It was G. Jacob who said that “insincerity is like a Dead Sea apple; very fair to look at, but nothing but disappointment awaits those who trust to its appearances”.
If you say that G. Jacob had Rivers APC, or better put, a section of it in mind when he wrote that sagacious statement decades ago, you will come out as correct as you can ever be.
The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has been the most unfortunate chapter of Nigeria’s ruling party, afflicted as it is with a leadership that is perpetually in unrestrained intercourse with insincerity, and no matter how hard you try to shake it from such brazen immorality, it will never saunter from the bed.
Under such willful unbelieving leadership, a party that came with huge promise and was received with infectious enthusiasm by Rivers people in 2013 has cast down to the gutter its glorious apparel as a political party and is now comfortably clothed in the garb of a social club, only good for partying and dancing and sowing asoebi and composing panegyrics for the leader as the god of all deserving of worshipful respect.
Firmly established on that route to perdition, the party in the state has shredded and cast down all characteristics of a political party and members can’t remember the last time the party won even a Councilorship position in an election in the state. Such has been the abysmal reality of Rivers APC that there appears to be no end to the opprobrium that the party now represents.
Why is it so? Think no further. The insincerity of an impotent messianic leadership that has no shame in being the crisis of the party.
Just look at what is happening in the party today and you will see why the party has been adapted to all known and even specially made in Rivers improvised insincere technics.
On the 9th of June, 2020, the High Court of Rivers State gave two epochal judgements that political analysts described as the pathway to peace in Rivers APC.
One of the judgements, in a matter instituted by Dele Moses and others, went all the way back to the genesis of the crisis in the state chapter of the party and applied what manner has called the balm of Gilead to heal the broken hearted and comfort the weary.
The judgement said that the Supreme Court verdict on Rivers APC should be implemented and all party faithful, irrespective of their factional leaning, who paid for forms in the manner prescribed by the APC rules for the May 5, 2018 Ward Congress but were savagely denied nomination forms and disenfranchised on the orders of the party leader the Minister of Transportation be allowed to participate in the party’s congress.
Now, why should any party man or leader have any problem with such a judgement that seeks to perform a miraculous surgery on the party by cutting with precision and taking away the root of its ailment?
So impressed was the now dissolved NWC of the party that it issued a statement through one of its members saying that the party has not authorized anyone to appeal the great verdict which is the harbinger of peace.
But do you know what is happening today? The Minister of Transportation is now sponsoring some strange names who were not parties to the matter in the trial court to apply for leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal the verdict of the High Court of Rivers State with the promise that he has the wherewithal to make things happen in the Court of Appeal.
Why would anyone appeal such a judgement that hurts no one but heal the wounds the Minister himself inflicted on the party which threw it into what is now an internecine crisis? You will come to know.
If you think that scenario one above is bad enough, the intrigues and deluge of insincerity surrounding the second judgement is even bizarre.
The second judgement of the 9th of June by the High Court of Rivers State in a case instituted by an ally of the Minister of Transportation and a prominent chieftain of the party, Rt Hon Igo Aguma correctly dissolved the one-sided, ineffective Caretaker Committee that was incredibly contrived for a balkanized Rivers APC to fester crisis and in it’s place announced that any caretaker committee set up by APC National for Rivers APC must include all members of the State Executive Committee of the party of which Rt Hon Igo Aguma must be chairman.
The peace derivative of that judgement is that for the first time since 2nd of May, 2018, members of the State Executive Committee, representing all tendencies of the party, together with whoever the APC National may appoint to be members of the CTC would be able to sit together on the table of brotherhood to chart a new course for the party.
But no sooner had the court made that judgement than some chieftains of the party, speaking for the interest of the Minister of Transportation, openly vowed not to submit to the leadership of Rt Hon Igo Aguma or even respect the judgement. In fact they are on record lampooning the judgement in the most uncharitable words.
They didn’t fancy a situation where members of the SEC of the party, representing all leanings, would sit together and fashion a solution to the challenges of the party. They didn’t think that would bring peace to the party. What they believed would bring peace was for the continued epileptic operation of the five largely unknown persons that only the Minister exclusively penned from his own faction of the party and gave to the APC National to announce as Caretaker Committee members for Rivers APC!
So what did they do? They said they would not obey the verdict. Some of them who are members of SEC deliberately stayed out of the two well advertised meetings called by the Chairman of the party Rt Hon Igo Aguma.
While still rejecting the judgement and staying out of all the legally convened meetings of the SEC called by the lawfully recognized Chairman, the Minister directed and funded the now illegal Caretaker Committee solely appointed by himself to proceed to the court of appeal to change the judgement that brought every shade of the party into management of party affairs pending when congress is conducted according to the judgement of Dele Moses and others.
Still vehemently rejecting the judgement, Pa Senator Andrew Uchendu, acting in accordance with the directive of the Minister of Transportation, summoned a committee of friends press conference in his residence where only six persons sat down and and said they were now accepting the verdict of the High Court of Rivers State but that they were now purportedly removing the Chairman Rt Hon Igo Aguma in a delusional move the stench of which will not go away for a long time to come.
Note the insincerity. They would not accept the judgement but purporting to accept it just for purposes of consummating their mischief, six persons sat down and purported to remove Rt Hon Igo Aguma. They said they had replaced him with Dr Sokonte DAVIES in a tasteless movie directed by Senator Uchendu in his house. At the same time they said they had removed Aguma and replaced him with Sokonte, they were funding an appeal through one Abbot who was chairman of the court invalidated Caretaker Committee so that the Court of Appeal would upturn the verdict on the basis of which they now purport to recognize Sokonte as Chairman of of their own faction of the party! How do you reckon with that?
Meanwhile, leader of the party in the state, the Hon Minister of Transportation, who is the architect of all the malfeasance going on in Rivers APC and at whose behest his supporters are acting like Bulls in a China shop will appear on TV and issue press statements saying that he is not aware of anything happening in Rivers APC and he should not be dragged into it at the same time Senator Uchendu his deputy leader is issuing the Minister’s name and signature as part of those who purportedly removed the legally recognized Chairman in their committee of friends press conference!
When the Minister issues such half-hearted and lying denial, he must think that the rest of Nigerians are uniquely moronic!
Indeed, the Hon Minister of Transportation, an appointee of the President, is the orchestra of the brazen disobedience to President Buhari’s directive which the NEC of APC unanimously approved that no new litigation should be instituted against the party and that pending litigations should be withdrawn. He is the man organizing disobedience to the resolution of the NEC of the party.
His own species of insincerity will never surprise me. If you want to understand what a man is doing today and prognosticate about what he will do tomorrow, just look at what he did yesterday. In a meeting held at the home of late Hon Nnamdi Wokekoro in the heat of his fight against Senator Abe, the Minister had said that not even President Buhari or his wife Dr Aisha would tell him what to do in Rivers APC. So why should his flagrant disobedience to the President surprise anyone about a man who is a law unto himself?
So when the leader of the state chapter of the party continues to be the crisis of the party but turns around to attempt to deceive the rest of Nigerians by publicly saying that he is not aware and involved in anything happening, pray, what kind of leadership is such person providing? Leadership of insincerity of course!
That was same insincerity that made the Minister to say that Hon Ojukaye Flag Amachree was Chairman of APC Rivers in 2018 when all well meaning Nigerians knew that the man was acting in clear disobedience of a judgement of the Supreme Court which said Ojukaye was not chairman. It took the Minister to realize the potency of a judgement he acknowledged in breach and over which he lived in denial only on the day he was sworn-in for the second time as Minister. It was on that day, after Rivers APC had been thoroughly destroyed, that the Minister told Hon Ojukaye that he was not chairman.
It was the same insincerity that made the Minister to exact pressure on the Oshiomhole-led NWC of APC to announce indirect primary for Rivers APC in 2018 even when he knew that no legal basis existed for indirect primary. Instead of supporting the call for direct primary which would have saved the party as many advocated, he indulged in willful unbelief, sinking the party into the abyss of frustration.
Same insincerity was advertised in Uyo when the Minister insisted that Adams Oshiomhole must hand over flag to Tonye Cole as guber candidate of Rivers APC even when he knew that a competent court of law had nullified the illegal indirect primary that purportedly threw up Tonye Cole. Make believe was more important to the Minister than facing reality.
Same insincerity is showing its deceptive fang in Rivers APC and is set to obliterate the party in the state. It is the Minister who is the architect of the actions disobeying the President’s directive, violating resolution of the NEC of the party and showing total disrespect to the Caretaker Committee by causing an appeal to be instituted against the judgements that the party itself said should not be appealed.
For close to four years now, instead of seeking ways to bring peace to APC Rivers, a party he leads, the Minister has been the one engaged in a mindless megalomanic assault against fellow party chieftains like a conquistador, and would never be placated until his hoists his flag as the undisputed feudal lord of Rivers APC, which Chief Eric Nwibani, one of his supporters calls his “five farmland”.
And so because of this megalomanic disposition, the state chapter of the party, of which many faithful paid the ultimate price to have in the state, and of which many lost face, separated from friends, lost their professions and lost limbs to have in the state must be in perpetual crisis at the instance of the leader himself so that everyone would be kept down!
The day APC Rivers is able to do away with this monstrous insincerity, it will bounce back as a political party, leaving behind the agony of its sorry state as a social club.
—Kennedy Friday Writes from Port Harcourt