STAKEHOLDERS of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers State on Thursday told the party’s National Appeal Committee which visited the state to ascertain the authenticity of the local government congress in the 23 local governments on Saturday, July 29, or be prepared to lose Rivers State to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019.
Stating their positions on the congress which generated controversy, many stalwarts of the party and group representatives took turns to brief the committee in a meeting held at the party secretariat, Port Harcourt.
The Deputy Chairman of the APC in the state, Chief Peter Dike, and the Legal Adviser of the party, Chieme Chinweikpe, said that there was no congress as the faction supporting the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, completely shut out those loyal to Senator Magnus Abe.
Chief Dike declared that no election took place in any of the 23 local government areas of the state, pointing out that his position in the party put him in an advantaged position to state what actually transpired on the fateful day and declare it illegal.
He said: “The purported congress never held in any of the 23 local government areas. There was no time the state working committee of the party held a formal meeting to discuss the holding of local government congress in the state. The flagrant imposition of delegates has severely divided the party. We in the APC left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in protest against impunity and lack of internal democracy. There was nothing to show that election took place in any local government in Rivers State.”
In his presentation, Barrister Chinweikpe stated that there was “no time that the state working committee met to deliberate on the purported congress.
He insisted: “As the Legal Adviser of the party in Rivers State, I can affirm that no local government congress took place in Rivers State. So, the names of those being released to the media are fake, designed to give credence to an election that never took place. From a legal point of view, all due processes for conducting a credible congress were thrown to the winds.”
Former Commissioner for Labour in the last administration, Dr. Ipalibo Harry, in his own contribution said that the local government congress did not hold because the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaech, wanted to hijack the party.
He declared: “The cause of the crisis in the party is because the Minister of Transportation does not want Senator Magnus Abe to be governor of Rivers State. Let me say it now that representatives of the National leadership are here; any attempt to deprive Senator Abe from contesting for the party’s ticket for the 2019 governorship election will decimate the party in Rivers State.”
Also speaking, the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice during the Amaechi-led administration in the state, Worgu Boms, said “something must be wrong with the party leadership if in my capacity I don’t know anything about local government congress in the state.
“Some people came from Abuja and checked into a hotel for two days. I was informed by a reliable source that all the voting materials were locked up at Amaechi’s residence in Abuja. If the electoral materials were locked up at Amaechi’s residence at Abuja, then, what materials did they use to conduct the purported election?” He queried.
Dr. Barinedin Mpigi, a member of the House of Representatives, told the Appeal Committee delegated by the National leadership of the party in Abuja, that no federal legislator was informed of the purported local government congress.
“The problem is because Senator Abe wants to be governor of Rivers State under the umbrella of the APC; Amaechi says Abe cannot be governor in APC. Why then, is Amaechi unprepared to place the contest on who is most preferable by the people to a free, fair and credible electoral contest? He asked.
Two lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Oke-he, representing Khana State Constituency, and Matthew Dike, representing Tai State Constituency, revealed that the leader of the party in the state, Rt. Hon. Amaechi, had not met with them since their election.
“APC members in the House board cabs to sittings in the Rivers State House of Assembly. We are not members of any committee. Our leader, Amaechi, is not bothered. We call on the national leadership of the party to quickly intervene to save the party from disintegration.”
The three-man appeal committee is made of Kola Umonitukpan, Ibrahim Mohammed, and Rtd Col. Abdul Aziz Musa Yar’Adua.