Two political leaders, including a former Senator representing Rivers West senatorial district yesterday protested against what they term imposition of candidate by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on the All Progressives Congress, APC in the just concluded governorship primary in Rivers State.
The protesters led by Senator Wilson Ake and former Commissioner for Power in the state, Augustine Nwokocha matched to the Area Command of the Nigerian Police, Ahoada East Local Government Area of the state where they register their displeasure.
Displaying placards with different inscriptions such as ‘No to imposition of candidates in Rivers State’, ‘We will not hand over our party to a businessman who has not worked for the party in the state, ‘The party must practice the change they preach by doing what is right.’
The APC had organized primaries in Port Harcourt where Tonye Cole polled a total of 3, 321 votes to beat his closest rivals, Dr. Dawari George who scored 491 votes and Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs scored 38 votes.
But speaking to newsmen at the Area Command, Ahoada East, Senator Ake said the adoption of Amaechi preferred aspirant, Tonye Cole as the State APC standard bearer by the party’s National Working Committee, NWC is unacceptable to the party in the state.
Ake accused Amaechi of using his closeness to President Buhari to impose his candidate through indirect primaries which is against the decision of party.
Ake recalled that the APC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had earlier adopted the use of direct primary to choose the party’s candidate, but wondered why the National Working Committee (NWC), changed the mode to indirect primary to favour a particular candidate.
He said, “This development is unfair and contrary to the promise of President Mohammadu Buhari to allow for direct primary in order for transparency, openness, and inclusiveness in the process”.
“We wonder why the NEC, the highest decision-making organ of the APC should say one thing and the NWC would change it to another,” he said.
He maintained that in the direct primary held by the party in conformity with the earlier decision by the party’s national leadership, Senator Magnus Abe won overwhelmingly.
Senator Ake insisted that the party stands by the mandate freely given to Abe by members of the APC in the state, saying, that the party will use every constitutional means to ensure that the victory stands.
He however appealed to supporters of the party across the state to continue to be peaceful and remain calm; assuring that justice will prevail in the end.
Also speaking, Hon. Augustine Nwokocha who is the candidate of APC for Rivers West senatorial district called on the NWC to give the people of the State the opportunity to follow their preferred candidate in order to wrestle power from the incumbent PDP government in the state come 2019.
On his part, a youth leader in the Orashi region, James Nnamdi accused Amaechi of pursuing an ethnic agenda to have presented Tonye Cole who he claimed is unpopular to match up with the PDP.
A senior Police Officer while responding to the protesters thanked them for being peaceful and promised to channel their complaints to the appropriate quarters.
(Source: Ebizim Green, Publicity Secretary, Rivers Network for Positive change)