The Rivers State government and the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have been warned that resorting to using legal means to stop other political parties from participating in the 2023 elections would not dampen the resolve of such parties to field their respective candidates.
Giving the assurance, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, alleged that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and the PDP have never won any election under an atmosphere that conforms with the tenets of participatory democracy or reflects the will of the majority.
In a statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, Eze claimed that the “legal ambush” by the state Governor and the PDP against other political parties in Rivers State with the intention to deny them participation in the 2023 elections in a bid to give their candidate a free ride to power has exposed the Governor and his party as being afraid of going into a free and fair contest with the opposition candidates.
“What the world should know about Rivers State Politics and how Governor Nyesom Wike has retained power in Rivers State since 2015 is that there has not been any proper democratic or free electoral contest since 2015 in Rivers State to test the true relevance of Wike.
“His fear for the proper and free electoral contest has always lured him to ensure that every strong opposition to his governance of the State is quashed or dismantled. He did it in 2015 and by 2019 he perfected it by ensuring through the help of Senator Magnus Abe and others that the APC was stopped from fielding candidates and contesting the 2019 general elections.
“Sadly, he has adopted similar unholy tactics to see if he can stop other political parties from participating or contesting the 2023 general elections”, he said.
Eze noted that Governor Wike started manifesting his intention by alleging a case of misappropriation of State Funds by the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in order to stop Pastor Tonye Cole, the APC Flag-Bearer for the 2023 general elections from contesting, “knowing very well that no Rivers State funds were either misappropriated or misplaced as the said funds were not only captured in the 2014 budget of the State but were also duly paid into the account of the State Government”.
The APC chieftain revealed that Governor Wike has gone ahead to seek the disqualification of the Governorship Candidates of the Social Democratic Party, SDP and Accord party in the state.
PDP had in a suit asked the court to disqualify Dumo Lulu Briggs, the governorship candidate of the Accord Party, and Maurice Pronen of SDP (before the emergence of Magnus Abe) in the 2023 general elections for alleged non-compliance with the new Electoral Act by their parties during their various governorship primaries.
In the suit filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, PDP also asked the Court to compel INEC not to recognize candidates of both parties for the National Assembly positions also over alleged violation of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Before now, Tonye Cole and Rotimi Amaechi had been dragged before a High Court on criminal charges on the allegations of illegal sale of state assets by the then Rivers State Government.
“It was believed that the suit was aimed at stopping APC from participating in the 2023 election. We are aware that all these plots are to pave an easy way for the election of the candidature of Mr. Sim Fubara whom Wike wants to impose on the State”, Exe said.
The APC chieftain in the state however reassured Nigerians, particularly the people of Rivers State that the latest legal plot by Governor Wike will not work as “Rivers electorates are now better enlightened and committed to voting out his candidate no matter the odds”.