INSIDEPOLITICS PDP, oth­ers take ad­van­tage of APC cri­sis in Rivers


All seems not to be well with the Rivers State chap­ter of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) fol­low­ing the Mon­day, Jan­uary 7, 2019, Fed­eral High Court rul­ing that the party can­not present any can­di­date in the state dur­ing the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

How­ever, the lead­er­ship of the party in the state said it would ap­peal against the judge­ment.

Fol­low­ing the rul­ing of the court, po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the state are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cri­sis in the APC to woo vot­ers to their side.

As it stands, the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), aside other par­ties, stands the chance of win­ning nearly all the elec­toral seats in the state if the sit­u­a­tion does not change be­fore the elec­tions.

In a state­ment is­sued on its web­site, the Rivers State chap­ter of the PDP said the judge­ment was a right step in the right di­rec­tion.

Com­ment­ing on the rul­ing, coun­sel to PDP, Dike Udena, ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion, say­ing the APC failed to com­ply with the elec­toral act.

Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion, a chief­tain and found­ing mem­ber of the Ac­tion Demo­cratic Party (ADP), Dr. Acho Nwokogba, called on pa­tri­otic and vi­sion­ary mem­bers of the APC in Rivers State to join ADP en masse.

Nwokogba said the ADP had demon­strated com­mit­ment, or­gan­i­sa­tion and fo­cus, at­tributes he said had made the party a cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive to the ma­jor par­ties.

He said, “We hate to sound like we are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of our op­po­nent’s mis­for­tunes, but we have al­ways pre­sented the ADP as a cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive to both the APC and the PDP.

“We are a very peace­ful party with good pro­grammes and plans for the state. Our man­i­festo is there in pub­lic do­main. We are su­ing for peace and good gov­er­nance. So we are call­ing on APC mem­bers to join us be­cause we plan to erad­i­cate poverty, hunger, as well as re­store hon­our, or­der and se­cu­rity to the state.”

The state Chair­man of Labour Party (LP), Ruben Favour, said their gov­er­nor­ship flag­bearer, Dumo Lulu Briggs, had all it took to win the forth­com­ing gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Rivers.

The clam­our by other po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Rivers to woo APC mem­bers started when a Fed­eral High Court in Port Har­court nul­li­fied the pri­maries con­ducted by both the Ro­timi Amaechi and Mag­nus Abe fac­tions of the party. The two po­lit­i­cal gla­di­a­tors have been locked in per­son­al­ity clash over who will fly the party’s gov­er­nor­ship ticket.

Specif­i­cally, the court ruled that the APC can­not par­tic­i­pate in the gov­er­nor­ship, Se­nate, House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and House of Assem­bly elec­tions in Rivers State.

De­liv­er­ing judge­ment in the case: “Sen. Abe and oth­ers vs Rivers APC”, Jus­tice Ko­la­wole Omo­to­sho de­clared that the party must bear the con­se­quences of its dis­obe­di­ence to law, not­ing that the pri­maries con­ducted by both the Amaechi and Abe fac­tions were il­le­gal, null and void as they were held in de­fi­ance to a suit be­fore Jus­tice Chin­wendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court.

The court, there­fore, held that the names sent by the Amaechi fac­tion and the Na­tional Work­ing Com­mit­tee (NWC) of the party to the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) for the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions were il­le­gal and should be dis­re­garded.

The court also said the di­rect pri­maries con­ducted by the Sen. Abe fac­tion were il­le­gal be­cause the NWC of the party did not mon­i­tor or par­tic­i­pate in the pro­cesses.

Omo­to­sho fur­ther granted a manda­tory in­junc­tion di­rect­ing INEC to re­move all APC can­di­dates from bal­lot pa­pers and other elec­toral ma­te­ri­als, fur­ther im­plor­ing INEC to obey the judge­ment of the Rivers State High Court.

In an­other ver­dict, the Fed­eral High Court in Port Har­court granted an in­junc­tion stop­ping all can­di­dates of the APC in Rivers State from pre­sent­ing them­selves as can­di­dates for the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

Coun­sel to Sen. Abe, Henry Bello, said the judge­ment was the con­se­quence of im­po­si­tion of can­di­dates, but that they they would ap­peal.

Sim­i­larly, coun­sel to APC, Emenike Ebete, ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the ver­dict, adding that they would ap­peal.

The Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of APC in the state, Chris Finebone, said, “We have just re­ceived ex­cerpts of the judge­ments de­liv­ered by Hon. Jus­tice Omo­to­sho of the Fed­eral High Court, Port Har­court, in two sep­a­rate suits. One was filed by Sen. Mag­nus Abe and 49 oth­ers, ask­ing the court to de­clare the can­di­dates of the APC in the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions in Rivers State, and an­other filed by the PDP, ask­ing the court to de­clare that APC has no can­di­date for the elec­tions.

“How­ever, we do not agree with the court... the APC has ab­so­lute pow­ers to sched­ule, resched­ule or even can­cel its con­gresses, not­ing that the party ef­fec­tively ter­mi­nated its ward, lo­cal gov­ern­ment and state con­gresses of May 5, 12 and 19, 2018, re­spec­tively.

He fur­ther pointed out that the party’s pri­mary elec­tions, based on the un­chal­lenged re­sults and out­come of sub­se­quent con­gresses, were law­ful and valid.

“Un­der the Elec­toral Act, 2010, a third party can only chal­lenge the nom­i­na­tion of the APC can­di­dates as pre­scribed in Sec­tions 31(5) and (6), or chal­lenge their re­turn in ac­cor­dance with Sec­tion 138(1),” he stated.

Spokesman of Tonye Cole (one of the fac­tional APC gu­ber­no­trial can­di­dates) Cam­paign Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Og­bonna Nwuke, said the party was al­ready in court chal­leng­ing the judge­ment of Jus­tice Chin­wendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court.

It would be racalled that the cri­sis over who will fly APC’s tick­ets started dur­ing its ward con­gresses in May, 2018, where Abe claimed that many of his sup­port­ers were dis­en­fran­chised. The un­re­solved cri­sis led to the two promi­nent politi­cians set­ting up par­al­lel party sec­re­tar­iats which held par­al­lel con­gresses. While the fac­tion led by Ojukaye Amachree pro­duced Tonye Cole as the party’s gov­er­nor­ship flag-bearer, an­other fac­tion led by Prince Peter Odike elected Abe as the party’s gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date.

Tonye Cole From Vic­tor Edozie, Port Har­court

On­wusameka Og­bowuokara, ADP run­ning mate

Ro­timi Amaechi

Vic­tor Fin­gesi, ADP gu­ber can­di­date

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