Our members fought dirty in Rivers, Oshiomhole confesses
Inaugurates caretaker committee
National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Monday revealed why the party lost out in the last general elections in Rivers State.
Speaking while inaugurating a five-man caretaker committee led by Barrister Isaac Abott Ogbobula, Comrade Oshiomhole said internal dissension amongst top chieftains of the party was responsible for the setback it suffered in the south-south state in the last general factions.
Findings revealed that the party was polarised into factions backed by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had excluded the APC from fielding candidates for elective offices in Rivers State in deference to a Supreme Court judgement.
The apex court in an unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Sidi Barge upheld the order of a Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, nullifying the All Progressives Congress primaries in Rivers State.
The trial court had held that the primaries were held in disobedience to a court judgement delivered by Justice Chiwendu Nworgu, barring the party from conducting congresses, pending the determination of a suit filed by 22 aggrieved members of the party.
Further findings revealed that a judgement of the Court of Appeal had earlier struck out the APC Rivers State chapter appeal and upheld the judgment of Justice Chiwendu Nworgu of the Rivers State High Court, which earlier voided the APC Congresses in the state.
The APC chairman said the caretaker committee was put in place to enable the party to have an interim structure on the ground ahead of congresses to elect substantive officers for the party in Rivers State.
He said: “We don’t have a formal party structure despite our overwhelming support base. This our move is consequent on the Supreme Court judgement on Rivers.
“We can’t build the party from outside and the National Working Committee decided to put a caretaker committee in place that will liaise with those that will come and conduct congresses from ward to state.
“My role is to simply inaugurate a committee to give it legal backing. The APC is divided in Rivers State and your first task is to reconcile the divides.
“We shall also send a high-level team to forge reconciliation ahead of the congress. We are not going to be indifferent to the situation in Rivers since politics is about the people.”
He cautioned the caretaker committee to be fair to all and subordinate their personal bias and prejudice to the overall interest of the party.
“Our members have paid a huge price in Rivers and you all know the cost of fighting to finish. As things stand today in Rivers, we don’t even have a local government councillor. That can’t be the wish of the people of Rivers State and we know the actors but we don’t want to go into details.
“I hope the few setbacks we suffered is the lesson we need not to toe the path of crisis. You must put the party first. Yes, as human beings we have feelings but what matters is our capacity to put the interest of APC members in Rivers State into account, so that the people coming to do the congresses will have a reliable local base.
“You have the challenging task of managing the various shades of opinions in Rivers. We are the net losers in Rivers but we hope you can subordinate your interest to the larger interest of our party.
“Our doors are open, we are ready to listen to advise and we shall do all we need to do to make the Congresses successful.”
In his acceptance remarks, chairman of the Committee, Barrister Ogbobula assured the APC NWC that his team would discharge the assignment it has been saddled with, conscientiously. He also appealed to the factions in the state to be willing to come forward and make recommendations on how to rebuild the party in Rivers State.
“On behalf of the caretaker committee, I thank the NWC for giving us the opportunity to serve the party in the capacity as chairman and members of the caretaker.
“Our is a straight forward assignment to run the affairs of the party and help the National Executive Committee and National Working Committee, to conduct successful congresses by providing the logistics.
“We are committed to the cause and promise to discharge our assignment conscientiously. We appeal for cooperation of our members, our doors are open. Our members willing to assist us should feel free to reach us at our party secretariat in Port Harcourt.”
Other members of the Committee are its secretary, Mr. Baridon Badom, Mr. Friday Kinika Owhor, Mrs. Beatrice Amobi and Prince Abolo Stephen.