Embattled elected chairmen of local government councils whose mandate Governor Nyesom Wike has challenged have described the Rivers Governor as a serial lair.
The council chairmen who are expecting a ruling by the Court of Appeal in the first week of February said the Governor and his Justice Department allegedly based the decision to wrest their seats from them on false claims.
The chairmen elected on APC’s platform who assembled the press to tell their story are speaking up just as Governor Wike plans to call a stakeholders meeting to address PDP chieftains over the scramble for council seats in the State.
Wike is reportedly disturbed by the number of persons who are indicating interest to contest the forthcoming local government elections.
Telegraph investigations show that in most of the LGAs, persons who have indicated interest in the Chairmanship race in each of these areas are no less than 10.
Wike, our sources disclose, may have come to the conclusion that the time has come to weigh in, especially in order to reduce the level of acrimony within his party.
But elected chairmen from the APC who spoke to the press not only insisted that LGA elections will not hold in Rivers State, they also alleged that several lies have been peddled by the Governor and his administration in a bid to keep them out of office.
“Contrary to the deliberate falsehoods, innuendo and propaganda dished out by the PDP and idle political opponents to delegitimize our election and mislead the unwary, there was no legal encumbrance” as the Wike administration claimed, the embattled council chairmen insisted.
“One of such bare-faced lies is that which claims that the Government of Rivers State under The Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi caused an amendment of the Law to shorten the number of days in the “NOTICE OF Poll” published by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission under Prof. Augustine Ahiauzu to conduct an election to enable the outgoing Governor rail-road us into office. Nothing can be further from the truth!
“There was no abridgment of time in the notice of Poll for the May 23, 2015 local Government Elections since the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission Law upon which our election held in 2015 was never amended”, the elected chairmen observed.
They noted, “Let us place it on record that the only amendment to the electoral laws of Rivers State thereafter was in 2018 via an executive Bill from Emmanuel Chinwewo Aguma, the Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice appointed by Nyesom Wike.”
Part of the statement issued to the press read:
“Pursuant to our successful election as aforementioned, we were inaugurated on Monday, May 25, 2015 as Executive Chairmen of our respective Councils by the Governor of Rivers State, at the time The Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, and in turn administered the official Oaths on our respective Vice Chairmen.
“We had also inaugurated the Councils in accordance with the law and began the full businesses of Council before a judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on July 9, 2015 at the instance of the suit “Peoples Democratic Party v. Independent National Electoral Commission and 4 Ors (FHC/PH/CS/84/2015)” nullified the election that brought us to office.
“We respectfully invite you to note that the claim by the Rivers PDP that our election was nullified because RSIEC conducted same on May 23, 2015 in contravention of an Order of the Federal High Court is another strand in a huge tissue of lies.
“Same is deliberate falsehood mischievously engineered to cast shadows on the legality of our election. We insist that No Order was made by Justice Akanbi to stop the Local Government elections of May 23, 2015 when he adjourned hearing of the matter sine die on April 29, 2015 upon learned Counsel to RSIEC, B. E. I. Nwafor (SAN), informing the court that an appeal had been lodged at the Court of Appeal to stop it from hearing the matter.
“Unless the PDP is misleading herself to think that the Ex-parte application the court heard on April 22, 2015 but never granted and directed as follows: “The Respondents be and are hereby ordered to appear in this Court on Wednesday the 29th of April 2015 to show cause why the order sought (i.e. Prayer 5) shall not be made or granted” was an Order to stop the elections. The PDP cannot dispute this indelible fact in the records of the Federal High Court In PHC/PH/CS/84/2015.
“The Chancery of the judicial coup against the election of May 23, 2015 and ambush on justice to justify our unlawful removal from office was the law firm of Emmanuel Chinwewo Aguma, Esq. (as he then was). Gentlemen of the Press, a mutiny was hatched by the PDP ab initio to shoot down our election in 2015 and that party, through her lawyer, spared nothing, including blatant falsehoods, to achieve her selfish goals.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP targeted the election of May 23, 2015, which she decided to boycott, essentially on this prayer that was hinged on the lie about breach of the days of Notice of Poll from an amendment to the RSIEC Law:
“AN ORDER restraining the 1st Defendant, its servants, privies or agents from releasing to the 2nd and 3rd Defendants that part of the National Register of Voters containing a register of voters in Rivers State, namely the official register of voters certified by the 1st Defendant, for use by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to unlawfully conduct Local Government Elections in Rivers State scheduled to hold on or before May 29, 2015 until the 2nd and 3rd Defendants publish the requisite Notice of election to the Plaintiff that is in conformity with section 30 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.”
The Council chairmen warned Justice George Omereji not to construe any plan to organize local government election in the State, saying such an action could result in contempt of court.
They similarly urged the Inspector General of Police to arrest Rt. Hon. Igo Aguma and Hon. Golden Ben-Chioma for impersonation, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to weigh in order to arrest the drift within the party.
The embattled chairmen appealed to media to help in fighting the “gross violation” of rights “under the Constitution of this great nation by a Government and political party that are too intoxicated with transient power to understand that our Constitution provides for multiparty democracy.”
“Conscious of your function as the Fourth Estate of the Realm under the same Constitution, it is our fervent prayer and hope that you will henceforth interrogate these issues and give it the attention and widest publicity possible in a manner that holds Governor Nyesom Wike, his appointees and agencies of the Rivers State Government accountable.
“We believe that as society’s watchdog, your roles and vigilance will avert the unrelenting predilection to subjugate our rights or those of other Rivers people in furtherance of some narrow, selfish and discriminatory political agenda. This is your obligation and sole duty under Section 22 of the Constitution and we urge you to discharge same fully to foster peace built on justice and the respect for the rights of all citizens in the State, regardless of their political affiliations”, the council chairmen said.
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