The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State has blamed the Minister of State for Education, Nyesome Wike, for the delay in conducting local government elections in the State.
The party in a statement on Tuesday by the State Chairman, Davies Ikanya, accused Mr. Wike of engineering a lingering political crisis in the State which had made it impossible for the Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration to conduct council polls even though it has always been willing and eager to do so.
“This clarification has become necessary because of the propaganda by the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party that the reason why Gov. Amaechi does not want to conduct local government elections is because he (Amaechi) is afraid of defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth”, the party said.
“The non-conduct of the council elections in the State is not out of the fear of anybody or out of the fear of losing to PDP but for the sake of peace.
“In fact, if anybody should be held responsible for the non-conduct of the elections, that person should be Chief Nyesome Wike, the junior Minister of Education, and his cohorts in the PDP.
“Wike is the one who tried to manipulate the National Judicial Council (NJC), using OCJ Okocha, in order to plant his own choice of Chief Judge in the person of Daisy Okocha instead of allowing the Governor to exercise his constitutional powers to appoint a Chief Judge for the State in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic. That was the genesis of the crisis in the judiciary in Rivers State. This has incapacitated judicial activities in the State”.
The Rivers APC stated that elections could not be conducted without the judiciary because without a Chief Judge of the state who is expected to constitute an election tribunal to handle petitions that may arise after the elections, such polls would be an exercise in futility.
It said being a man who had great respect for the laws of the land, Amaechi could not engage in an exercise that would be stalled halfway just because he wanted to satisfy what the party described as “a non-existing party” like PDP in Rivers State.
“So if the PDP is actually serious about meeting its waterloo in a council election in Rivers State, it should prevail on Wike to stop the judicial crisis in the State by asking the NJC to allow the Governor to exercise his constitutional powers to appoint the most qualified Judge as the Chief Judge of the State”, Ikanya stated.
The APC dismissed the State PDP as a factionalised and castrated party, saying “A disoriented and disunited party like PDP cannot even win a councillorship election in any part of Rivers State, not to talk of posing any threat to APC that is fully rooted in all the wards of the State. Rivers people know what PDP and APC represent and have decided to accept APC as their party no matter the temptation by PDP.
“We, therefore, wish to assure the good people of Rivers State that council elections will be conducted once the NJC clears the coast and allows the Governor to appoint a Chief Judge for the State”.