residents to support the Ogoni candidate. It is good for everyone to talk to each other, listen to each other, and try to calm things down so that the Ogoni people can win the Rivers governorship election in 2023.

However, just as Abe told the APC, whatever anger you have, you should just let it go so that the Ogoni people can come together to show that they can defeat and save not only Ogoni but the state. It is true that Abe left APC due to a serious challenge, but the Ogoni people will not abandon Ogoni for any reason.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers state via: [email protected]