The supremacy battle for the control of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State took a worsening dimension on Saturday following the decsions of the two major factions to suspend key members of their rival groups.
The Isaac Abbot-Ogbobula-led state Caretaker Committee of the party loyal to the Transport Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, announced suspensions of key APC members in Igo Aguma’s faction at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt.
Ogbobula, who made the declaration, announced the suspensions of Igo Aguma, Senator Magnus Abe, Livistone Wechie and Wogu Boms for anti-party activities.
Ogbobula, who was accompanied by members of his committee, also recommended their expulsion from the party while further announcing the suspensions of all the party members who were recently inaugurated as local government and ward caretaker committee’s leaders by Aguma.
He said all the persons who took the party to court without exhausting all the internal mechanisms for conflict resolutions remained suspended.
Ogbobula said the decision was reached in an emergency meeting held by his committee to review the issues affecting the Rivers APC.
He said their suspensions were recommended by their various local government levels in letters addressed to his caretaker committee.
Explaining reasons behind the action, he said: “We met and looked at the state of the party in the state, x-rayed and reviewed some issues towards moving the party forward and cleaning up of the party and to take disciplinary measures against members of the party who caused infractions on the party.
“We received communication from some local government areas which came to them from the ward level. One of the reports came from ward 16 in the Gokana Local Government Area through the local government leadership of the party.
“We also got communications from wards 2, 10 and 19 of Port Harcourt Local Government Area. All the communications we received from the said wards came through the local government Caretaker Committees of our party.
“From ward 16, Gokana, it was resolved by members of the party in that ward that Sen. Magnus Abe, having conducted himself in a manner that runs contrary to the party’s constitution, having many times engaged in anti-party activities against smooth running of the party, that he is suspended. It was ratified by the Local government excos and we hereby confirm his suspension and further recommend his expulsion from the party.
“From ward 2 of Port Harcourt, wherein it was resolved that Hon. Igo Aguma is suspended. We have looked at the resolution reached at the ward suspending Aguma as submitted to the state by the local government caretaker committee.
“We have looked at the issues of the purported inauguration of Local Government Caretaker Committee, knowing that the National Executive Committee of the party has dissolved all structures of the party and inaugurated a caretaker committee. Igo Aguma has continually paraded himself as the authentic chairman of the party, acting against the party’s constitution.
“We have confirmed his suspension from his ward and local government and recommend his expulsion from the party.
“We have also received from ward 10, PHALGA, on the suspension of Livingstone Wechie. We received from ward 19 of PHALGA of the suspension of Wogu Boms. Both of them (Wechie and Boms) were suspended by their wards, ratified by the local government and forwarded to us. We have confirmed same and further recommended their expulsion for anti-party activities.
“In the same emergency meeting, we resolved that all those who were purportedly inaugurated by Igo Aguma as caretaker committees stand expelled from the party.
“We further deliberated on the issue of all the people who took the party to court without exhausting the internal mechanisms of the party, especially after the decision of the party that no one should go to court without exhausting the party’s internal mechanisms.
“We have listed all those who infracted the party and went to court. We resolved that all of them are from today expelled from the party.”
He said that the leadership of the party in the state had invited all the affected persons, but regretted that they refused to honour the invitation.
He said: “We have invited them, but they refused to answer to our invitation, that is, in the case of Sen. Magnus Abe, Igo Aguma, Wogu Boms and Livingstone Wechie. The persons who went to court their case is already known.
Those who were inaugurated by Aguma were disciplined for making themselves available to be used even when they knew that the party at the national level had inaugurated the leadership of the party in the state. Yet they went ahead to accept to be inaugurated.”
Prior to his declaration, Ogbobula had earlier been suspended by the Ahoada-East Local Government area, where he hails from, for anti-party activities.
A statement signed by the Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairman, MacSunday Ugwu and the Secretary, Chiemele Agbo, who were among those recently inaugurated by Aguma, said Ogbobula was first suspended by his ward.
The statement said: “In agreement with the suspension of Mr. Isaac Ogbobula by the Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress in Ward 10, Ahoada-East Local Government Area in Rivers State, the CTC of the party along with the LGA caucus met and reviewed the said allegation of anti-party activities against Mr Isaac Ogbobula.
“These allegations amounted to gross misconduct and other actions capable of putting the party in jeopardy. We have resolved that in order to save the image of the party in the LGA from acts capable of destroying the good image of the party, Mr Isaac Ogbobula is hereby suspended from the party in the LGA”.
Also, the Caretaker Committee in Port Harcour Local Government Area dismissed the suspensions of Aguma, Wechie and Boms describing Ogbobula and his caretaker committee as a group of unknown persons in APC.
The council’s committee, which loyal to Aguma, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dennis Ejekwu, said APC in Port Harcourt LGA at no time, suspended the party leaders.
The statement said: “For the records, APC in Port Harcourt Local Government Area did not at any time suspend the aforementioned persons.
“Those persons who made this divisive pronouncement of a purported suspension are not members of APC in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area. They have no such mandate from the APC in PHALGA as they lack the powers to suspend members of our party including the trio aforementioned and their actions should be disregarded accordingly”.
Reacting to the development, Aguma in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Livingstone Wechie, described Ogbobula as cheerleader and Chairman of an aggrieved group within the APC loyal to Rotimi Amaechi.
Wechie said Ogbobula remained an unrepentant impostor in the party and his action constituted an act of desperation and self-help insisting that his group lacked existence in Rivers.
He said the public was aware that Ogbobula and his co-travelers took APC matters up to the Supreme Court struggling to upturn the court judgement that dissolved his illegal caretaker committee and declaratorily affirmed Igo Aguma as Acting/Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC in Rivers state.
He said the judgement declared that Aguma’s committee should comprised all statutory members of the party adding that Ogbobula was not qualified to be one of the statutory members.
He said the same judgement was reinforced in another court’s decision, which dissolved and sacked the Sokonte Davies-led illegal state structure.
He said: “The actions of Ogbobula are just a show of extreme desperation particularly being a supposed legal practitioner who is in court. It further indicates that he has no regard for judicial processes and can not wait for the court which he approached to determine his fate.
“It is important to state that there is no order of Court anywhere restraining Igo Aguma from functioning as the Acting/Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party. The Appeal Court during a proceeding on or about the October 30, 2020 reaffirmed that it did not make any order restraining Igo Aguma from functioning as the Chairman of the APC in Rivers State.
“In the meantime, we are aware that earlier today December 19, 2020, Isaac Ogbobula was declared suspended by Ward 10 where he belongs and confirmed by his Local Government Ahoada-East Caretaker Committee and transmitted to the state Caretaker Committee which has referred his matter to the State disciplinary Committee for action.
“For the records, every statement or concocted declarations made by Ogbobula today in his desperation remain invalid and of no effect”.