Akpo Bomba Yeeh: Of Politics And Its Intrigues

By Ikenga Chronicles April 6, 2019

Akpo Bomba Yeeh: Of Politics And Its Intrigues

—Nnaemeka Oruh,

The 2019 governorship election in Rivers State will remain one to be talked about for years to come. From every point of view, the intrigues, the suspense, and the final outcomes even after the initial election which the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)could not announce until more than a week later, will remain a heated discussion for political discourses for a long time. In the midst of this intrigue is the story of Akpo Bomba Yeeh. 

Months to the election, the contest was between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The APC, led by the former Rivers State governor and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi,was the main opposition party whose followers were sure would stop the incumbent Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike of the PDP from getting a second term. Because Rivers state was known for the violent nature of its elections, there was general apprehension.

The APC however were found wanting in their mode of selection with some members feeling aggrieved and heading to the courts to seek justice. After months of movements between courts, it was decided that the APC had no candidates for the election as the mode of selection was flawed intoto. The tone changed, the rhythm took a new tempo, and the dance became a painful twisted movement for the APC. For many in the state, it was a smooth ride for the PDP. 

But the die was not cast. Rumours roamed the streets that the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi was roaming the Rivers political arena to find a candidate. Dumo Lulu Briggs, lawyer and son of the billionaire O.B. Lulu Briggs was seen as the ready replacement. Dumo however became encumbered by a judgement that marked him ineligible by not being the true candidate of the Accord party. The ride was seemingly easier for the PDP. For many in the state, it was all good. The lack of a strong contender was seen as good omen as it would lead to less tension, and a peaceful election. But that was not to be.

Three days before the election, the minister announced that he was throwing his weight behind the African Action Congress (AAC) for the governorship election. The AAC had two unknowns, Biokpomabo Awara as its candidate, and Akpo Bomba Yeeh, a retired Superintendent of Police as his running mate. In a few hours, the dynamics changed, a new sheriff was in town, and everywhere became painted with pictures of the duo. The Amaechi faction of the APC took over the publicity of the AAC and told tales of these fresh breeds from house to house. They were called “The Dream”.

But the twist was not over. Like the script of a melodrama, the retired Superintendent of Policemen, Awara’s running mate, withdrew after the first round of voting in an election declared inconclusive by the umpires, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). Many on the APC side said the governor enticed him with money so the opposition would be dead, but Bomba said something else. In a statement, Yeeh cited neglect, disregard, etc. He said he was told that on the AAC taking over the government house, he would resign as Deputy Governor of the state. This was given effect through a letter signed a few days to the March 9 election. But that was not all. 

He continued:

“A day to the election, my principal was adequately mobilized to mobilize the electorate in his area for the election. As should be expected, the authority of the APC gave him money, security, vehicles and, for good measure, flown in a chopper to his community with a lot of pomp and circumstance, in a manner befitting  of  his position. Whereas I was supposed to be my principal’s assistant, I was treated like just an appendage. The little preparation I made for the election depended on the miserable Two Million Naira that Engr. Awara Biokpoma gave me.

“While my  principal was going about his business under tight security cover, I was left alone to decide whether to live or to die as I was at the mercy of the vagaries of the present tensed security situation in the state following the lingering election matter. What’s more, while I was squatting in a private house with all the risks thereof,  my principal who was in a hotel kept telling me that he was living in the hotel with money donated  by his friends as the party was not taking care.

“My reaching out to some persons to explain the financial straits, insecure condition and utter neglect which I was encountering was done under disguise.

“My principal and the APC knew that my family, my close aides and I were exposed to bad security weather, that I did not have decent accommodation and could not go out to fend for ourselves, but did not  bat an eyelid.”

On these notes, he felt there was no need staying with the team, and decided to move.And that move proved very critical. One of the most important things the move threw up was the conspiracy that was the Amaechi-plan for Rivers state. It laid bare for all to see that the quest by the former Governor was clearly to regain control of the state through whatever means possible no matter the negative effects the process may have on Rivers people, and consequently endeared an already loved Wike, more to his people. 

Bomba Yeeh was received by the state governor, Nyesom Wike, a move that many believe would mean better stakes for the former AAC deputy governorship candidate. Nyesom is widely believed to be a man who keeps to his words, and will want to prove to Mr. Yeeh that coming over to the PDP was the best decision. The action governor would further want to thank him properly for revealing to those who were seated on the sidelines that the ploys by the APC and their grandmaster are simply attempts at fanning the embers of one man’s lust for power.

Many too have seen his move as a smart one following the terrible defeat the AAC/APC coalition suffered. The days ahead will tell whether the move was really smart as preached, and whether the governor would get him involved in his team as envisaged by many. 

Whatever the outcome, the story of Mr Akpo Bomba Yeeh has added, and will remain part of the Rivers political intrigues for years to come. 

  • Oruh, the author of In Memoriam of a Modest Shame is the Editor-in-Chief of Ikenga Chronicles