•As Consensus Candidate
The details concerning the April 22nd, 2022 deliberations of party members and gubernatorial aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rivers State chapter have revealed that the 12- governorship aspirants did not agree on a consensus candidate, but reached an agreement to go for a gubernatorial primary election to pick the party’s standard-bearer. On Monday, 2nd of May, 2022, Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree declared his intention to contest the office of Governor of Rivers State. He told his teeming supporters from across the 23- Local Government Areas that he had an interest.
The reception was organized by the Willful Empowerment and Development Initiative—WEDI- with outreach centres across the 23- LGAs contributed N50million and purchased the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for him. The leader of WEDI in his speech acknowledged that Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree was a pan Rivers State man, whose leadership acumen had been tested as Chairman of Asari Toru Local Government Area for 9-years, an unprecedented record in Rivers State.
Standing before a teeming crowd of above 5,000 persons at Polo Club Playground, Port Harcourt Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree said” “Democracy is all about people. That’s why it’s defined as “Government of the people for the people and by the people. It’s not a government by a few, for the few.
I am sure you have heard this rumour of a consensus candidate. I want to tell you that there’s nothing like that. There’s no consensus candidate. What happened was that a few persons decided to make recommendations to Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. And he’s studying it. So now, you the people will have to make your own submission to the leaders of this party, to the National Chairman of this party, and to the President of this party.
“You have to make your own submission and tell them who you want as your governorship standard-bearer. So, I want to ask you this question now, who do you want as your (governorship) standard-bearer?” The crowd shouted “Ojukaye Flag Amachree “ “OJ” as he is fondly called by his supporters.
He went ahead: The president of this country, who is the leader of our party, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) gave an instruction that there should be no imposition of unpopular candidate on the people, no be so?” The crowd chorused “ na so”.
He emphasized saying “ so, we are going to stand by our president. We will resist every unpopular candidate no be so?” The crowd responded, “ na so;”.
Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree said: “Now, we signed a communique that we are going for the primary election and I am going to read paragraphs 3 and 4 to you, to know what we signed. We did not sign our death warrant nor did we sign out our will to them. We signed that we are going for the primary election.
Paragraph 3 says: “The progressive aspirants also agreed to work in unity and support whosoever emerges at the primary election. That means for where? For the primary” he answered quickly as chorused by the crowd. “ the document no talk say make a few persons decide abi?” The document says: “At the primary “ Paragraph 4 says: ‘The progressive aspirants called on the party leadership to ensure a level playing field for all aspirants during the primary election to give everyone a sense of belonging, fairness and equity at the primary. Now we are telling the party leadership as we are giving them the opportunity to ensure s level playing field for all ASPIRANTS or else they will face Political revolution in APC, abi no be so?” The crowd roared “ na so “. OJUKAIYE FLAG AMACHREE said:” The Organizer of this wonderful gathering just presented the governorship expression of interest and nomination forms to me. Listen, I am not going to fill this form unless you ask me to fill it. So, how should I go ahead and fill it?” The crowd chorused “ Yes, fill it”. He said: “ If I fill am una go stand by me?” “ Yes,” the crowd thundered in response. “ Will you stand by me till the end?” And the crowd responded “Yes”.
He said “Now that I have your mandate, I am going to fill this form….on that note I Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree declare my intention to run for the office of the governor of Rivers State. Today is going to be recorded in history as the Polo Club Liberation Day. On that note, I want to urge you all to go to all the communities, all the unities, all the wards and the 23 Local Government areas and tell them that OJ is coming. Thank you and may God bless you.”
It was a remarkable departure from what Ojukaye Flag Amachree stood for in 2019 when Pastor Tonye Cole emerged as flagbearer for APC, while the Honourable Ojukaye Flag Amachree was the Interim Chairman of APC led by Minister of Transportation Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.