Leaders of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State on Wednesday requested a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to address the party’s state of affairs and its political fortunes in Rivers state.
The Rivers APC leaders, who were led by the governorship candidate in the 2015 general elections, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, made the request during a meeting with the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
At the meeting, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun expressed shock over the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Rivers State governorship election and assured that the national leadership would give necessary support to ensure successes in the forthcoming re-run elections in the state.
“The APC national leadership has not neglected party leaders and supporters in Rivers State. The state has always been in the front burner of discussion and decision in the party. There is obviously something fundamentally wrong in Rivers State which needs to be investigated and addressed.
“Your visit have had a sober effect on me. This meeting will kickstart urgent actions to address what went wrong.
“As of today, there are attempts being made by INEC to bar us from elections in Anambra and other states. We must address these issues. I still find the judgment on the Rivers State governorship election totally astonishing. There is something fundamentally wrong in the Judiciary.
“We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country.
“I will take up your request to facilitate a meeting with the President. We will do that as soon as possible and also make it clear that there are problems which as a party, we must address”, Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Mr. Peterside said: “It will interest you to know that many of our members, supporters and sympathisers are still at a loss to see us work as orphans. We have a herculean task explaining to them that we actually form government at the centre. It is like, we lost the elections.
“To an overwhelming majority of them, the only indication that we might be part of government at the federal level is because our leader and Director General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign which led to a people’s revolution that defeated the former ruling party, and former Governor of the State, Chubuike Rotimi Amaechi is a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The concerns of our members are re-enforced by the fact that more than eight months after APC has formed government at the Federal Level, notable PDP chieftains and members who spent state resources to work assiduously against us (APC) are still occupying strategic federal government positions, dispensing patronages to PDP members to the disadvantage and chagrin of APC members”.
The former House of Representatives member reported that as a result of the unflinching support party leaders and members gave President Buhari and the APC, they have been exposed to undue attacks and hatred and internal discriminations.
He said, “We are called all sorts of names including being branded as traitors and almost live like outcast in our communities and environments…Even today, we are not out of danger as we are killed, molested, maimed and insulted”.
Mr. Peterside also said security infrastructure that were skewed against the APC before and during the 2015 elections were still working against and frustrating APC activities in the state.
“The partisanship against us was and is still enormous”, he added.
Peterside also said the Independent National Electoral Commission is structured to ‘disfavour’ the APC.
“It (INEC) was put in place by the leadership of the last administration to perpetually protect its interest”, he alleged. “We are all witnesses to how some of these actors found it convenient to annul results which were favourable to APC but upheld all those favourable to PDP under the same circumstances in the recently concluded governorship election in Bayelsa State.
“Meanwhile, politically speaking Rivers and Bayelsa States are in the same sub-zone of the South South geo-political zone. What has been put in place is to marginalise us and our members feel nothing is being done to change these structures to, at least, give us a fighting chance in neutrality”.
On the Rivers State rerun elections scheduled for March 19, Mr Peterside said, “The issues of the re-run elections are paramount in our mind. We have 22 seats in a House of 32-man membership. Winning all 22 seats will give us 23 seats and that will enable us produce the Speaker of the House. Also, that number is more than the proverbial two-third. Furthermore, there are 12 House of Representatives seats and all 3 Senatorial Seats to be contested for.
“Presently, the Party does not have a two-third majority in any of the chambers of the National Assembly…Now the opportunity to up the party’s numbers in these chambers has come and we expect that the Party will do all that it takes to win all 12 House of Representatives and 3 Senate Seats.
“Even if this may not give it the needed two-thirds but it will make the party to have a robust majority such that it won’t struggle to have its programmes and plans that require parliamentary inputs to be easily implemented to achieve its set goals and core mandate.
“There is no gainsaying that Rivers State occupies a strategic political position in the politics of Nigeria”.
The delegation comprised APC governorship candidate for Rivers state, Dakuku Peterside and running mate, Asita Honourable; Rivers state APC Chairman, Davies Ikanya; member of the APC Board of Trustees (BoT), Sam Sam Jaja; Senator Magnus Abe and several Rivers state aspirants and Rivers state APC stalwarts.