AN ADDRESS BY CHIEF DUMO LULU-BRIGGS IN A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD IN PORT HARCOURT ON 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2018 CALLING FOR THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE RIVERS STATE ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS GOVERNORSHIP PRIMARY
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press, as you are aware the gubernatorial primary of our great party the All Progressives Congress is scheduled for today Sunday the 30th day of September, 2018. You will recall that pursuant to Mr. President’s and the National Executive Committee’s directives, I aligned myself with the preference for direct primaries.
However, when the National Working Committee (NWC) reached the decision that indirect primaries be adopted for the governorship primary in Rivers State, as a loyal party man I accepted the decision in good faith despite the fact that there are pending litigations in various courts which might vitiate and truncate the process.
I thus ramped up my campaign but soon discovered that our party structures from the State’s Executive Committee (Exco), Local Government and Ward Excos across the State have been directed by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the leader of our party in the State not to allow me access to our party faithful and delegates but to only support the aspiration of his preferred aspirant-Arch. Tonye Cole.
Field reports I have received show clearly that certain persons have been handpicked from all the wards as delegates to the primary in clear breach of our party constitution and guidelines and even as I speak to you names are being added and deleted from the delegate’s list to remove the names of persons perceived to be my supporters.
That in spite of the flawed process in which the delegates were selected, the list of the delegates and the guideline of the primary have not been made public. Our request to the State Executive Committee yesterday 29th of September, 2018, less than 24 hours to the primary, for the list of delegates and guidelines yielded no fruit rather we were referred to the National Executive of our great party.
Moreover, my campaign team last night intercepted text messages sent to the handpicked so called delegates by officials of the State Exco of our Party to assemble at secret locations dotted across Port Harcourt for accreditation, from where they would be transported to the venue for the sole agenda of imposing the preferred aspirant of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the party in Rivers State which then begs the question, by what delegates’ list did the State’s Exco invite delegates via text messages last night for accreditation.
Section 87 (7) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) states that “a political party that adopts the system of indirect primary for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting”. Also Article 20 (iv) of the APC constitution stipulates that indirect primary for the purpose of nominating a candidate shall be done at a designated venue for that purpose by an electoral college of delegates democratically elected by members of the party from various wards.
These grave anomalies and the brazen overt support and bias of the State Exco of our great party the APC prompted my protest letter dated 28th September, 2018 to our National Chairman wherein I raised the following grounds of protest:
1. Breach of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Article 20 of the APC constitution.
2. The leadership of the party in the State has overtly shown preference and support for one of the aspirants to the exclusion of all others even before the governorship primary.
3. The leadership of the party in Rivers State has refused to accord aspirants a level playing field ahead of the primary because I have no access to neither the delegates’ list nor the party guidelines.
4. This obvious act of imposition of a governorship aspirant will lead to an unsavory barrage of litigations that may dim the chances of our great party at the 2019 general elections in Rivers State
It is public knowledge that on several occasions our party officials consisting of our State leader, the State Exco, Local Government and Ward Excos accompanied Mr. Tonye Dele Cole on campaign tours during which he was publicly presented as the governorship candidate of the party in Rivers State for the 2019 general elections,
It is clear from the foregoing that the minimum standards to guarantee a free and fair primary today the 30th day of September, 2018 are non-existent and any primary held today would be a mere sham and a perfidious travesty. To this end I, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs most graciously appeal to the National Chairman of our great party and the National Working Committee to as a matter of utmost urgency postpone the gubernatorial primary for Rivers State so as to correct the anomalies herein complained of because the present arrangement falls short of the minimum standards stipulated by the Electoral Act and our Party Constitution.
One thing I must assure my teaming supporters is that we are very much in the race and by the grace of God, we shall come out victorious.
Thank you so very much and God help us.