L-R Hon Chidi Wihioka; Hon Marcus Nneji, Former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and Hon Worgu Boms, Former Attorney-General/ Commissioner for Justice, Rivers State during a Media Briefing by some APC Chieftains to Explain why They are Boycotting the Re-scheduled Ward/Local Government/State Congresses Yesterday in Port Harcourt. Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke
By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT- Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State in support of Sen. Magnus Abe’s Governorship ambition have vowed to boycott the rescheduled ward, Local Government and State Congresses of the party in the state.
The team which spoke Saturday in Port Harcourt at the wake of the ward congresses noted that the rescheduled congresses of the party would not hold based on the persisting order of the court.
This was happening as the national leadership of the APC had issued a letter ordering the annulment of the ward and local government congresses of the party which held on the 5th and 12th May, respectively, and directed a fresh ward, LG and state congresses successively for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
It will also be recalled that the aggrieved faction of the APC who were allegedly denied participation in the last congresses had obtained a court injunction stopping the process in the state.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, the former Attorney General of the State, Hon. Wogu Boms, noted that conducting congresses of the APC in the state was subjudice of court, adding that they would not participate in illegality.
Boms stated that the party has no right to conduct congresses in the state when the order of the court has not been vacated, calling on supporters of the party not to take part in the process.
He said: “The congresses of APC cannot hold in Rivers, hence the court order persists. We are calling all party faithful to shun the jamboree of illegality.
“We are not party of the congresses because it is illegal. The matter is in court and coming to conduct the same process amount to subjudice of court. We will only participate when the matter is hard and vacated on the 26th of June.”
Boms noted that the decision captured in the letter signed by the Chairman of the party, John Oyegun and two other officials of the national leadership of the party would not stand, pointing out that the letter was not dated.
He further said the national body of the party has not amended the guidelines for the process, stressing that it would be inappropriate to hold party congresses on three successive days.
“Yesterday at about 6 p.m. we received an undated letter purported to be written by our national chairman on the congresses which are subject of litigation. From the content of the letter, we take the following as our stand.
“One, the guidelines for the congresses have not been amended in any way. The guideline provides for the forms to be filled and submitted within 24 hours prior to the congresses. The congress they are talking about now is holding less 24 hours. Secondly, hours are provided for appeals in cases of complains arising from the process.
“There is no time for a meeting with persons charged with the responsibility to conduct the congresses. It is impracticable to fix congresses in quick succession of days. Even if all these were well handled, there is a crucial and major roadblock to what they are doing. It is suit No PHC/78/2018, subsisting in the High Court of Rivers State.
“The party is already aware of the tendency of the above suit in the Port Harcourt Division of Rivers State High Court. In that suit, a judicial order was given not ex-parte, but inter parte, in which it halted the further holding of congresses in the state pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
“We should know that every court guides its integrity jealously and will do everything within the law to promote and protect these values. It is strongly accordingly stated here that the congresses of the APC, however, described can never validly hold in Rivers State so long as the judicial order subsist,” he stressed.
Earlier, Hon. Marcus Nneji, Former Commissioner of Culture Tourism in the state had worried that the aggrieved members of the party have not in any way been summoned to any meeting in the face of the congresses.
He said: “We are members of APC in Rivers State. We have been following what is happening in the APC and there are certain things we are worried about. Some of these things are things we should have sat down and resolved.”
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Ikwerre Emohua Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Elder Chidi Wihioka, alleged that the letter rescheduling the congresses in the state did not emanate from the Chairman of the party.
Wihioka pointed that Oyegun cannot write a letter without date, adding that the name of the national chair as appeared on the document is altered with a red pen.