Tony Etim in Port Harcourt paints a graphic picture of the election crisis that marred the party primaries for the proposed LG polls in the state.
When the Peoples Democratic Party leaders in the state raised the alarm that the proposed local government poll in the state was a crisis in the making, many called them names and accused them of crying wolf where there was none. The party itself has not only vindicated this view by organizing a flop but has raised the tension in the state.
The outcome of the party primaries organized during the weekend has caused wild protest all over the place. Hundreds of members of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Rivers State on Wednesday stormed the state party secretariat along Forces Avenue, Old GRA, Port Harcourt to protest the conduct of the party primaries for the May 23 Local Government Council elections in the state. Some of the protesters who have kept vigil at the party secretariat since Tuesday were every where chanting protest songs like “we no go gree” as well as abuse the leadership of the party and accused them of exchanging materials meant for the primaries for money.
Activities at the party secretariat was brought to a stand still as the protesters who came form Obio Akpor, Akuku Toru and Ahoada West overpowered the security men at the party secretariat and forced themselves into the premises. They also held the leadership of the party hostage for hours and a press briefing schedule to hold by 10 AM at the party secretariat ly the leadership of the sate APC could not start as at 1PM and some journalists were came for the event walked out because of the rising tension in the premises. Some of the placards displayed by protesters from Obio Akpor read: “Dr. Lawrence Chuku is Obio Akpor choice,” Conduct APC Primaries in Obio Akpor,” “Anthony Okocha is a Bad Leader,”
“There was no primaries election in Obio Akpor,” The Governor must hear this,” Anthony Okorocha Bought over Primaris Election materials with N50M” “We need a strong political leader for Obio Akpor,” “We need a mobiliser as Chairman in Obio Akpor.” Placards from Akuku Toru read: Where are the materials, State Chairman?” Bring Back AKULGA Materials, “ “It is not time for Oceania Chairmanship in Akuku Toru,” The APC State Chairman has sold the interest of Akuku Toru to Hon Stanley Bekibo.” Others placards from Akuku Toru were “
A rapist cannot be our chairman in Akuku Toru,” “ The state party chairman sold our materials to Stanley for N5, 000, 000,” No primaries in Akuku Toru,” “Change from snatching materials: Akuku Toru people cry put,” Don’t aid and abet snatching of materials.” A spokesman for the Obio Akpor protesters, Mr. Emeka Wogu Mbata, from ward 14 alleged that the Chief of Staff to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, Mr. Tony Okocha seized materials meant for the primaries and took it to his home and travelled to Abuja.
He disclosed that there was no primary in the area as the APC executive in the Local Government claimed that one Mr. Chimenem Nnata Weli was adopted as a consensus candidate for the chairmanship of Obio Akpor. Mbata disclosed that the delegates who turned up at the designated areas for the primaries they waited from 7 am till 2pm when they were informed that the primaries was taking place at the Rumuigbo Civic Centre. He continued that when they got to the civic centre there was no official or any election going on there, insisting that there was no primaries anywhere in the area.
Mbata, who demanded for the conduct of fresh primaries in the area, declared that they will take their protest to a logical conclusion. Reacting the Chairman of the PDP, Brother Felix Obuah stated that the government was being insincere and playing politics of bitterness after its party lost the governorship. He said: “On the purported Local Government Council elections, Amaechi and the APC know full well that they are trading on illegality and this fact cannot be controverted.
“The PDP is not perturbed in any way by such fallacy and insistence on going on with the illegal Local Government elections, an avenue for making up for already misappropriated state funds. Obuah went ahead to say that, the planned poll was part of the orchestration to forestall the smooth handover of power on May 29.
According to the PDP party chairman, the allegation that his party was planning to assassinate APC leaders in the state was part of the plan to throw the state into crisis with the intention of frustrating a smooth take off for the governor-elect “The allegation of purported planned assassination of APC members is absolutely false and just diversionary,” Obuah debunked. He condemned the plot by the state chapter of the APC not to handover power to the Governor-elect, Barrister Nyesom Wike.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser Media to the Rivers PDP state chairman, Brother Felix Obuah. According to the statement, the PDP “says it has noted with great concern the shameless admission by Mr. Davies Ikanya, All Progressives Congress, APC, Chairman in the State of plotting to stall the democratic process in the State by working towards ensuring that there is no handover to the incoming government in the State on May 29.”
The PDP described the statement credited to Mr. Ikanya as felony and actionable, and pointed that all the APC wants in the state is anarchy simply because it lost the governorship election. Obuah declared that “All other imputations of assassination plots against its members are only but a ruse to cover its evil plans.”
He stated that the PDP cannot be intimidated or cowed, by such unfounded and malicious allegations against it by Ikanya, and maintained that the people of Rivers State have spoken through their massive voting for the State governor- elect, Barr. Nyesom Wike and that is sacrosanct. Obuah stated “We only hope that the law enforcement agencies are taking note of Mr. Davies Ikanya’s conspiracy even though he has failed before they could start.
“As a law-abiding party, we’ll continue to align ourselves with the mandate of the people and remain committed to fashioning out ways of bettering their welfare as encapsulated in our campaign promises”. “No degree of provocation can put the wind off our sail.” Obuah stated. The PDP warned Ikanya to desist forthwith, from linking the party to assassination plots. In the meantime, the protesters have vowed to make the conduct of the planned LG poll unrealizable. Whether their plan would materialise is another thing.