Leave Wike Alone!


Last Sunday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised the alarm that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, were hatching fresh plots to push Rivers State into a constitutional crisis, by pressuring the Supreme Court to reverse itself, tomorrow, on its final judgement of February 12, 2019, upholding the verdict of the High Court that lawfully excluded APC from fielding any candidates for the February 23 and March 9, 2019 governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections, having nullified the party’s flawed primaries in the state.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Olgbondiyan, said the party leadership has information on “how these desperate APC figures and their agents have been mounting pressure on the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, to reverse the February 12 final judgement of the apex court”, saying that “in nullifying the APC primaries and barring it from fielding any candidates in Rivers State for the 2019 general election, the trial court held that the APC’s primaries in the state were invalid and cannot be considered.
“Acting upon the final judgement of the apex court, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on February 23, held the Presidential/National Assembly elections, and on March 9, conducted the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in which the APC, having been lawfully excluded, did not participate”, the PDP noted. The party said it has been informed that only recently, a leader of APC in Rivers State, has been going around boasting that the apex court will reverse itself and declare a fresh conduct of all the elections in Rivers State, saying that if this occurs, “it will also amount to the highest travesty of justice, apart from being a direct abuse of court process”, and could “cause anarchy and perpetrate more violence in Rivers State.”
But in a tacit denial, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told newsmen in Abuja, that contrary to notions held in certain quarters, the party had nothing to do with the elections in Rivers State, explaining, “No, we don’t have anything to do with the Rivers State elections. 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 know what the Supreme Court said that we were not qualified to contest.”
Issa-Onilu added, “If INEC says that was correct, fine. It is up to the parties involved to take action (by challenging the electoral process and its outcome), if they find it necessary. But for us as a party, we didn’t have the opportunity to contest in Rivers State.”
The Tide finds the allegation by the PDP of serious concern, and this should be disturbing to all well-meaning Rivers people and lovers of democracy across the country and the world over. We feel so because, if the alleged plots are true, it obviously amounts to attempts to truncate democracy in the country and brazenly undermine the will of Rivers people, who overwhelmingly voted for the PDP in the just-concluded elections in the state. This, indeed, is completely reprehensible and unthinkable in our democratic process.
We say so because the Supreme Court is the highest temple of justice in our country and, as such, must protect itself from all forms of manipulation by any interested political party in order not to lose the confidence majority of Nigerians already have in it as the last hope of the common man. We insist that no institution of state should allow itself to be used as an instrument in the hands of oppressive forces to torpedo democracy and subjugate the wishes of the people.
We make bold to remind the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and other purveyors of anarchy and disharmony that Rivers people have had enough of anguish and torture by desperate politicians and their thugs, who have in recent time unleashed mayhem, savagery, unmitigated violence, harassment, intimidation, killings and random bloodletting on the altar of selfish political salvation and Eldorado. Calling for fresh elections in Rivers State would definitely amount to another round of political crisis, which neither the electorate nor the politicians themselves would want to undertake to advance any personal interest.
While we reluctantly believe the veiled defence and argument of the APC national publicity secretary, that the party has nothing to do with the allegation since it didn’t participate in the election, we urge the party to call Rotimi Amaechi to order. We equally urge the Supreme Court not to yield to any perceived pressure to reverse the political direction of the state and halt the people’s desire to move on after the elections. Just as it boldly did to Senator Magnus Abe’s application, last Monday, by finally ending his ambition to be placed on the ballot as the governorship candidate of the APC, alongside his followers, we also task the apex court to strike out Architect Tonye Cole’s case as the gamut of arguments in the application have been overtaken by events, following the conclusion of all processes in the 2019 general election.
Similarly, we also advise all political gladiators across the isles to sheathe their sword, and support the PDP administration to move the state to a higher level of accelerated, sustainable development. With the elections over, the time has come for the people to unite and forge a common front, despite political leanings, to consolidate the gains already made by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government in the last four years, and further accelerate the transformation of the infrastructure and human capital base of the state for the prosperity of the present and future generations.
This is why we urge vexed minds to eschew bitterness, defuse tension and leave Wike alone while rallying round the present administration to deliver democracy dividends for Rivers people, whose interest overrides personal political ambition and interest for the sake of posterity. This is the only pathway to peace, mutual concord, guaranteed security of the people, economic revival that brings about job creation and development. This is our take!