Court restrains Rivers APC congresses
The congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State ordered by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to commence on Tuesday, will be deferred in compliance with a court order.
APC stakeholders told The Guardian that the decision to shelve the congresses was to avoid the legal pitfalls that deprived the party’s candidates (from the camps of both Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and Senator Magnus Abe) from participating in the 2019 general elections.
A Rivers State High Court had issued an ex-parte order in response to Suit No: PHC/3098/19 brought by Ibrahim Umah and 22 others (claimants) for an order of interim injunction restraining the APC (defendant) whether by its officers, agents, committees, nominees or assigns from conducting ward, local government area and state congresses in Rivers State scheduled for September 17 2019, September 21, 2019, and September 28, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Hostilities, once again broke out in the party following the appointment of a five-man caretaker committee, led by Mr. Isaac Ogbobula and the announcement of fresh congresses in the state.
The Abe faction of the party rejected the composition of the caretaker committee, claiming that its members are Amaechi’s cronies. It also warned that the party is yet again treading the same route of exclusion, and displaying disdain for the rights and feelings of members, the same condition that plunged the chapter into a needless crisis in 2018.
The caretaker committee secretary, Baridor Badom, told The Guardian that though preparation for the congresses was still on as over 4,000 aspirants had already collected nomination forms as at Friday evening, it would be deferred pending the determination of the suit filed by the aggrieved members.
The Guardian gathered from sources that the National Secretariat of the party was served the court papers at about 5:30 pm on Friday, and the acknowledgment of the service was signed by a legal officer, Nancy Osubor.
The former publicity secretary of the party in the state, Chris Finebone, also told The Guardian that the congresses cannot hold because of the suit filed by Ibrahim and others.
“The hearing has been fixed for the same day the congress was supposed to start. I don’t think there is any harm in it. Our lawyers will be in court on that day.”
Finebone said it was disingenuous for the Abe faction to assume that the only way to resolve the crisis within the party was to demand that the state executive council positions should be shared among the factions.
According to him, the danger in this disposition is that the likes of Dakuku Peterside who enjoys some considerable followership within the party might be spurred to make similar demand.
“Abe cannot dictate to the party. Abe wants to be given some positions. If Dakuku wakes up today, he too will ask for positions. That is not peacemaking; that is not reconciliation. We should call Ibrahim and 22 others that they should show verifiable evidence that they paid for forms in 2018. If they do, they should be given forms free. The caretaker committee should also invite all others that paid for forms free forms for us to move forward,” he said.
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