Kingsley Wali is a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State. He is also the convener of Unity House Foundation (UHF), a good governance advocacy group. In this interview with ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, Wali speaks on issues hampering the party’s progress at the national level and in Rivers State.
What is your view of the crisis rocking your party, APC, at the national level and in Rivers State?
The truth is that there is nothing to celebrate with the sorry state of the APC in Rivers State. Granted that whatever is bogging down the party is not novel, we must accept that it is gradually getting too personal. I say it is not novel because since the independence movement, Nigerian politicians have always had issues with forming ideology-compatible political parties.
For them, it has always been about creating special purpose vehicles for acquiring power. And this power has largely been for personal gains and nothing altruistic. Let’s not forget the recent history of Senator Ahmed Markafi versus Senator Modu Sheriff in the PDP.
So, just as they “arranged” to settle the “PDP crisis”, that’s the way they will settle the “APC crisis”. It will even be easier to settle in APC, once President Muhammadu Buhari accepts responsibility as leader of the party.
With the defection of Governor Obaseki of Edo State to the PDP, do you think APC with Pastor Ize-Iyamu, as its candidate can retain Edo State come September 2020?
The situation in Edo State is even more confusing than we have noticed in other states during the losing streak era of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman. I doubt if we are going to be able to draw a line between the interest of PDP and APC in Edo State.
Despite Godwin Obaseki’s shuttles to some South-south states in search of endorsement, it doesn’t seem like the desired result is within sight. I doubt if some hard core interests will accept the idea of an Obaseki governorship, that in their calculation, will gravitate back to APC after securing a second term.
I do not think it’s a mere coincidence that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt tried to put a break on the participation of Obaseki in the PDP primaries. Of course, we know who gets whatever he wants in that territory. All of these obstacles ordinarily should benefit Ize-Iyamu as the candidate of the APC in Edo State. But we know his fate would be decided by who eventually becomes the authentic chairman.
Do you see any reconciliation in sight in Rivers APC before 2023 elections, considering court judgments and suspensions on some members of the party?
I was actually optimistic about peace and reconciliation in the party in Rivers State. But I guess I underestimated the destructive nature of the political disagreement in the party. I doubt if the level of bile will not even diminish the Awolowo and Akintola war.
I have the misfortune of being friends with all the interested parties and I believed I owed our friendship a duty. The duty is to stop the disintegration of relationships. Maybe I was naive and believed that what we had was enough to stop the disintegration of our mutual friendship.
But I discovered that the only thing that meant anything to one of the parties is the destruction of the old order, so they can take over. This certainly is unacceptable to me. Nobody goes into negotiation with a mindset. And the challenge is getting these people to understand that history will be unfair to them, if they continue this path of fight to finish.
In summary, I believe that only the resolution of the crisis at the centre, will end the crisis in the Rivers State branch of the APC. The reason being that the Adams and Tinubu faction of the APC are “stakeholders” in the crisis.
Do you see President Muhammadu Buhari bringing lasting peace to the APC considering the fact that he kept silent while the war within the party raged on?
Like I said earlier, the president must end the reign of terror and take leadership. A situation where an ordinary member of the party will arrogate to himself the position of national leader is not helpful. It makes the president look weak and uncaring.
It is not known in our democratic experience that a fellow without any elected position or an appointment will arrogate to himself the position of national leader. Therefore, the President who is the national leader must begin to take responsibility.
What is your advice to APC youths in Rivers State?
My advice is actually very simple and straightforward. They must come to the full realisation that a political party – APC inclusive, is not a restaurant where food is served. Any youth that wants to be taken seriously must be principled, committed and dedicated to the ideals of the political party or organisation he finds himself.
Insulting or attacking perceived opponents/enemies of your leader, is not a credential. Ask from those who walked that route before, how well they fared.
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