With controversy still trailing the Ward, Local Government and State Congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State which was suspended on Thursday following a court order that restrained the party from holding the exercise in the State, the Senator Magnus Abe faction of the party has called for the resignation of the Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, alleging that he was responsible for the problems of the party in the State.
The factional APC leadership said it was wrong for the National Working Committee of the party to fix dates for congresses in the first place, without resolving the crisis in the party in the State.
A leader of the APC and former Attorney General of the state, Worgu Boms, said, “The party is again treading the route of exclusion and disdain for the rights and feelings of members. This plunged Rivers APC into a needless crisis, resulting in the party being denied participation in the general elections.
“As critical stakeholders, bearing in mind the circumstance of the party in the state, we were not consulted by the NWC in appointing a caretaker committee in Rivers nor does the committee reflect the diversity of the party in the state.
“The so-called caretakers are simply cronies of the Minister of Transportation (Rotimi Amaechi). Their objective and purpose is clear; they were parties and participants in the actions that brought the party on its knees in Rivers.
“We urge all members of the APC in Rivers to remain steadfast in pursuit of justice. Based on extant judicial procurement and the Governor Solomon Lalong's Committee report adopted by the NWC, where congresses could not hold, existing executives manage the affairs of the party. Chief Odike, by the rules, should have been consulted as Chairman, Rivers APC.”
A former lawmaker, Senator Wilson Ake, who moved the motion for Amaechi's resignation, said there is a divide between what is honest and what is dishonest in Rivers APC.
“In as much as we have never denied Amaechi as the leader of the APC in Rivers, APC Rivers expects certain standards from the leader”, he said.
Ake went on: “Amaechi has failed as a leader. He has not met the standards. He is the one stoking the fire when he should not allow the house to burn down. Members are blaming the NWC for Rivers APC's crisis, but it is the rat at home that brings the ones outside to torment the house.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the Rotimi Amaechi faction of APC in the State, Mr. Chirs Finebone, said the congresses were put on hold as a result of the court order that restrained the party from holding the exercise.
Recall that a Rivers State High Court had on Thursday last week ordered the party to refrain from conducting its ward, local and state congresses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit marked PHC/3098/19 filed by Ibrahim Umah and 22 others.
The interim injunction also ordered the state chapter of the APC (defendant in the suit) and the claimants (Ibrahim Umah and 22 others) to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the matter before the court.
But speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt on Monday, Finebone explained that the congresses would not hold because the APC would not defy the court order.
“The congresses will not hold. For whatever it is worth, you cannot defy that; you cannot defy the court order. Obviously, we are not holding the ward congress because of the court injunction. Also, you cannot hold the next congress (local government congress) without the first one.
“For the fact that you are compelled not to hold the first one, you cannot contemplate holding the second one because the second congress is dependent on the outcome of the first.
“The court has issued an exparte injunction, which many of us have not even seen the prayers because we have not sighted the processes. But whatever it is will be addressed by our lawyers. Our lawyers will be in court and they will address the issue.
“The ward congress slated for Tuesday (yesterday) cannot hold because that is the day the court adjourned to sit on the matter. Even if the court vacates the order that day, definitely, it (ward congress) cannot hold that day,” Finebone stressed.
He, however, explained that members of the party in the state were aware of the latest development, adding that the state APC was organized and would always take the right decision.
Recall that the Senator Magnus Abe faction of the APC in the state had vowed to boycott the congresses, alleging that the crisis rocking the part in Rivers was not resolved before dates for the exercise were fixed.
The faction also alleged that its members were not consulted before the setting up of a caretaker committee that would oversee the congresses.