As an Opobo man, a lot of people have been wondering why I signed into the mass movement of Rivers people earnestly urging Distinguished Senator Magnus Abe to run for Governor of Rivers State in 2019. Today I will try to explain why.
I am not just calling on Senator Magnus Abe to present himself for the Governorship of Rivers State in 2019 on the platform of the APC simply because he is an Ogoni man; even though his being an Ogoni man places him at an advantageous position in the political geographics of Rivers State. I will explain that at the end of my piece.
I am calling upon Senator Magnus Abe to immediately signal his interest in the governorship of Rivers State in 2019 and indeed prepare to run because in him, I see the kind of completeness in terms of experience, and terms of the infectious temperament that Rivers State needs at this time to reclaim her lost glory and make a big impression within the comity of states doing well developmentally in the Nigerian Federation.
Senator Magnus Abe boasts of a massive experience that places him head and shoulder above other aspirants for the ticket of our great party the APC.
Magnus has been a powerful minority leader of Rivers State House of Assembly. At the end of that tenure in 2003, he was voted as the best legislator. That means that he broke his teeth in politics and governance as a legislator.
He was appointed by Dr Peter Odili as Commissioner of Information in his cabinet, having earlier been lobbied and convinced to join the PDP. The information portfolio, before Magnus Abe was appointed into that office in 2003,was not a center of power and influence within the local politics, for obvious reasons. But Abe’s genius changed that automatically, and he became one of the most powerful and influential Commissioners in the Odili cabinet. He was able to communicate government policies and program with such clarity and persuasiveness that he was nicknamed the Cicero. Till date, Abe’s oratorical prowess is admired by his friends and envied by his adversaries. He is arguably the best Rivers born politician on the stump.
As Commissioner of Information, he effortlessly rolled out hitherto novel initiatives including holding monthly meetings with local publishers and editors in Port Harcourt which kept the publishers in the know about government programs and policies. He was also regularly in touch with publishers and editors of national dailies. If Governor Odili was a darling of the media, Magnus Abe prepared the ground for that.
Little wonder then, that Magnus Abe was voted by media practitioners as the best Commissioner of information in Rivers State, a meritorious award that was publicly presented.
In 2007, Magnus Abe was appointed as Secretary to the State Government (SSG) by Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the first appointment that was announced in that administration.
A lot has been said about Abe’s exceptional performance as SSG, and how, as Secretary of the State Security Committee, he was able to bring his sparkling intelligence and administrative sagacity to bear in the construction of an effective security architecture for Rivers State, working in telepathic understanding with the Governor.
Magnus Abe is definitely one of the most powerful SSGs Rivers State has produced . Some people have said that he is indeed the most powerful SSG that the state has ever produced, even though they have not been able to provide a satisfactory comparative analysis to support that claim.
Indeed, there is no gainsaying that Magnus Abe was the galvanizer of the “developmental software” that heralded Amaechi’s giant developmental strides in his first tenure as Governor.
Even Abe’s harshest critic and opponent, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who himself was a member of Amaechi’s first tenure cabinet, in one rare moment of candor, openly declared that Magnus was “the brain box” of the Amaechi government, an appellation that has stuck ever since.
With all sense of modesty, and without prejudice to anyone, Magnus Abe has made the office of the SSG too big a shoe for all his successors so far, and this is a fact buried in the interstices of empiricism, a fact beyond reproach.
In 2011, Senator Magnus was elected into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the first time, but his visibility in the Senate was as though he was a ranking Senator.
He would attain the status of a ranking Senator after he was sworn-in to the Senate on December 15th, 2016, after the most protracted election ever conducted in Nigeria by the INEC.
Abe’s voice is respected in the Senate, and there is usually pin-drop silence whenever he stands up to speak in the red chambers. He has been consistently assigned the most critical Senate assignments, because there is implicit trust in his capacity to deliver by the leadership of the Senate.
Abe is unarguably the best Senator that Rivers South-east has ever produced, with his footprints littered all over the seven LGAs of the district.
Abe has garnered massive experience in all the arms of government. He is a lawyer who has worked in both public and private practice. He therefore understands the workings of the judiciary. He has worked impressively as a cabinet Commissioner and as Secretary to the State Government. He therefore understands the intricacies of the executive arm. He is an astute, vocal, influential and experienced legislator. No one can challenge him on the workings of the legislature. He therefore commands unparalleled knowledge and deep understanding of the trinity of government.
Politically, Abe understands the demands of both opposition politics and mainstreamism. He cut his political teeth in opposition politics and matured into mainstream politics. That was why in 2013, when many politicians in Rivers State government left the PDP for the APC, Abe became the most prominent voice after that of the Governor. The secret was simple to decipher. He had the experience of opposition politics ahead of many of his peers and contemporaries, so it was easy for him to fit into the roles he played.
Magnus Abe comes in a complete package, something that is rare to find in many.
Where others appear brash, Magnus Abe comes as a polished gentlemen. Where others appear excited and excitable, Magnus Abe comes as thorough and painstaking. Where others appear careless and flippant , Magnus Abe comes as calculative and tactful.
Where others are rash, Magnus Abe comes as diplomatic. Where others appear timid, Magnus Abe wears the garment of bravery in his mild and unassuming looks. Where others appear haughty, Magnus Abe comes as humble.
Exposed, God-fearing, well-bred, Magnus Abe is very comfortable among the greats and mighty in the country, and indeed the world. And so he is among the low and the lowly.
Born of a Priest father, he is easily one of the most intelligent politicians around. Little wonder Chibuike Rotimi said, “there are two persons I respect because of their intelligence. Magnus Abe and Odein Ojumogobia”.
I dare say that Magnus is the most accessible public officer in Rivers State today. He is the only public officer at his level that keeps his gate wide open and no one will ask you where you are going as you step into his compound. Magnus Abe will sit down and listen to all manner of people very calmly, and when he opens his mouth to address your concerns, you will go home happy, knowing that a genius has spoken to you.
He is a man who has the right words for the right occasion, and is rarely caught napping or off guard in public speaking. Abe is the most exceptional extemporaneous speaker I have come across.
He maintains his relationships with people across the strata of society, and is the most suitable character and personality to bring healing and unity to a state badly hurt and agonizingly divided.
Abe is a pan-Nigerian and Pan-Rivers splendor. His network of friends spread across tribes, religion and class. He is a Nigerian patriot.
He is the person with the experience, temperament and character to stop the ravaging insecurity in Rivers State, heal the wounds inflicted by bitter politics, and open the trapped economic outlets in the State so that both indigenous population of our state and all those who stream into the Treasure Base can find their own possibilities and live their lives more abundantly.
History and geography too have placed Abe is a pole position. He is from Ogoni, a large ethnic group in Rivers State which, half a century after the creation of Rivers State, is yet to produce a governor, deputy governor, speaker and Chief Judge. Now, therefore, is the time to allow the stream of political Justice flow mightily into the part of the state. Now is the acceptable time!
These are some of the reasons why, as a proud son of Opobo/Nkoro LGA, I am joining the movement of people who are calling on Senator Magnus Abe to declare his interest to contest for the Governorship. The possibilities of his governorship will place Rivers State on a pedestal hitherto unattained.
This I know, this I believe.
Princewill Finebone wrote from Opobo Nkoro in Rivers
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