*Appeals to Buhari to call party leaders to order
Supporters of Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, have vowed to challenge the authenticity and legality of last Saturday’s controversial ward congresses of the Rivers State All Progressives Congress, APC.
This is just as they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to step in and redress what they described as the injustice meted out to them in the ward Congresses they claimed never held.
In a joint press conference held at the Freedom House, Senator Abe’s campaign office, the stakeholders also appealed to the president to call to order the leadership of APC in Rivers State, including the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Ritimi Amaechi, claiming that ward congresses did not take place in any of the 319 wards in the 23 local government areas of the state.
one of the speakers at the conference, Hon. Marcus Nlei Eji in conjunction with members of the group made up of former commissioners, former lawmakers of the National and State Assemblies and some members of the party’s State Executive Committee, SEC, among others urged President Buhari to cause the national secretariat of the party to conduct a free, fair, peaceful, and credible ward congress in the state.
Hon. Eji claimed that the trend witnessed last Saturday was alien to the APC as a family, describing last Saturday’s ward Congresses as exercise in futility.
He alleged: “This trend is new. Even during the military regime, soldiers were never used for elections. But here police, SARS, soldiers were used to harass our supporters for mere congress.”
Also speaking was Elder Chidi Nwiyoka, representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said that about 16, 000 party members had paid in the bank but were not given the nomination forms to enable them contest for the respective positions available in the ward congress.
He explained: “There is a standard procedure for every election. There were no nomination forms. There were no result sheets. The ward congress did not take place. Therefore, no one can arrive at a result for an election that did not hold.
“About 16, 000 APC members paid for forms but, strangely, none of them was given a form to fill. The electoral guidelines stipulate that contestants should collect their nomination forms and proceed to their wards to get the signatures of their guarantors and return to the party secretariat to submit the forms within 24 hours,” he said.
Elder Wiyoka asked: “Since no contestant collected any form, what nomination forms did Amaechi and his cohorts use in participating at the ward congress? None of the contestants saw the members of the electoral committee sent from the national secretariat at Abuja to conduct the elections.
“They became so desperate they began making public announcements on radio, at about 12noon to 2pm, on Saturday, May 5, asking contestants who had paid for nomination forms to go to their wards with evidence of payment to pick up their nomination forms.
“We heard on radio stations this morning, that the Chairman of the Rivers State ward congress, Josiah Dogo, is saying that he conducted ward congress in Rivers State. If he did, then, where are the result sheets? he queried.
The stakeholders who took turns to speak alleged that their supporters who went to collect nomination forms where intimidated, harassed, brutalised, and arrested by security agents and appealed to the President to wade into the matter.