The Abe faction had conducted primaries for the Local Councils elections and the chairmanship and councillorship candidates emerged, hoping to be elected at the polls before the Supreme Court disqualified their faction and authenticated the Isaac Ogbobula camp which is loyal to Amaechi.
The aggrieved APC members, while speaking yesterday in Port Harcourt, described the action of the minister as unfortunate, stressing that the unfavourable development came up after they had perfected all that were required by INEC for today’s election.
One of the supposed candidates for today’s election, Ilamabo Mirilla, who spoke on behalf of others, alleged that the minister does not mean well for the party.
He said the recent judgment of the Supreme Court, which authenticated the legality of Amaechi’s camp’s executive, did not announce their disqualification from the poll.
He said, the unfortunate impressions that had emerged since 2015, when they were told to withdraw from election till the present withdrawal from participating in the council poll, showed APC “is mortally afraid for competitive politics and electoral combat, which is the reason, in the first place, for establishing political parties. This, no doubt, will hurt the party electorally in the upcoming elections if serious steps are not taken”.
Mirilla said: “As law abiding citizens and faithful of the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State, we followed due process, obtained and filled out and submitted the Nomination Forms and paid all the prescribed dues and levies and we’re cleared to contest and participate in the Local Government Elections scheduled for tomorrow (referring Saturday), April 17. All documents of our dealing with RSIEC to that effect are available in proof of that fact.
“In the letter, the Minister and the party said that the party would not be fielding candidates for the said local government elections. The letter States that they were saying so pursuant to the February Supreme Court judgement, which declared that they were the authentic Exco of the party. Based on that, the RSIEC decided that no vote cast for the APC should count.
“For a party that has not won any major election since its founding in the state, and, in fact, did not participate in the 2019 general elections, the writing to RSIEC to stop us is pointer to a deeper political malaise in our beloved party, which malaise, if not excised, will spell doom for the party soon”.