Confusion in Rivers APC over membership revalidation

By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

Confusion has enveloped members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State following the party’s membership revalidation billed to commence on January 25.

Already the party had been hit with two conflicting court orders obtained by its two factions in the state ahead of the exercise.

The High Court sitting in Rivers State granted an order of interim injunction restraining the party’s National Executives, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee from conducting the exercise in Rivers pending the determination of the motion on notice.

The order was granted following a suit filed by Mr. Nna Okpara Egburuka and Mr. Gilbert Kilsi, members of the party from the faction controlled by Senator Magnus Abe.

The APC, the party’s National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni and Mr. Isaac Ogbobula, were named as defendants to the suit.

The order was granted by Justice O. Graham, and signed by the Court’s Assistant Chief Registrar (Litigation), Patricia Victor-Nwoke.

A copy of it said: “That an order of interim injunction be and is hereby made restraining the first defendant’s National Executives, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, (CECPC) and the defendants acting by themselves or through their priciest or agents, however described from scheduling, sanctioning, or conducting any membership registration exercise of the first defendant in Rivers State in the absence of validly elected ward executives of the party in Rivers State pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction”.

But another court order, which was obtained from the High Court sitting in Abuja by party members loyal to the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, also resurfaced in Rivers.

The order signed by Bello Ibrahim asked the defendants or any person acting through them to allow the party and all the members of the Rivers State chapter of the caretaker committees at the state, local government and ward levels to without inhibition perform their functions including the membership revalidation.

It was gathered that the counter orders had generated tension among the party members, who were said to be confused about the possibility of participating in such exercise.

A top member of Abe camp, who spoke in confidence, said the ordered by the Port Harcourt division of the High Court superceded the one obtained by the Amaechi’s group from the Abuja Division.

“The truth is that Rivers has a peculiar case because there is a subsisting Supreme Court judgement, which indicates that only the executives empowered by a party congress can handle the affairs of the party.

“What we are saying is that in the spirits of that judgement, the party should wait till after its Congress in Rivers before undertaking such major party exercise. They ran to the Abuja High Court to get an order, but the order we have in Rivers is superior going by the hierarchy of courts”, he said.

But the Amaechi’s camp was reportedly making arrangements to go ahead with the exercise despite fears of possible violence.

A notable APC member, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, raised the alarm that some party leaders in the state were planning to disrupt the exercise in their wards by deploying thugs.

But he said the APC National Caretaker Committee assured that the party would work with only inaugurated state caretaker committee chairmen across the states for the membership revalidation.

He quoted one of the committee members as saying that Governor Mai Mala Buni would hand over approved list to Yahaya Bello-led committee to ensure conduct of hitch-free exercise.

He insisted that Isaac Abbot Ogbobula and other state caretaker chairmen sworn in on December 11, 2020 in Rivers would liaise with the membership revalidation/registration committee to aid preparation for the exercise.

Eze admonished persons planning to disrupt the exercise to desist from acts capable of instigating crisis and raising unnecessary tension in Rivers APC.

Read the Source post on Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics.