…Won't Join Issues With 'Splinter Group' - Aguma
All is still not well with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State as the two rival factions continue to throw tantrums, pushing the once ruling party in Rivers to a looming slide.
With Hon. Igo Aguma headed to court to press contempt charges against the duo of former federal lawmaker, Chief (Hon) Andrew Uchendu and factional Caretaker Chairman of the APC in Rivers State, Dr. Sokonte Davies over his 'ouster', the stage is set for more theatricals in the coming weeks.
But while political pundits and the generality of Rivers people watch the drama with keen interest, the APC faction loyal to Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has insisted that there are no factions of the party in the State and rather accused Hon. Aguma of reading Justice George Omereji's judgement 'upside down'.
Speaking during an interface with members of the press at the APC 63 Aba Road State secretariat in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Dr. Sokonte Davies scornfully mocked Hon. Aguma for not understanding the whole gamut of the court judgement.
“The judgement was explicit in stressing that Igo Aguma is not sole administrator but Chairman of a Caretaker Committee formed by all the Statutory members of the State Executive Committee of the party.
“These are people who are constant party members of the exco at the state level. We don't need to be elected by virtue of the positions we have held.
“We are permanent members of the State Executive Committee and that is why the court in its wisdom added that part in its judgment”, Davies explained.
He noted that the court further declared that this process is aimed at rebuilding the party and that the consensus opinion from members of the caretaker committee was to work with Igo Aguma in that direction.
“But it turned out that Igo Aguma did not understand or read the judgement upside down. We think that his understanding was that since he was asked to be Chairman, he has been made a sole administrator. He thought he has been given a license to run the party the way he likes”, Davies taunted Aguma.
Dr. Davies challenged journalists and other members of the public to inquire from the APC National Secretariat or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as to the authentic party secretariat of the APC in the State.
He alleged that the rancour among members of the APC in the state was fuelled by those he called 'big men and who use their resources to go to the press, hire good lawyers and getting favorable judgements'.
The factional Caretaker Chairman appealed to all APC members with the interest of the party at heart and whose actions are not sponsored by outsiders, to stop the tendencies and move the party forward.
When asked which of the factions has got the nod from the national Secretariat, Davies parried the question and said, “When the National body will mandate the primaries, everyone will go to his wards and get legitimacy. When that time comes, you will know which faction is recognized or not”.
Former federal lawmaker and Acting Publicity Secretary of the Davies-led Caretaker Committee, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke in his speech at the event berated Senator Magnus Abe for 'biting the finger that fed him' being, according to him, the biggest beneficiary of the magnanimity of leader Rotimi Amaechi.
“It is sad to know that while a lot of people are throwing in energy to ensure that the APC remains together, the one who has benefitted the most is busy scattering it”, he fumed.
Reacting to Dr. Davies and Nwuke's statements, the Acting Publicity Secretary of Aguma's APC leadership, Mr. Livingstone Wechie, said his principal would not join issues with those he described as 'splinter group'.
He declared that Aguma is the person recognized by the court as Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC in Rivers State.
“Yes, the Sokonte Davies group does not exist and I would not join issues with a splinter group. We are not in court with Sokonte Davies. He is a splinter group and that is our position.
“He is facing a criminal proceeding of contempt and if any person defies the judgement of court, the court will protect its judgment against the person and that is what the court is doing with Sokonte.
“If he disrespects any court judgment, let him go and face it”, Wechie said.
He went on: “They should all come and submit to the leadership of the party under Igo Aguma. You cannot operate from a factional secretariat. Every other secretariat apart from Igo Aguma's leadership is called upon to come to the table for reconciliation of peace. We cant be responding to splinter groups which Sokonte Davies and his cohorts are”, Wechie stated.