When a Rivers State High Court ruled against the Chibuke Amaechi tendency, it inevitably raised questions about political interference in the ongoing quest for supremacy in the battle for supremacy in the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC
A new chapter opened last Wednesday in the unfolding saga for control of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, between 2019 governorship aspirant under the party, Senator Magnus Abe and South South APC Leader and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.
This followed the judgement by a Rivers High Court in Port Harcourt, that nullified the last Ward, Local Government and State Congresses of Rivers APC, held on 19th, 20th and 21st of May.
Some aggrieved aspirants in the Abe camp, had pre-emptively obtained a High Court injunction restraining conduct of the 5th May Ward Congress of the Rivers APC, citing perceived hijack of the process to the alienation of some stakeholders, particularly those in the Abe camp.
The Amaechi camp, with the support of the Joseph Dogo led Ward Congress supervision committee from the national secretariat had in defiance of the injunction gone ahead to conduct and declare the results the 5th May Ward Congress. The John Odigie Oyegun led national leadership, however, had on a second thought cancelled that exercise.
The National leadership thus rescheduled the congresses from Ward to state for 19, 20 and 21. The aggrieved litigants speaking through former Rivers Attorney General under Amaechi, Worgu Boms, however, boycotted the rescheduled exercise, citing its conduct as contempt against the earlier court order which nullified the 5th May congress.
Again, in defiance of the court order, Joseph Dogo’s team again conducted Ward, LG and state congresses, between 19 and 21 May. The result of those congresses was what was declared null and void last Wednesday.
When court resumed on the matter on Wednesday, Barr. Henry Bello, counsel for the aggrieved APC members had told the court that he had duly served the motion on notice on the defendants, which Chieme Chiweikpe, who claimed to be defence counsel for APC corroborated.
But, Tuduru Edeh, who told the court that he had the mandate of the APC to represent them in court, insisted that Chiweikpe who had been standing for the political party was at his own stance, wondering why Chiweikpe who claims to be for APC would have affidavits in support of all the prayers of the aggrieved members of the party. Justice Chiwendu Nwogu, after listening to both parties, said there was no evidence to prove that appeal has been entered, adding that even the court registrar could not also confirm the development.
Nwogu in his ruling, mentioned that the cancellation of the result of the APC congress held in the state on 5th and that of 12th and rescheduling the same congresses for 19th, 20th was to override the order of the court and make the matter academic.
He ruled that it was wrong for the APC to go against the order of the court, noting that the defendants had earlier attempted to lock the gate of the court in order to stifle justice, adding that the attitude of the APC holding the same congresses barred by the court on a later date was contempt, stressing that it was targeted at arm-twisting the judiciary and making its order valueless.
“An order was made to maintain status quo and not to renew dates or the events. The attempt of cancelling the earlier congress and holding same on later date is to frustrate this suit and make the matter an academic exercise.
“It is a way to declare the Judiciary moribund. I hereby, annul the congresses of the APC held on the 19th, 20th and 21st. I declare it as null and void and also stop them from holding any other congress in the state pending the outcome of the suit,” Nwogu held.
He stated that the ruling was to restore the status-quo of the parties in the suit and adjourned till 26th June for hearing of the originating summons.