The representative of Rivers Southeast Senatorial District in the Seventh and Eighth Senate, Magnus Abe, has stated that the process of change in Nigeria’s democracy is still work in progress.
He also called on Nigerian politicians to return power to the people by creating clear processes that could galvanise and determine the wishes of the people, stressing that persons in power must learn to submit themselves to the will of the people.
Abe, a former Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG) in the Rotimi Amaechi’s administration, who stated these over the weekend, noted that the time had come for political parties in Nigeria to strictly adhere to the principles of internal democracy, thereby making the parties to work to promote the overall interest of the country and that of its members, rather than serve the narrow interest of a few leaders.
The senator, who was the Chairman, Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) at the 8th Senate, pointed out that strong institutions would boost political stability and discourage violence, bigotry, and rascality, which according to him, was currently playing out in Nigeria’s political environment.
He said: “The time has come for us to address the issue of Nigeria, the kind of political parties that we have and what we should do to make the parties work better to serve the interest, not just of its members, but the interest of the country at large.
“We need political parties that are truly democratic, that have clear rules of internal democracy that allows the participation and free expression of will by its members.
“I am concerned about what we can do to make our systems stronger to avoid the kind of violent situations being experienced in the country, because if you look around not much seems to have changed. The same kind of scenarios that we witnessed in Rivers State and in other states of the federation, where some political parties could not produce a strong internal conflict resolution mechanism, is still ongoing.
“There are no clear cut, all-inclusive procedures that could allow free expression of will by party members. All Nigerians, not just members of political parties, but all citizens, must be concerned about the direction of party politics.”
Abe, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also declared that he had no personal grudges against the 2019 governorship candidate of APC in Rivers, Pastor Tonye Cole, and the leader of the party (APC) in Rivers and South south zone, Rotimi Amaechi, a minister-designate.
He insisted that his former boss (Amaechi, an ex-governor of Rivers State) should stop seeing himself as the only highway in the APC, such that it is either everybody must follow his (Amaechi’s) decisions or be booted out of the party, stating that there was no such provision in the party’s constitution.
The senator said: “I do not think that members of the party (APC), even those who are with him (Amaechi), will agree with that attitude. The nature of power in this country is that people see themselves as helpless, when the powers that be, have taken a stand.
“We need to bring the party back together, because a political party that cannot gather members to win an election is just like a social club.
“To take over power, you need to have the capacity to build consensus and that is what we have been unable to do in the APC, particularly in Rivers State and we are still open to that possibility.
“I remain committed like other members of the APC to delivering change, not just to the country, but first to the party itself and I believe that within the party, we should focus on giving the power and the voice back to the people.”
Abe accused the former Transportation Minister (Amaechi) of hiring an alleged propagandist, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, to falsely malign and demarket him (Abe), in order to justify the unjustifiable injustice that was allegedly perpetrated on Rivers people during the last political dispensation.
He said: “When people have already done something wrong and realised that what they have done is not defendable, not acceptable and that reasonable people will not accept it, neither can it be defended, they go back to create a narrative that justifies what clearly cannot be justified.
“I have decided to ignore all those things, because Amaechi knows that they are not true. Chief Eze who is saying them knows that they not true and the majority of reasonable people in the country know that those things are nothing but pure blackmail.”