Senator representing Rivers South East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, has raised alarm over alleged manipulation of the delegates’ list of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State by some party leaders, saying the state congress that should have produced the delegates last Saturday, did not hold.
Abe, who spoke at the state secretariat of the party on Forces Avenue, old GRA, Port Harcourt, said the committee delegated by the national secretariat of the party to monitor the exercise in the state ended up at a hotel in the state.
“Well, as you can see, there has been no congress in the state. The so-called stakeholders meeting in the state, last Friday, ended in a fiasco.
“The committee from Abuja has not come to the party’s secretariat on Forces Avenue since morning, yet people have been here waiting.
“Nobody should stay in a hotel and concoct any delegate’s list for Rivers people. It is clear there was no congress in the state,” Abe argued.
Also speaking in an interview at the Novotel Hotel premises in Port Harcourt, member representing Eleme/Tai/Oyibo Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Hon. Barinada Mpigi, who is among the leaders of the aggrieved members, alleged that the delegates’ list has been manipulated.
Mpigi said that until the national committee addresses the supporters on the development, they would not leave the hotel.
The Tide investigations show that hundreds of aggrieved supporters of Abe had blocked members of the party’s national convention committee from exiting Novotel Hotel, after rumours had filtered to them that the committee and some loyalists of the party leader in the state, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, had concocted some names to bolster their chances at the congress.
The supporters, who stormed the hotel and barricaded its gates to prevent the committee members and other state party leaders from leaving, noted that the committee has refused to distribute the materials meant for the congress election to the 23 LGAs.
They also alleged that the committee had written the results to favour a faction of the party led by Chibuike Amaechi, insisting that officials of the APC had manipulated the list of delegates under the guidance of Amaechi’s associates led by Asita Asita.
It was gathered that the crisis in the Rivers State APC had degenerated to a record low following the mobilisation of armed militants by suspected Amaechi’s loyalists to unleash mayhem on supporters of Abe in Eleme, Ikwerre, Ahoada West, Emohua, Asari-Toru and Degema.
The armed militants, alleged to have been backed by personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), shot sporadically at different congress venues, carting away materials to the homes of Amaechi’s supporters.
Attempts to reach the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, for his comments were unsuccessful as his line was switched off.
The Tide learnt that the current effort was in line with the former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi’s grand design to cripple the political influence of Senator Magnus Abe.
Amaechi, who had already removed some perceived loyalists of Abe from the leadership caucus of the party in Rivers State, had scheduled the LG congress of the party in the state for last Saturday.
Inside sources revealed that the move was aimed at removing all perceived unit, ward and LG chairmen who are suspected to be sympathetic to the 2019 governorship ambition of Abe.
Speaking after last Friday’s stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, the APC State Chairman, Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, had said that “the party leadership has re-affirmed that the state-wide LGA congresses would hold Saturday, as earlier scheduled”.
Ikanya added that the locations and venues where the congresses will hold in all 23 LGAs of the state have been duly communicated to APC LGA party officers, and assured that necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure hitch-free congresses across the state.
But The Tide investigations discovered that despite promises of a level-playing field for all contestants for the various positions, most persons selected to lead the local government congress were loyalists of the minister, who were given specific mandate on the results expected from the congresses.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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