Three factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State are bickering over calls on former governor Nyesom Wike to defect to the party and lead the state chapter.
While the faction led by Tony Okocha has publicly pleaded with Wike to join their fold and lead them, alleging that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not appreciate his influence and pedigree, the state coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Grassroots Independent Campaign Council (ICC) in the last presidential election, Augustine Wokocha, has stated that there was nothing wrong in the former governor joining the party if he decides to but insisted that Wike could not be the leader of the party in the state.
Wokocha noted that the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, remains the only known leader of the party in the state.
He added that the likes of Senator Magnus Abe, before his defection to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), was also leader while himself led some groups within the party.
On their part, another faction of the party led by its 2023 governorship candidate in the state, Tonye Cole, described the calls on Wike to defect as the handiwork of imposters and sponsored amorphous groupings acting as fronts for the former governor.
Spokesman of the group, Darlington Nwauju, in a statement yesterday, said nothing could be more preposterous than “this kite being flown by minions of Wike working hard to justify their pay cheque.”
Nwauju alleged that Wike’s move to join the APC was a scheme to escape justice over the looting of the collective patrimony of Rivers people, saying that has been his major reason for romancing top APC members.
His words: “We wish to unequivocally dismiss any such rumour or sponsored story planted in any medium that Rivers State APC had at any forum invited Mr. Wike to join our party none the least calling on Wike to take over leadership of a party he never campaigned for. We dare anyone to provide video evidence of any campaigns where Mr. Wike openly campaigned for the APC. The terror unleashed on our party members in the cause of his eight years maximum rulership alone is enough evidence to confirm that Wike has no business with Rivers State APC. Asking him to come and take over is asking an enemy to come and finish off his victims.
“Those who may be suffering from amnesia, a none APC member, cannot be cheerleader for the entry of Wike into APC. Nobody can decree his membership of a political party through radio or newspaper publications. All vexatious attempts at distracting our party in Rivers State will keep failing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the APC in Rivers State has a legally recognised state office where all official businesses are conducted. We also have standard procedures for convening our meetings according to our party’s constitution. Therefore, it is expedient for the public to be aware that village meetings or gatherings cannot equate with a stakeholders’ meeting of APC in Rivers State, especially a gathering that took place at a hotel belonging to such a non-APC member.
“We, therefore, disassociate the leadership of our party from any so-called stakeholders’ meeting suggesting that our party be handed over to Mr. Wike. We reiterate our party’s resolve to lend 100 per cent support to the policies and programmes of the Federal Government under the indefatigable leadership of our President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”