Trouble in Lulu-Briggs ‘third force’ Accord Party
• As Baridoo Lays Claim To Ticket
Prospects of the Accord Party governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, becoming the third force in the gubernatorial election is in jeopardy, as his nomination is being challenged in court.
Lulu-Briggs, who will next Tuesday roll out his populist schemes ahead of the March 2 governorship polls, is battling with voices of resentment and dissent within the party.
Sir Precious Baridoo, who was appointed acting chairman of state chapter of Accord Party by the party’s National Executive Council in 2014, had filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt presided by Justice Abba Obile. He alleged that Lulu-Briggs was not the party’s authentic governorship candidate, hence should be disqualified and replaced with him.
In the suit, Baridoo claimed he was duly nominated during the party’s governorship primaries on October 4, 2018 before his name was substituted with that of Lulu Briggs, who according to him, didn’t participate in the party’s governorship primaries.
He further told the court that, as at the time the primaries was conducted, Lulu Briggs was not a member of Accord Party, hence couldn’t have emerged the governorship candidate. He said the substitution of his name with that of Lulu-Briggs was done without due process.
The Guardian findings revealed that after its primaries, Accord Party had submitted the names of Mr. Nelson Baba Amieye with Briggs Boma as governorship and deputy governorship candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Nelson’s name was 37th on a list obtained from INEC.
It would be recalled that Lulu-Briggs was one of the four aspirants that purchased the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship intention and nomination form. He, however, boycotted the primaries, which he described as sham and perfidious travesty, because the Ojukaye Flag-Amachree-led executive purportedly handpicked delegates with the sole agenda of imposing Tonye Cole.
While Lulu-Briggs was battling for the cancellation of APC’s contentious primaries, Mr. Amieye, who is his close political associate, secured Accord Party’s governorship slot. And when it became apparent he could not prevail on APC’s national leadership to nullify the primaries, he jumped ship and joined Accord Party.
Lulu Briggs’ campaign organisation spokesperson, Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, said on October 4, 2018, that Accord Party’s National Working Committee, in accordance with the party constitution, duly produced by consensus, Nelson Amieye as its governorship candidate for 2019 elections.
He said: “That Mr. Nelson Amieye was legally and legitimately substituted with Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, as Rivers State Accord Party Governorship Candidate, when he, Nelson Amieye, voluntarily relinquished his nomination through a sworn affidavit deposed by him in the window for substitution of candidates provided by INEC for political parties.”
He explained that the National Working Committee duly submitted Lulu-Briggs’ name as the substantive and legitimate Rivers State Governorship candidate of Accord Party for the 2019 general elections.
“We have it on good authority that Mr. Precious Baridoo did not buy the expression of intent and nomination forms for governorship election under Accord Party for the 2019 elections. We are also in possession of incontrovertible facts that the claims that Mr. Precious Baridoo duly resigned his position as Accord Party Chairman to contest the party’s October 4 Governorship primary is patently and administratively false.”
Ijuye-Dagogo said Baridoo’s action was driven by a mischievous and devious intent to carry out the dubious machinations of those afraid of Lulu Briggs and the party’s growing strength and pedigree ahead of the general elections…”
With the crisis plaguing APC, political observers have tipped Lulu Briggs, who has vowed to change the state’s political narrative, as likely to emerge the third force in this year’s governorship election.
Lulu-Briggs who has already rolled out some of his populist schemes, recently toured the state in a bid to woo voters, pledging a people-based governance for quality life in Rivers State.
He said: “The provision of fundamentals like roads, housing, potable water and electricity is to me a basic responsibility of government. I believe strongly that the people’s quality of life should matter to every government. So, in addition to fulfilling those basic tasks, my administration shall be concerned about the quantity and quality of our students, the quantity and quality of created jobs, the quantity of Rivers people who own quality businesses, the quantity of Rivers people that own quality homes, the quantity of rural areas opened up for sustainable development, the quantity and quality of healthcare delivery, the quantity of functional industrialised cities, the security of lives and property and drastic reduction in crime, as well as provision of world class infrastructure. I would like to be judged by the number of Rivers people that have moved from poverty to prosperity and into greater prosperity.”
The forthcoming elections are bound to be crucial and will prove to be a watershed moment in Rivers politics.
Some political analysts are of the view that, if Lulu-Briggs wriggles out of the legal landmine set for him, the Accord Party might become the rallying platform for aggrieved APC members bent on wresting power from Governor Wike.
Credible sources revealed that a powerful cartel in the presidency is backing Lulu-Briggs, who has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term.
At the flag off his campaign for a second term in Tai Local Government Area, Wike hinted that APC members are presently looking for a political party to support during the general elections.
“I heard that APC members in Rivers State are negotiating for a political party to support during 2019 general elections. But it is already too late,” he said.
Though Cole’s endorsement infuriated Lulu-Briggs and Senator Magnus Abe, the prospect that they could coalesce to defeat Wike appears not feasible at the moment. The Guardian, however, gathered from APC sources that both factions of the party have reached out to Lulu-Briggs to form an alliance with him.
The capacity of a party like Accord to inflict a major political damage on the prospects of mainstream formidable political force like the PDP, despite the defeat it incurred in the highly contentious 2016 rerun legislative election, is not a likelihood.
Victor Fingesi of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) said his party came to provide an alternative to Rivers people in view of the reckless behaviour of the so-called major political parties promoting violence, internal bickering and running the state as their private estate and lacking vision to transform the people’s lives.
Fingesi pledged that an ADP government would empower Rivers people, reduce poverty, place emphasis on education, initiate and reactivate agricultural programmes.
He promised to bring development to rural areas by encouraging agriculture through the establishment of cooperatives and helping with the sales of produce within and outside the country.
An ADP member, Dr. Acho Nwokogba called on Rivers APC members to decamp and join the party, following court order barring all APC candidates from the 2019 general elections.
“We hate to sound like we are beneficiaries of our opponents’ misfortunes. But we have always presented Action Democratic Party as a credible alternative to both APC and PDP,” he said.
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