The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged yesterday that some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were plotting to push Rivers State into a constitutional crisis.
According to the opposition party, the plot was to force an annulment of the March 9, 2019 governorship, National Assembly and state Assembly elections.
Briefing journalists at its national secretariat in Abuja, the PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “We have called you up this afternoon to alert Nigerians to a fresh plot by desperate leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to cause a constitutional crisis in Rivers State.”
The PDP said it had been informed of “how these desperate APC figures and their agents have been mounting pressure on the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed, to reverse the February 12, 2019 final judgment of the Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict of the trial court that lawfully excluded the APC from participating in the National Assembly, governorship and state Assembly Elections in Rivers State, having nullified the party’s flawed primaries in the state.”
It recalled that “in nullifying the APC primaries and barring it from fielding any candidates in Rivers State for the 2019 general elections, the High Court held, and rightly too, that APCs’ primaries in the state were invalid and cannot be considered.
“Acting upon the final judgment of the Supreme Court, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on February 23, 2019, held the presidential/National Assembly elections and on March 9, 2019 conducted the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, in which the APC, having been lawfully excluded, did not participate.”
The opposition party disclosed that it had information of how a particular APC leader had been going around in Rivers State, giving assurances that he had the ears of the Supreme Court under the leadership of Justice Mohammed, and that the court would reverse its final judgment on the APC primaries, paving the way for fresh elections, in which the party would be allowed to participate.
“The APC leader goes about boasting that the apex court in the land, the Supreme Court, will reverse itself and declare a fresh conduct of all the elections in Rivers State. This is completely reprehensible and unthinkable in our democratic process.
“If this is allowed to occur, it will also amount to the highest travesty of justice, apart from being a direct abuse of court process. The Supreme Court is the highest temple of justice in our country and as such must protect itself from all forms of manipulative tendencies of the APC.”
The PDP noted: “The jubilation across the country that trailed its February 12 final judgment is a testament of justice and a reinforcement of the confidence Nigerians have in the Supreme Court, which must not be destroyed by the APC.”
It PDP urged the Acting CJN not to allow his office to be used by desperate power mongers in the APC to cause anarchy and perpetrate more violence in Rivers State.
According to the party, “the people of Rivers State have experienced so much crisis, bloodletting, harassment and intimidations from the APC in its desperation to forcefully take over the state.
“The people have spoken loudly on their choice of PDP and all its candidates. They should be allowed to move ahead with their leaders, and no institution of government should lend itself as an instrument in the hands of oppressive forces seeking to undermine our democracy and subjugate our citizenry.”
But the APC has claimed it is not bothered by the outcome of the rescheduled poll won by Governor Nyesom Wike.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu told reporters that contrary to notions held in certain quarters, the party had nothing to do with the election.
He said: “Whatever happened in Rivers, whether a local government that gave 80 per cent total during the presidential election suddenly produced 320,000 for Wike during governorship election didn’t hurt us in any way.
“No, we don’t have anything to do with the Rivers State election. APC didn’t have candidates in Rivers State. And that is why all, from the beginning, we didn’t throw ourselves so much into it. You knew what the Supreme Court said that we were not qualified to contest.”
He added: “If INEC says that was correct, fine. It is up to the parties involved to take action, if they find it necessary. But for us as a party, we didn’t have the opportunity to contest in Rivers State.
“Whatever local arrangement they (APC chieftains) had there, we were not aware of it. We were not part of it. I’m sure you didn’t see anybody there campaigning for anybody outside of APC.”