From Willie Etim and Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Senator Magnus Abe has described disregards to court order by some powerful individuals as major reason behind the crisis faced in the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Abe, who is the Senator representing Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, stated this while addressing a stakeholders meeting in Gokona Local Government Area of Rivers State, at the weekend.
He said contrary to speculations in some quarters that the primaries were the cause of the crisis in the party, the real issues were that Rivers APC has a peculiar issue different from the rest of the country.
Abe who is also a factional governorship candidate of APC in Rivers, reiterated his commitment to the party and his continue fight for justice, saying it was a promise he made to people of his senatorial district and his supporters across the state.
Abe said, “There are three Senatorial Districts in this state. You have Rivers East, you have Rivers West and you have Rivers South-East. Since the creation of Rivers State, Rivers East had produced Governors, both civilian and military. Rivers West had produced Governors, civilian governors and military governors. Rivers South East has never produced a governor and we agreed in the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the position of the governor of Rivers State should be zoned to Rivers South East Senatorial District; that was what we agreed. Rivers South East Senatorial District cannot be different from other senatorial districts, so we will fight for justice in that respect.
“The second thing I want to say is that we were all here in Rivers State when the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is our party started and the origin of the crisis was that people said, anybody who want to follow Senator Abe should leave the party and everybody, every leader who does not agree that Senator Abe will become his enemy must leave the party. And we said that is not in the constitution of the party; is not written in the APC constitution, is not written in the Nigeria constitution. We will not leave the party, because we built the APC, it wasn’t built by ghost.
“So we are here and we will not leave the party; it is our party. The party is a vehicle for the actualization of justice for bringing about the dreams of the people of Nigeria and that is why we joined it. So having joined the party, we must fight for the actualization of our dreams; we must fight for change in Nigeria and fight for change in Rivers State. That is why we joined APC; so we are here.
So, when the congresses were organized, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, we had a meeting, all of us had a meeting of all the leaders. It was the first time that we were sitting together across the divide; whether you are with Abe, you are with Amaechi, you are with anybody.
“We all sat together. And we agreed on how we will handle the congresses to keep the party together, where everybody will have an even chance to participate in the activities of the party. We had that meeting and we agreed. Chief Ikanya called the meeting, we even set up a technical committee to go and put that agreement into action. As soon as the Minister for Transportation landed in Port Harcourt, he carried all the things that we decided together and threw it into the trash-can. He took the congresses to INTELs and said that all those who do not agree with him are out.
“Members of the APC who had already paid their money to the party for the right to participate in the congresses were denied something as simple as form. What is form? They were not allowed and they ran to Court. So the problem in Rivers State is not the same with any other problem in Nigeria.
It is not a problem about primary. So when you people sit down and read in the paper; they say those who took the party to court over primary, they will expel them; it has nothing to do with the problem in Rivers State.
“The problem in Rivers State is about how the entire thing of the party was carried out from the beginning against the instruction of the Courts. When these people went to Court, the Court wanted to help the party and say okay these people are saying they paid for forms and they are not given. Hold on; let me look into their matter.
“These same people went on national television to announce that they will not obey the Court. They will go ahead to do what they had said they wanted to do. That is the problem in Rivers State.
“It has nothing to do with party primaries. Now, having said that, they went ahead to do it. They on their own, went back to say ok, we are sorry we knew what we did was wrong but now we are going to leave that one and do another one again without talking to the court and the court say: is something wrong with somebody here? I say come lets discuss this thing so that we help you.
“They started fighting the courts, abusing the judiciary and went ahead in the night to go and conduct another set of voided and voidable and illegal and unacceptable lot of congresses.
“They did things to spite the court, because it was also that it will be concluded before the Court starts sitting on Monday. By 5am on that Monday, they had finished. Court starts by 10am, they say no, you can’t say anything, we had finished. And Court said no bring that thing, cancel, voided, dismissed. That is the order of May 30, 2018. So those are the issues in Rivers State and on top of that, they still proceeded.
“We said listen, because of all the challenges that we have with this thing you are doing against the Court, let us conduct direct primaries in Rivers State; they said no; indirect. They went to the system, the thing that had been announced in National Executive Committee (NEC) that we will have direct, they came here, and they said they were doing indirect. And as the God of heaven does not sleep, the God of justice does not sleep, because they were running against the law of nature and against the law of God; the God of justice spoke again through the Courts and voided the whole thing that they had done.