The Presidency has been thrown into panic, as the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, picked a Billionaire Oil Tycoon and Co-founder of Sahara Energy Resource Limited, Tonye Cole, as the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governorship flag bearer, ahead of the 2019 Rivers State Gubernatorial poll, contrary to Aso Rock’s directives.
It was learnt that Amaechi preferred the Oil Billionaire, over Senator Magnus Abe, representing Rivers South-East Senatorial district; and the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who have both shown interest in contesting for the Governorship office, in 2019.
Amaechi, who was troubled by the fragmentation of the party between supporters of Abe and Peterside, over their perceived 2019 Governorship ambition, recently convened a meeting of APC stakeholders in Port Harcourt, and imposed Cole.
The announcement of Cole as the preferred choice, did not go down well with Abe, who sources claimed insisted that he would proceed with his arrangements to actualise the ambition, whether he was endorsed by Amaechi or not.
Amaechi’s choice of Cole, who no doubt has carved a niche for himself in the oil industry, has triggered further uproar within the party.
Some political observers, assume that the Minister’s consideration of the financial implication of wresting political power from the incumbent Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in 2019, might have deemed it expedient to throw his weight behind a man who can muster the resources required to prosecute the Governorship tussle.
Already, signs of intra-party crisis reared its head recently, when some youths stormed the venue of a meeting between the Minister, and select youths of the APC from across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State, and forced their way in.
It was alleged that those who invaded the meeting, were perceived Abe supporters, who felt they were tactically left out of the meeting.
A supporter of Abe who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that the APC would merely be galloping towards disintegration, if Amaechi insists on imposition, with regards to the Governorship candidate of the party.
“Honestly, we are not saying that Abe should be given the ticket without any hesitation. Anybody who wants to emerge as the party’s Governorship candidate, should do so through the ballot. The era of imposition is over.
“We will not tolerate what happened in 2014 to repeat itself in 2018. To be candid, if Abe or Peterside is denied the ticket this time around, the APC risks angering their many supporters,’’ he said.