- Abe’s camp calls for members’ participation
- Amaechi’s group seeks to stop election
By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
The forthcoming local government election in Rivers State has deepened the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Senator Magnus Abe’s camp and the Rotimi Amaechi’s group have sharply disagreed on the participation of the APC in the grassroots election.
The Isaac Ogbobula-led APC loyal to Amaechi earlier ruled out the party’s participation and rolled out a strategy to stop the election through a court process.
But the Golden Ben-Chioma loyal to Abe on Thursday asked members of the party willing to contest the poll to come forward and pick chairmanship and councillorship forms.
Chioma said forms for the 319 wards and the 23 local government areas in the state were ready in line with the guidelines announced by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission.
He called on all APC members acrosss the state to be actively involved in the poll by participating in all activities ahead of the election.
“APC Rivers State has not only come to stay but must move away from our inglorious past, when we did not plan adequately for elections due to the actions of one man.
“This time around we shall not only participate but must also strive to win seats in the wards and ,local government councils,” Chioma said.
He called on Ogbobula to stop deceiving and misleading party faithful in the state saying the group led by Amaechi had a penchant for creating false hope for unsuspecting members of the party to continually and perpetually keep their political future in abeyance.
“This evil must stop now because APC is a political party with a primary duty to contest elections and not a social club that ends up with meetings, airport receptions for the Minister, birthday parties,thanksgivings and burial ceremonies”, he said.
He described as a mirage the plan by the Amaechi’s camp to use the 2015 local government chairmanship litigants to stop the forthcoming poll.
Explaining further, he said: “May I remind them that the tenure of office for which they were elected into office had long elapsed and this current Local Government Council elections scheduled by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission RSIEC for April 2021, is the second in the series after their long defunct tenure.
“They must learn from the classical Ladoja case even though we know that it is their right to seek redress in Court believing that justice will come their way someday.
“It is rather curious but instructive to note that those known forces urging them on and engineering them today to push in futility for the scuttling of the forthcoming LGA election had all the opportunities in this world to save or at least help them but failed to do so.
“The question now is, why did the Hon Minister of Transportation not agree to at least meet with them before this time to hear their own side of the case and possibly offer advise or assistance no matter how little? Why are they being given prominence now and to what end?
“Is it because they are needed as willing tools to scuttle an election and later dumped as is always the case? They are all adults and should know when the game is over.
“They should stop playing into the hands of people who’s only interested is to use and dump them. Are they not tired of being used as pawns just for the sustenance of the godfather’s political visibility and relevance? For the avoidance of doubt, this effort of theirs will not yield any meaningful result and they should know by now”.
Chioma said the APC was committed to ensuring that youths and others, who had the chance to occupy elective political offices were encouraged to have a chance to win elections and occupy political positions.
“This commitment for giving young people the chance is what we cannot compromise because if those whose kernels were cracked by the benevolent spirits did not have such privileges, the likes of Amaechi would not have had a taste of power.
“The question now is, when shall blind followership be replaced by proper qualitative reasoning? When shall these young people wake up from this deep slumber of deceit and take their destiny in their own hands? APC members must not wait till tomorrow to do the needful because the time is now”.
Also, Abe in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Parry Benson, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, called on Rivers people to come out en masse and participate in the forthcoming local government council elections.
Abe made the call while speaking at a meeting of stakeholders of the APC in Port Harcourt.
The senator recalled that Wike advocated free and fair elections devoid of federal might and force saying that it behoved on him to justify his mantra by giving the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RESIEC), a free hand to conduct, free and credible polls.
He objected to some dissenting voices in APC that wanted members to boycott the election, insisting that political parties formed as a vehicle for members to aspire to electoral positions.
Abe said: “The fact that we have different political parties does not mean that we are suddenly, no longer Rivers people. It is not correct, and that is not how to grow the state.
“If we don’t come out to participate, how do we tell the world that the election was free or fair? How do we say what was wrong with an election we refused to take part? How do we make elections better in Rivers State if we don’t come out and participate?
“The requirement to contest in an election is that you should be a member of a political party and we are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and therefore eminently qualified to contest in the elections in Rivers State. It is our State.
“We are challenging the governor of Rivers State to organize the election in the way he said he wanted elections to be organized and let Rivers people go out and contest. Test their popularity for the people to decide on those they want to run the affairs at the grassroots. That’s the purpose of politics.
“Wike has always talked about how he wants free and fair election without federal might and force, this is the time to show working. We are challenging the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) to make the election free and fair, let Rivers people go out and contest.”