Wogu Boms, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under the Amaechi administration, got onto the phone, concern mounting all around him, as he spoke rapidly to someone at the other end, a source told the Port Harcourt Telegraph.
Members of the National Committee responsible for the sale of forms and the conduct of ward congresses were in town.
Boms known for his persuasive skill was talking intensely, as he tried to get the man who was on the line to play ball.
“The look on his face after the conversation”, the source revealed,”showed he had hit a brick wall.”
According to what we have pieced together, Boms was reportedly talking at the time to someone who hails from Ogbunabali community.
We have similarly gathered that when the bank tellers were bought before Abe and his group previously went to court in the days leading to the 2019 elections, some persons within the team were entrusted with the custody of the bank tellers.
But as Wogu learnt the hard way when his plea for the release of the originals of the tellers was rejected by a man who was a principal player, the times had obviously changed.
There are serious indications that most who were part of the Abe project a few years back may have started thinking differently.
Others, disgusted with the endless infighting, who were obviously concerned about their political future, have already walked into the waiting arms of Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP.
We have heard that the person whose cooperation Wogu Boms wanted so badly as July got ready to exit, hails from the popular Anyawata family (full name withheld).
“It was at this point”, an insider in Abe’s political family revealed to this publication, “that we resolved to fall back on photocopies.It was obvious that most of the custodians of those documents were not favourably disposed to us.”
The issue of forms and the manner in which they were issued have become a matter of great controversy.
“It was bound to be controversial”, a political analyst conversant with the Rivers political terrain volunteered in response to a question.
“Amaechi and Abe have not been able to resolve the problem between them and it was obvious that this was bound to cast a dark shadow on the outcome of whatever is done”, the analyst added.
Abe and his supporters alleged they were being short-changed by the Minister of Transportation and the Caretaker Committee set up by the APC in Rivers State to run the affairs of the party.
They also accused the membership of the Committee assigned with the responsibility of handling the sale of forms and the conduct of the ward congress by the National Secretariat of complicity.
Matters came to a head,forcing the committee to react, hours before Abe announced he and his supporters were pulling out
According to Amina Ibrahim Gamawa, Abe’s supporters came to the party secretariat days after the exercise began.
Amina made the disclosure penultimate Thursday, after a barrage of accusations by Abe and his supporters on the social media and the popular press.
She categorically alleged that Abe’s supporters came to pick forms precisely about five days after the exercise kicked off.
Amina also disclosed that she was constantly in touch with the ex – Senator who even visited her in her home, but hinted she was unable to understand why lies were deliberately peddled to discredit her committee.
A member of Freedom House, the name by which Abe’s political machine is known who identified himself as Amadi remarked, “We reckoned that since we had a judgment in our hands, with some little pressure, we could cajole officials at the State Party Secretariat to hand over forms to our supporters.
“Our people went there (the party secretariat), some in hired buses. We even raised some dust while in the place.The officials from Abuja firmly rejected photocopies of the tellers.”
Amina who briefed the press in Port Harcourt confirmed that members of the committee had to call Senator Abe and Senator Wilson Ake on one occasion to calm their boys down.
Explaining the use of photocopies on Treasure FM, Akumefule, a strong supporter of Senator Magnus Abe from Etche, observed that given the passage of time, most of the tellers had become faded.
Telegraph investigations show that the delay in taking advantage of the presence of committee members in Port Harcourt to acquire forms may have arisen from the difficulty Abe’s group faced in finding originals of the said tellers.
There was equally the feeling, based on a past in which Abe’s lawyers appeared invisible in court, that accusing the APC of failing to obey legitimate court orders would turn the table.
“If our plan to obtain forms failed”, Amadi told the Telegraph, “we would be left with the court option, which was on the table.”
On August 5, 2021, the expectations of the Abe team which began its hunt for an interlocutory injunction on the 30th of July were dashed.
Justice Ben Whyte who presided said after listening to arguments on both sides that the High Court had no other option, but to adjourn sine die.
The trial judge noted that the court had become “functus officio” as he washed his hands off and allowed the matter to proceed to the Court of Appeal.
According to a widely quoted authority, “The expression functus officio means having discharged a duty. … “When used in relation to a court, it may also mean whose duty or authority has come to an end.
“Once a court has passed a valid sentence after a lawful hearing, it is functus officio and cannot reopen the case.”
The doctrine of functus officio, from what we have seen holds that “once an arbitrator renders a decision regarding the issues submitted, he lacks any power to reexamine that decision.”
This principle is well established in international arbitration, and is accepted in many national laws, including Nigeria.
The clock is however ticking. It may also appear that Abe’s time – his political relevance and influence – may be ticking along with the clock as well.
Will Abe abandon the quest for vengeance? Will he put aside his cold war against the Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi who appears to have moved on and move on himself?
Hon Okwu Worlu, a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly and member of the APC penultimate Saturday urged Senator Abe to retrace his step and return to the fold.
Worlu who spoke to the press said it would be best if Abe teams up with the Minister of Transportation to build a formidable party in the State which would deliver a crushing defeat to the PDP in 2023.
The former lawmaker had supported Abe’s gubernatorial ambition in the 2019 era. Now, all he thinks about is a united APC.
Apparently worried about Abe’s place in history, Worlu said the Senator has a unique opportunity to contribute positively towards the growth of the APC if he still loves the party.
Senator Abe has strenuously argued that in order to have peace, there must be justice.
The quest for justice may explain the return to the courtroom by some of his supporters despite many mediation efforts by the APC to settle the rift in Rivers State.
The Oyegun Committee for instance had urged Abe to cross the aisle, shake hands with the people on the other side of the political divide within the party and make the peace with his bosom friend, Rotimi Amaechi.
That hasn’t happened and it is becoming doubtful that would happen.
It is difficult to say how many more supporters of Abe’s cause would be willing to tarry along in the face of so much uncertainty.
Many like Senator Barry Mpigi, Hon Marcus Nle Ije and Chief Allwell Onyesoh, strong pillars of the Abe camp have left for the PDP.
Others like Hon Okwu Worlu and Hon. Mbah have left Abe and opted to remain within the party on the side of the Minister of Transportation.
The fear is that Abe may be writing his retirement script, especially if he continues to listen to hardliners within his team.
Should that happen, the sun is likely to set quickly on the career of a colourful politician of Rivers extraction.
There may be the permutation of the emergence of a third force which may out-stage the PDP and the APC.
That might take long in coming.
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