By Donu Kogbara

BIOKPOMABO Awara is the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in my home state, Rivers. Neither AAC nor Awara had any standing or profile in Rivers State until Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation and All Progressives Congress, APC, leader in our zone, decided to bestow relevance and fame on them.

Most of you know how and why this unexpected elevation of AAC/Awara happened; but let me quickly recap for those who don’t. Last year, Amaechi selected his friend, Tonye Cole, a successful Lagos-based businessman, to be the APC’s gubernatorial flagbearer.

Magnus Abe, an APC senator was also Amaechi’s friend at the time and also interested in the governorship. He not only felt betrayed on a personal level, he also objected, as a matter of principle, to Amaechi’s dictatorial modus operandi.

So Abe went to court; and APC wound up with no guber, State House of Assembly or National Assembly candidates in Rivers. Amaechi doesn’t give up easily and was desperate to participate in the election, believing that he could use Federal Might to topple Nyesom Wike, the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governor (yet another old pal with whom he had bitterly quarrelled).

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So he hastily, three days before the election, adopted the obscure AAC and unknown Awara…a move that attracted widespread ridicule. Amaechi did his best to fight Wike to a standstill and frighten Wike’s fans into submission, making himself even more unpopular than he already was in the process (hundreds of soldiers were deployed to do Amaechi’s bidding, local vigilantes and enraged village women fought back, mayhem ensued, innocent people died).

But most Riverians don’t currently want APC, Buhari, Buhari’s nominees, Amaechi or Amaechi’s nominees. And Wike, a seasoned operator in the tough terrain that is the Rivers political arena, has comprehensively trounced AAC, its candidate and its sponsor.

Results according to INEC?

886,264 votes to Wike. 173,859 to Awara.

But instead of telling himself the truth – which is that he cannot win any contest of any kind in Rivers State anytime soon, Awara is running around saying that he was leading until INEC allegedly intervened on behalf of Wike…and that AAC is a victim of chronic electoral fraud and will not rest till it reclaims its “stolen mandate”.

Awara even, with a straight face, referred to his “teeming supporters”! This is someone who was unheard-off till last month! Talk about delusional and pot calling kettle black!!!

Dangerous tactics

Even if there have been malpractices on the PDP side, APC/AAC has excelled on the bullying front…to the point where some non-Rivers APC members have privately expressed disapproval of Amaechi’s dangerous tactics and concern about the impact these tactics are having on their party’s image and their President’s reputation.

Meanwhile, Amaechi has been embarrassed by the defection of Awara’s running mate to Wike’s camp…and by Adams Oshiomhole, the APC chairman, making it clear that Amaechi is on his own.

Meanwhile, one of Amaechi’s key associates has this to say: “…None of us will rest on this one, not until justice is done. My message to you Fiat justitia ruat caelum and I say it in Latin so the people who took their time to disenfranchise us can also take their time to remember it, especially those in INEC…You have just murdered sleep and asked us to go to hell. We have heard you. You too will hear from us soon.”

Justice-ke! Disenfranchisement indeed! You join a toxic conspiracy to impress outsiders. You force your own flesh and blood to accept candidates they cannot relate to. Then you have the barefaced cheek to carry on as if you are a saint who has been robbed?!

I urge Mr President to earn some genuine respect from angry Rivers people by putting a stop to this disgraceful nonsense and telling his representatives to stop spoiling his name and issuing threats.

Muhammadu Buhari is the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces and many will blame him if security personnel misbehave, kill or injure.

I would also like to appeal to Amaechi by reminding him that he was once loved and needs to think about the future and quit terrorising. It isn’t necessary to win every single battle.

Congrats To Dear Betty

Mrs Betty Apiafi is a woman of many parts. An ex-banker, the owner of a school, member of the House of Representatives; and so on.

Betty has just become the first-ever female senator in Rivers State. Kudos to an amazon who definitely has what it takes to do a fantastic job on behalf of her constituents.

Niger Delta Governors

I would also like to congratulate the PDP’s Niger Delta Governors – Wike, Dickson (Bayelsa), Udom (Akwa Ibom), Okowa (Delta) and Ayade (Cross River) for vigorously defending their corners under immensely difficult circumstances. I am very proud of them.

The strongest democracies are those that have the strongest oppositions. And we are heading in the right direction on some levels. If APC wants to electorally capture South-South states legitimately, it should try much harder to win hearts and minds, fair and square.

Approaching this challenge aggressively and arrogantly is a huge mistake. Niger Deltans are not daft slaves who will meekly tolerate invading Conquistadors and their Quisling collaborators. We produce most of Nigeria’s wealth and deserve dignity.

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