° May join Peterside, George, West, Davis,  Asita, Amachree, Ngerebera in the race

° As PDP waits in the wings

A Kalabari prince and film maker, Prince Tonye Princewill may throw his hat into the ring as the drumbeats of war over who should be crowned the governorship candidate of the APC gradually becomes louder.

Although the Buguma born politician has not made it official, the social media has been awash of recent with posters as well as streams of other messages that are tipping him for the top job in Rivers State.

A recent poster trending on Facebook depicts Princewill as a gubernatorial aspirant and Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi, current Minister of Transportation as a presidential hopeful.

Where all this would eventually lead as the road to 2023 gradually comes into focus remains unclear.

But, the choice of Chief Emeka Beke who hails from the Upland as the APC State Party Chairman suggests that the road is open for persons of Riverine extraction to contest in the forthcoming governorship race.

There are indications, although unconfirmed, that the APC may be planning to zone the governorship ticket to the Riverine areas of the State, especially with the Kalabaris in mind.

Recall that Tonye Dele Cole, a Lagos based businessman and architect who came up with the slogan, “Make we do am?”, was drafted into the gubernatorial race by party leaders in the APC in the 2018/2019 era.

That effort which angered supporters of other aspirants, including Senator Magnus Abe backfired.

In the Ogoni speaking areas where Senator Abe operates, the alleged plan to zone the governorship ticket this time to the Riverine parts of the State is being stoutly resisted.

Abe has never hidden his ambition to contest the governorship on the platform of the APC.

In response to those who would want him to hoist his ambition outside the APC, Abe has insisted that he is going nowhere.

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This posture by the fiery Senator presupposes that a titanic battle will be fought within the APC when the time comes.

While events play out, names of possible Kalabari aspirants in the APC are being dropped by groups which have begun subtle campaigns to support persons of their choice.

They include names of Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Dr Sokonte Davies, Tonye Cole, Biokpo Awara, Chief Michael West and Dr Dawari George.

Of the lot, Dr George, Flag Amachree and Princewill are seen within the APC as strong contenders in the Kalabari areas which fall within the Rivers West.

Outside the Kalabari speaking areas is the Orashi region. Most notable among those from this region is Rt. Hon Asita O. Asita.

Referred to by his supporters as “Orashi 001”, Asita is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of NIMASA.

These potential aspirants from the Rivers West would be joined when the chips are down by three possible aspirants from the Rivers South East.

These are Senator Magnus Abe, Dr Dakuku Peterside, and Engineer Sampson Ngeribera.

Abe is perhaps, the most visible of all the contenders from the Rivers South East, given his profile and what some see as his strenuous effort to erect a power bloc within and outside the APC.

Peterside, a former gubernatorial candidate who contested against Governor Nyesom Wike in 2015 is rearing to go as well.

After his loss to Wike, Dakuku as he is fondly called, moved on to serve as the Director General of NIMASA.

Signals emerging indicate that the Opobo born politician who is being viewed as a turnaround expert and newspaper columnist may make a final bid for the governorship in 2023, if all things however remain equal.

Ngerebera, a one-time Commissioner for Works under the Rufus Ada George administration may not be one of those whose ambition is well known.

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But he is reportedly working underground, according to what we are hearing, in pursuit of his alleged plan to snatch the ticket from those who are emerging as frontrunners at this time.

Prior to the disqualification of Tonye Cole in 2019, Tonye Princewill served as one of the coordinators of the APC’s publicity machine.

The Prince would later leave for the UK where he reportedly recuperated from a heart – related ailment after surgery.

Back on the scene, his supporters believe the man whose film ’76 is making waves on digital platforms is eminently qualified to occupy Brick House.

“This is not the time for our man to play second fiddle”, an associate of the prince said, “We are backing him all the way to the primaries.”

Another source told the Port Harcourt Telegraph, “Tonye might be our best bet at this time. He is the only one who can stand up to the PDP and also lure Kalabari voters because of his style.”

It would not be Tonye’s first shot at the Rivers governorship. He first ran on the platform of the ACN against Rotimi Amaechi, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Thereafter, he participated in what appeared in the beginning to look like a three – way race involving Governor Nyesom Wike, Dr Dakuku Peterside and himself in 2015.

With 2023 almost in sight, Princewill is seemingly navigating the political waters, driven by a strong desire to govern the Rivers people, and the ambition of his closest associates who want to see him on the ballot.

… As the PDP waits in the wings

In the meantime, the Rivers wing of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, waits in the sideline.

Its leaders are waiting to see what will eventually happen in the APC where new disagreements which stem from old differences appear to be building up.

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Since the return of democracy, the PDP has held ostensibly unto the reins of power in Rivers State.

It has literally won everything there is, from the governorship, National Assembly, House of Assembly to the Local Government Chairmanship, with political pundits describing the Rivers State as a PDP state.

The assessment that the Rivers State is a PDP state would most certainly count for much as 2023 approaches, particularly after APGA remarkably sustained its stronghold in Anambra State.

Dismantling political structures that have served the PDP in Rivers State and elsewhere in the South South would be the major task before the APC and its leaders.

Many are watching to see how the APC in Rivers would overcome some of the internal contradictions that are creating serious cracks at the moment.

On the home front, Governor Nyesom Wike is apparently busy transforming the PDP into a formidable fighting force.

Comparatively, without any bias, the PDP appears more stable at this time than the APC when seen against the backdrop of events that have been playing out in Rivers.

Many across the country equally agree that the Wike administration is posting solid successes in the of development arena.

Ambassador Desmond Akawor, Chairman of the PDP in Rivers State recently spoke of what would likely happen to the APC.

He said the PDP would crush the APC in 2023, stressing that the ruling party has benefitted from much needed services that the Wike administration is rendering to the people.

Should Akawor’s prediction come to pass, PDP would prove its mastery of the Rivers political turf, with more than 20 years of the control of state apparatus under its belt.