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Stop Romancing Wike, Rivers APC Tells Tinubu, Govs

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…Vows not to support Asiwaju if…

…Demands 25% refund of forms’ proceeds

Fresh crisis may erupted in the All Progressives Congress as Stakeholders of the party in Rivers State, including candidates for the 2023 elections, Sunday, called on the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and governors of the South-West to stop hobnobbing with Governor Nyesom Wike.

The stakeholders comprising national assembly and state house of assembly candidates and other party faithful, said it was discouraging for members of the party in Rivers State to see leaders of the party that they look up to romancing with a known political opponent like Governor Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party.

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They frown that these leaders go as far as visiting the state to inaugurate projects on the invitation of the governor, this, they stressed help to campaign for the ruling party in the state by heaping praises on him (Wike) ahead of a general election.

They spoke at a one-day consultative meeting of the South-South executive committee presided over by the APC National Vice Chairman of the zone, Chief Victor Giadom, in Port Harcourt on Sunday evening.

Speaking, the state APC chairman, Emeke Beke, who said he was speaking as an individual, expressed dismay that none of the party members from the zone whose names were submitted to the national level of the party made the list of the APC presidential campaign council.

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Beke told Chief Giadom to relate it to the national level when he returns that the state APC chairmen in the zone took a position and have written to the President and the national officers in that regard, even as he called for a refund of 25 per cent from the proceeds of the sale of forms in the state.

According to Beke, “We have written to the President, to the national chairman, to the candidate (Tinubu), to the chairman of the governors’ forum and the Director General of the campaigns.

READ ALSO: Why Some Top APC Stakeholders May Not Work For Tinubu’s Candidacy

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“You people asked us to nominate five, five names for campaign council. None of the five names we sent appeared on the list because they don’t like Rotimi Amaechi. From the zone, no one (names) appeared. And the chairmen have taken a position on that. We will down our tool.

“As you go back tell the national chairman that Rivers State bought forms of over one billion naira. And what we are asking, remit to the state 25 per cent of that money.

“If that money is not remitted to Rivers State, forget about coming to Rivers State to campaign for a presidential candidate.

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“We will vote for our national assembly state house of assembly candidates and focus on the governorship candidate of this state and we will win.

“The truth is that what has happened to Rivers State is because they don’t like Rotimi Amaechi. I speak as Emeka Beke, not as Rivers APC Chairman.

“I have heard and seen Wike’s comments on Television and social media respectively. Wike dines with leaders of our great party.

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“If the national does not listen to the APC Rivers State, we will take our destiny in our hands.”

He said Governor Wike does not have the political spread to win an election, but was luring its leaders with financial inducement, even as he expressed worry that respected leaders of the party are constantly visiting the state and dining with Wike just a few months to the general poll.

He said, “We have been out of government for eight years. Now we want to win elections. I can tell you that Wike does not have the political base to win an election in Rivers State.

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“What Wike is doing is giving the bride to leaders of our own party to shortchange the APC family in Rivers State.

“My candidates and members in Rivers State have suffered. Candidates are selling their land, selling their property to make sure they win an election and keep the APC in power.

“Then leaders that we look up to will come here and campaign. At the end of the day, they will dine with Governor Wike at night. Please tell them not to dine with Governor Wike again. Let them support this party in the state. We don’t have a super minister because they don’t like one man.

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READ ALSO: Weeks After Waiting, Amaechi Makes Tinubu’s Campaign List, Osinbajo, Dogara Out

“We are party men, but tell them if they don’t support us we will not support them.”

On his part, the state APC legal adviser, Dike Iheanyi Zubi, while speaking at the meeting said it was unfair for governors of the South-West to hold nocturnal meetings with Wike and return back to their states without bothering to an interface or speak with their party members in the state.

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Zubi further said the action of Tinubu who has held meetings with Wike abroad and the action of the governors concerned were tantamount to anti-party activities and called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to call them (Tinubu and the South-West governors) to order.

He said, “It is very discouraging for the APC here in Rivers State to see a situation where the presidential candidate of our party, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his handlers, including South-West Governors of the APC coming to the state to undermine our party here in Rivers State.

“And they begin to hobnob and hold nocturnal meetings with Wike, who is seen as a contender with the APC here in the state.

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“So, we as APC members here frown at such action because it doesn’t encourage us here. We consider it as anti-party on the side of Ahmed Tinubu and his cohorts.

“Instead of coming to strengthen the Rivers State chapter of the party, they are busy hobnobbing with Governor Wike, who is a PDP member. For the APC in Rivers State, we see it as an affront and anti-party.

“So, I call on the national chairman of the party and President Buhari to call him (Tinubu) and his cohorts to order. They should stop dividing the Rivers APC. APC is one family.”

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Responding, the APC national vice chairman, South-South and former acting national chairman of the party, Chief Giadom thanked the party faithful in the state for their frank comments and contributions.

“This is my own constituency and I am from Rivers State. I know exactly that everything that you have said here is true.

“Everybody in Nigeria knows that what you are complaining about is true. From the speaker (Femi Gbajabiamila), Governor Fayemi, and Governor Akeredolu, all came here (Rivers) to commission projects, and by doing it, praised Governor Wike.

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“By doing that you are marketing our opponents against the APC. So we will put it to them, we will make them know.

“I can also tell you that we are passing through very tough times,” Giadom said.

Also speaking to newsmen after the meeting, he said, “The reason why we are here, is to collect what we feel are the challenges in the party, with the aim of providing solutions for them or be ready to face the consequences.

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“We have come, we have listened to them, we have heard them clearly, and we are going to put them together and report to the national party in Abuja to ensure that we find solutions to all the things that we know will help us win election in Rivers State.

READ ALSO: [Video] I Said No, When Tinubu Wooed Me To Go For Senate – Wike

“I know the pains of my people, which is also our collective pain. We were not on the ballot in 2019, which of course we know that I was supposed to be a direct beneficiary of that ticket.

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“But the manipulation of the system denied us from being on that ballot. So, people have the right to be apprehensive, they have the right to be worried.

“But I can assure them that, by the grace of God, we will be victorious this time around and APC would win in Rivers State and recapture back our possession of becoming in charge of Rivers State leadership and we will form a government and be in government house.”

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Tribunal: INEC Presents Blurry Adeleke’s Testimonial, Oyetola Kicks

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The Election Petition Tribunal hearing case emanating from the July 16 governorship election in Osun State was forced into adjournment on Thursday following presentation of blurry documents used by the Governor Ademola Adeleke for 2018 elections.

The eight-page documents presented by a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Joan Arabs, included Certified True Copies of the testimonial obtained by Adeleke from Ede Muslim Grammar School, and West Africa Examination Council General Certificate of Education.

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The panel had last week Friday ruled that INEC chairman should bring Adeleke’s filings for 2018 poll on its next sitting.

READ ALSO: Adeleke Directs LG Heads To Replace Sacked Chairmen

At the day’s proceedings, after checking the documents presented by INEC, counsel to the petitioners, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who appeared with Akin Olujinmi, SAN, told the panel that two out of the pages were not clear enough.

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Fagbemi said section for scores obtained by the candidate on the GCE result was blank, adding that the address of the school that awarded the testimonial was not also clear enough.

But counsel to INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, said the copies were clear and readable, urging the plaintiffs to allow the documents to be admitted, since they had earlier claimed that they had CTC copies of the documents which could be presented.

He assured not to object to the documents if presented by the plantiffs.

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Counsel to Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN and Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, respectively said the documents were clear enough, but admitted some sections were blurry.

They, however, said the documents were still rectifiable and urged the petitioners to call their next witness, while INEC should be made to present a clearer copies, if they have.

Ananaba later called for stand down of the matter to enable him obtain screenshots of the documents from the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

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After the panel had reconvened, Ananaba presented both colour and back and white copies made from the screenshots obtained from INEC head office, which he also admitted were not better than the copies earlier presented.

He sought adjournment to enable INEC brought before the panel, the file from which the copies earlier presented were made from.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Supreme Court Affirms Osun Gov-elect, Adeleke As PDP Candidate

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Fagbemi, however, insisted that the order of the court was that clear documents should be presented, saying the respondents must comply with the directive.

Reading the ruling of the panel, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume, adjourned the matter till Saturday for the INEC to bring the original file containing the documents.
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JUST IN: Labour Party Expels Peter Obi’s DG, Okupe, 10 Others

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The Labour Party in Ogun State has expelled the Director-General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Doyin Okupe.

Okupe was sacked alongside 10 others for alleged non-financial membership status, high-handedness and financial recklessness.

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The Chairman of the party in Ogun State, Michael Ashade, announced the party’s decision in Abeokuta Thursday, saying the offences were a breach of the Labour Party’s constitution.

Ashade said Okupe has ceased to be a LP member for his “failure to meet the mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status.”

According to him, Okupe had failed to pay his membership dues since the last six months he joined the Party, saying he has therefore forfeited his membership of the Labour Party and he is no longer fit to act as the Director General of Obi’s campaign council.

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He stated that the offenses of Okupe amd and the other 10 are against Article 9(3) sub(iii) and Article 9(3)xi of the LP constitution.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom YPP Guber Candidate Bags 42 Years In Prison Over Corruption

He accused Okupe of mismanaging the funds approved for the LP in Ogun to mobilize members for the rally held last week at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

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While notifying the LP National Chairman, Barr Julius Abure of their decision, they called on Obi to immediately appoint another DG for the PCC from the North.

Okupe could not be reached for his reactions as calls to his mobile phone were unanswered.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of this report.

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Okupe is from Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State.

 

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Court Strikes Out Fresh Suit Seeking To Sack Rivers APC Guber Candidate

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, stuck out a suit by a governorship aspirant in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Benard Mikko, over the party’s primary elections in Rivers State.

The Governorship candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole, the Independent National Electoral Commission and another governorship aspirant of the APC Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree were also joined in the suit.

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But the court ruled that the suit was lacking in merit.

Mikko had approached the court to direct INEC to disqualify Tonye Cole from next year’s Governorship election, claiming that the primary election held on 26th of May, 2022, that brought him in as the governorship candidate was marred with irregularities.

He also claimed that the candidate has a questionable character following his indictment in a white paper report by a commission of inquiry set up by the Rivers State government.

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Sacks Tonye Cole As APC Governorship Candidate In Rivers

Presiding judge, Justice Ayua Phoebe in her judgment said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit because the plaintiff failed to exhaust all the internal mechanisms of the party before instituting the legal action, adding that the party is supreme.

The judge, while describing the suit as frivolous and abuse of court process, ruled that Mikko also failed to abide by his earlier oath of allegiance sworn to the APC never to institute any legal action against the party and that he will support whoever emerged from the primaries.

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While the counsel to the APC, Chinda Chizim commended the judgement, that of the plaintiff, Eli Ojigba said he will consult his client for his next line of action.

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