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Rivers LG Polls: Abe’s faction holds primaries

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Senator Magnus Abe

• Guber Aspirant Decries Money, Godfather Politics
Contrary to the decision of a rival All Progressives Congress (APC) faction in Rivers State to boycott the forthcoming council poll in the state, the state chapter led by Senator Magnus Abe, has conducted primary election to select candidates for the exercise.

The Rivers State LG poll is scheduled to hold later this year in April. The straw polls were conducted at the respective Local Councils, where Councillorship and Local Government Council Chairmanship Candidates emerged in the 319 Wards and 23 Local Councils of the state.

This is just as a governorship aspirant in the November 6 election in Anambra State, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, has lamented the negative impact of money politics on Nigeria’s democracy.

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Okeke attributed the failure of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win the governorship seat in the state within the last 14 years to spectres of moneybags and godfatherism.

Speaking shortly after his familiarization tour of Anaocha Council, where he met with stakeholders on his aspiration, the guber hopeful lamented PDP’s abysmal performance in the 2017 governorship poll in the state.

He said the party was placed a distant third, following the ugly deployment of godfather tactics and antics of money bags that had characterized elections in the state.

While challenging PDP to  put its acts together and wrestle power from the governing All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) come November 6, Okeke stressed that that would prove that Anambra is PDP’s birthright as the pasrty’s chieftains are wont to claim..

His words: “Politics is not only about money. It’s about integrity and interest, it’s about focus and accomplishment, doing things that will affect lives positively. The need to bring change is a collective one, and the only way to make it happen is by remaining where you are.

“Jumping ships has and will never solve any problem. Instead, the problem persists as you move around. The best is to confront it head-on, because you’ve seen the problems.”

“You can only change the error from inside. PDP is a great party. There’s a desire in me to bring the best in the party. But, unfortunately, we’ve continued to do the same thing same way expecting a different result. It’s wrong.”

He explained that his decision to remain in PDP was informed by his passion for and confidence in the party, promising to always do things that would benefit the majority of the people.

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Meanwhile, the Organizing Secretary of APC in Rivers State, Mr. Charles Befii Nwile, expressed confidence in the capacity of Rivers State  Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) to conduct a free fair and credible Local Government Council election.

Nwile, who doubles as the State Election Committee Chairman, spoke at one of the primary election centres in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state. He said APC would emerge victorious at the LG poll coming up in three months’ time.

A member of the APC State Election Committee, Mr. Frank Chibuenyi, disclosed that their candidates were ready for the election, even as he assured that the party will give them total support.

Present to observe the primaries were security officials and representatives of RSIEC, while the various Local Councils adopted consensus model to produce candidates for the coming election.

It would be recalled that Senator Abe’s faction of APC had pledged full support for its candidates to win both the Chairmanship and Councillorship seats on the upcoming poll.

In a statement, the Organising Secretary, Nwile, recalled how the party was  denied the opportunity to be on the ballot during the 2019 General Elections in the state as a result of political extremism displayed by the leader of the party in the state.

Vowing that the party would not allow itself to be pocketed by one man again, Nwile declared: “Our members across the state are overjoyed by these bold initiatives to redeem the party, we therefore urge everyone to come boldly on board irrespective of their previous allegiance or disposition towards the Local Government election.

“Our arms are wide open to give everyone equal opportunities to contest in the forthcoming party primaries. As for the issue of the purportedly advertised APC membership re-registration and revalidation exercise, our stand is well known to you. There is an order of Court of competent jurisdiction, restraining APC from going ahead with the said exercise in Rivers State.

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“We are not party to their plan to disobey the Court order and as you all know, there is consequence for disobedience of an order of Court. You cannot do the same thing over and over again then expect a different result.”

The Guardian recalls that Rivers State APC factions headed by Senator Abe and the Minister of Transportation, His Excellency, Rotimi Amaechi, have been working at cross purposes following the crisis of confidence between both former political allies on the 2015 governorship ticket of the party.

While Abe, who clinched the Senate ticket accused Amaechi of imposing Dakuku Peterside on the party, Amaechi alleged that Abe was operating as a PDP mole in the party.

The conflict of interest culminated in the failure of APC to take part in the 2019 General Elections, even as the party could not win field any candidate in the election.

It is believed that the membership revalidation exercise, which is expected to take off effectively on February 2, 2021 across the country would resolve cases of factionalisation in state chapters and pave the way for the institutioanlisation of internal party democracy in APC through direct candidate selection process.

How far the exercise would go to heal the rift in Rivers State would be seen in the days to come, depending on the potency of the court order restraining APC from going ahead with the exercise in the state.

Would APC spurn the court order as infringing on the right of the party to conduct its affairs and go ahead with the registration? In the event of such derogation, would the Abe faction coalesce into PDP? Time will tell.

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