The refusal of the Minister of Transportation and the leader of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi to endorse Senator Magnus Abe as the governorship candidate of the APC in the 2015 elections has been likened to a football manager benching his star player.
This allusion was made by the former Senator who represented Rivers West Senatorial District in the 7th Assembly, Senator Wilson Ake during a function organized to drum support for the 2019 governorship ambition of Senator Abe.
Senator Ake who is a major beneficiary of Amaechi’s political magnanimity was quoted to have alluded to the fact that the Minister will be removed as the Leader of the Party if Abe is not allowed to fly the Governorship flag of the APC come 2019.
In his allusion, Senator Ake described Amaechi as the “Coach” who benched his star player , “Lionel Messi” during a keenly contested football match.
But some stalwarts of the APC in Rivers State have described the statement credited to Senator Wilson Ake as “everything wrong with Nigerian politics.”
In the words of Sentor Ake, “In 2015, APC played a match with formidable PDP and benched its Lionel Messi.
“In 2019, we shall play another match and the coach is saying that we shall bench Lionel Messi again. Will that happen?
“We shall not bench Messi (Abe) again rather we shall change the coach (Amaechi)”.
Meanwhile, a UK-based Nigerian Lawyer and prominent politician from Rivers state, Charles Ahaolu has said Ake’s comments were uncharitable to the personality of the Minister adding that , “The innuendo of ‘changing coach’ is a political strike over the bar.
“It is an attempt to ‘eat a squirrel while it is still alive’. No politician including the author of that quote will tolerate that,” he said
The APC in Rivers State has been divided over the row between former Governor and now Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe, leading to the suspension of many top politicians in the state.