MAGNUS ABE, a former senator defeated in the March 28, 2015 senatorial election, now contesting the rerun election in Rivers South East senatorial district, as ordered by the court, in this interview with NWADIKE UGOCHUKWU in Port Harcourt, says he is the most qualified to go to the National Assembly in the state.
YOUR refusal to accept defeat in 2015 led to the rerun coming up this week, how do you perceive your chances in the election?
I joined politics at the early time. I was elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly and served as a minority leader. I was voted the best legislator of my time. At the end of that era, I was appointed Commissioner for Information. I served under former Governor Peter Odili. During the senatorial election in 2015, voter’s cards accredited were more than 40,800 votes awarded to my opponent. The votes doubled the entire Senatorial district; I was awarded 2,000 votes. Judges of the Court of Appeal, in their wisdom, cancelled the election and ordered a re-run, thereafter, March 19 was scheduled for the re-run election, I am the only person who returning as senior member of the senate in the state.
What is your take on the appointment of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, as minister?
I support the appointment Chibuike Amaechi from Rivers State. He worked directly with President Muhammadu Buhari. Amaechi is a member of the APC and a senior member of the caucus in the government. He will protect the interest of Rivers people. At that time he was to be appointed minister, people launched a campaign against the appointment of the former governor. At the end, he was given portfolio as Transportation Minister.
What will be your relationship with Rivers State if you win the rerun election?
If I am elected, the interest of the people will be my priority; I will put the politics of Rivers State above partisan politics. For the All Progressives Congress (APC), we are going to sweep the entire district. We are going to make sure that the interests of the Rivers State people were protected. We are now on the process of consultation, talking to friends, soliciting supports. We are to use this opportunity to appeal to the press to support me. I know the reason I want you to support me. First, I am one of you, I am vying for the senate; as I am here, nobody has served as Commissioner for Information. I have built strong relationship with the press, if I am re-elected in the senate, I will continue to build on that relationship. If I win, I will do more for the people. Between me and my opponent, I am the person who meets the criteria; I am the only person in the same party with President Buhari.
What is your advice to Rivers people?
The re-run election is about Rivers State, issues that concern the Rivers State people, to bring prosperity to the people of the state. Rivers people have begun to understand that in the past two years, we have had enough of the politics of desperation. It is the time for us to address politics with reasons. I enjoin my opponent to run issue-based politics. Let us keep violence out of politics. Let us bring our people united.
The day I was in the one of the Local Government Areas in Rivers State, the people told me that my opponent came here and they asked him what has been done to Rivers people and their communities. They were thanking me because I have been in politics of South East senatorial district, I gave job to somebody.
I know what Ogoni people have suffered in the state. Nobody will intimate you in the state. I will protect my people, nobody should come and take arm robbers to use the arms to carry voter’s cards.