“Such people should not come and begin to pretend as if they are for APC. We are campaigning, we have campaigned and we are campaigning and will campaign and we are planning for victory of the APC right from 25th February to 11th March, all the elections.”
Fresh crisis is rocking the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress after a meetingto plan for the scheduled campaign of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, in Port Harcourt on February 15th, 2023 ended in a deadlock on Friday.
Also, some members of the APC PCC led by the Coordinator of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Vanguard popularly called BAT Vanguard in the South-South, Chief Tony Okocha, stormed out of the meeting.
The meeting which was said to be the first at the instance of the state’s APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, failed to achieve its purpose due to a disagreement over issues of interest within the party which includes lack of proper consultation, cohesion, among others.
It was gathered that Tonye Cole who conveyed the meeting did not show up over alleged ill-health and had delegated Rt. Hon Sekonte Davies, former member of the House of Representatives and former Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigeria Ports Authority, to preside over the meeting.
Sekonte was also the first and only Director, Finance and Administration of APC Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization.
But it was leant that besides the appointment of non-members of the PCC and ICC as chairmen of the seven committees Cole set up from his campaign council, Sekonte “is neither a member of the PCC nor ICC”, hence, the walkout from the meeting.
Speaking to newsmen on the walkout, Okocha expressed dismay that Cole never called for a meeting of the PCC and ICC where he would have acquainted himself with the authentic members of the two groups.
Okocha stated that Sekonte Davies cannot preside over the meeting since he was not a member of either of the groups.
He stated, “The meeting on Friday was for the PCC and the ICC members. Unfortunately, when we got there the people we saw were not PCC or ICC members.
“We discovered also that the seven committees that he (Tonye Cole) set up, I am the only person that he made chairman of the civil society organizations from this other side.
“He called for the meeting and could not attend on grounds that he was not feeling too fine. Sekonte cannot preside over a meeting that he is not a member.
“That is what informed our walkout. We have moved on and we are planning seriously for the Tinubu/Shettima campaign rally on February 15.”
Okocha noted that Cole was carrying a baggage that needs to be sorted out as quickly as possible.
He further said the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had accused the PDP of hobnobbing with APC in the state, saying, “Go round the state, you will notice that there is no billboard, posters or banner that carries Tonye Cole and that of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s pictures together”.
“The moral question to ask is who is Tonye Cole supporting as the presidential candidate? These are some of the issues we were supposed to discuss at the meeting if he had come in person.”
But in a swift reaction, Sekonte Davies said the meeting from which Okocha and his group walked out from was not a PCC meeting, but APC meeting.
He stated, “It is a meeting organized by Rivers APC in preparation for the hosting of National Campaign rally that is fixed for 15th February.
“It is by no means a PCC meeting. I am not a PCC member. And even if I am a member, what is there to hold on when I have been Director of Finance and Administration of the Presidential Campaign?
“So whatever insinuations people are making that Sekonte Davies is going to preside over a PCC meeting, I am qualified to preside over a PCC meeting because I have held an office higher than that. So it is not the issue.
“What I was appointed to chair is the APC Committee to host the national rally of the APC during which all our candidates starting from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as our Presidential candidate would be showcased.
“We have Asita Honourable as Senatorial candidate for Rivers West. We have Dr. Ndubuisi Nwankwo as our Senatorial candidate for Rivers East. We have Amb. Oji Ngofa as our Senatorial candidate for Rivers South-East.
“Then we have 13 House of Representatives candidates. Then we have our Governorship candidate, Acht Tonye Cole and 32 State House of Assembly candidates. That is what APC Rivers State stands for.”
Continuing, he said. “Anybody that says otherwise is not in this group. He is not a member of APC. That is the truth.
“If you are an NGO you are supporting one group, it is allowed. In APC we recognize NGO’s supporting candidates of their choice.
“Such people should not come and begin to pretend as if they are for APC. We are campaigning, we have campaigned and we are campaigning and will campaign and we are planning for victory of the APC right from 25th February to 11th March, all the elections.
“We have five elections. Three holding on the 25th February which is the Presidential, the Senate and the House of Representatives elections. And two on the 11 of March, which the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
“These are the things we are preparing for and I am chairman for the rally, and that is it. So anybody that says anything to the contrary is being economical with the truth.”