…Resolve your crisis, stop blackmailing Wike – PDP
By Davies Iheamnachor
The sacked 22 local government chairmen and their councillors elected under former Governor Chibuike Amaechi in Rivers State have threatened to stop the scheduled local government elections in the state.
The chairmen, who were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who were sacked under the administration of the incumbent Governor Nyesom Wike, stated it would be contempt of court if the state goes ahead to hold the LG polls as scheduled on the 17th of April, 2021.
Speaking for the elected APC chairmen and councillors, Hon. Sogbeye Eli, said the 22 of the 23 local government chairmen and councillors, who were elected on May 25, 2015, under the administration of former Governor Amaechi, but were sacked by a judgement of the Federal High Court on July 9, 2015, have vowed to return to the Court of Appeal on February 1, 2021, where the appeal over their sack is pending.
Eli stated that it would be contemptuous for the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission, RSIEC, to go ahead with the planned council poll while the appeal is still on.
He alleged that Governor Wike and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, were behind the delay in the determination of the appeal, which has lingered at the Court of Appeal since 2015, despite series of letters to the President of the Court of Appeal and the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Eli said: “We respectfully invite you to note that the claim by the Rivers PDP that our election was nullified because RSIEC conducted same on May 23, 2015, in contravention of an Order of the Federal High Court is another strand in a huge tissue of lies.
“Same is deliberate falsehood mischievously engineered to cast shadows on the legality of our election. We insist that no order was made by Justice Akanbi to stop the Local Government elections of May 23, 2015, when he adjourned the hearing of the matter sine die on April 29, 2015, upon learned Counsel to RSIEC, B. E. I. Nwafor (SAN), informing the court that an appeal had been lodged at the Court of Appeal to stop it from hearing the matter.
“However, when it became convenient for the PDP to exercise her well-documented impunity, she ignored the Judiciary and directed RSIEC to conduct the 2018 Council polls which action tampered gravely with the Res after successfully freezing the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal in over two years with a rash of frivolous Motions.
“Believing that the mission to seal our fate was accomplished, both Appellants/Applicants withdrew their Motions on December 18, 2018, and January 23, 2019, respectively and same were struck out.
“It should be noted that in dismissing the interlocutory appeals, the Supreme Court awarded a cost of One Million Naira (N1,000, 000) in favour of each set of Respondents which the Appellants have failed to pay to this day.
“The three sets of Respondents namely, the 1st to 23rd, 25th and 26th Respondents, are still waiting for the PDP to obey that simple Order.”
He disclosed that the APC would boycott the local government election, noting that participating in the polls would amount to endorsing illegality as well as compromising its appeal pending before the Appeal.
Eli added: “We hereby call on the National Caretaker Committee of the APC to issue official letter immediately directing official boycott due to the pending matter at the Court of Appeal.”
However, Meanwhile, the State PDP spokesman, Sydney Gbara, in quick reaction advised APC to make useful attempt to resolve its internal crisis and stop blackmailing Governor Wike.
Gbara said: “The Isaac Ogbobula (Caretaker Chairman) APC s bringing the name of His Excellency, the Governor unnecessarily on one accusation or the other. The internal crisis of APC dates back years ago and it baffles me that members of that party nearly all the time keep bringing the governor’s name into the internal crisis of the APC.
“His Excellency is not a member of the APC and has nothing to do win or lose in whatever that comes out of the internal crisis of the APC. If they have aggrieved members, they should call themselves together and see how they can sort themselves out.”