Fresh crisis hits Rivers APC over Tinubu

A new crisis has rocked the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress after a meeting to plan the party's presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu's, campaign in Port Harcourt on February 15th, 2023, ended in a deadlock on Friday. 

In addition, some APC PCC members, led by the Coordinator of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Vanguard, also known as the 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 request of the state's APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, failed to achieve its goal due to a disagreement within the party over issues of interest such as lack of proper consultation and cohesion, among others. 

It was gathered that Tonye Cole, who had conveyed the meeting, did not show up due to alleged illness and had delegated the meeting to Rt. Hon Sekonte Davies, former member of the House of Representatives and former Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Nigeria Ports Authority. 

Sekonte was also the APC Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization's first and only Director of Finance and Administration. 

However, it was revealed that, aside from the appointment of non-members of the PCC and ICC as chairmen of the seven committees Cole established from his campaign council, Sekonte "is neither a member of the PCC nor ICC," thus the walkout from the meeting. 

Speaking to reporters during the walkout, Okocha expressed disappointment that Cole never called for a meeting of the PCC and ICC where he could have become acquainted with the genuine members of the two groups. 

Sekonte Davies, according to Okocha, cannot preside over the meeting because he is not a member of either group. 

"The meeting on Friday was for PCC and ICC members," he explained. Unfortunately, the people we encountered 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 the meeting but was unable to attend because he was not feeling well. Sekonte cannot preside over a meeting in which he is not a participant. 

"That is what prompted our strike. We've moved on, and we're making serious preparations for the Tinubu/Shettima campaign rally on February 15." 

Okocha observed that Cole was carrying baggage that needed to be resolved as soon 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 topics we were supposed to discuss if he had come in person." 

However, in a swift response, Sekonte Davies stated that the meeting from which Okocha and his group walked out was an APC meeting, not a PCC meeting.

"It is a meeting organized by Rivers APC in preparation for the hosting of a National Campaign rally on February 15th," he explained. 

"This is not a PCC meeting. I am not a member of the PCC. Even if I am a member, what is there for me to hold on to when I was the Director of Finance and Administration for 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's not an 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 Senatorial candidate Asita Honourable for Rivers West. Dr. Ndubuisi Nwankwo is our Rivers East Senatorial candidate. Our Senatorial candidate for Rivers South-East is Amb. Oji Ngofa. 

"Then there are 13 House of Representatives candidates. Then there's Governor Acht Tonye Cole and 32 State House of Assembly candidates. That is what the APC Rivers State represents." 

He continued, he said. "Anyone who says otherwise is not a member of this group. He is not an APC member. That is correct. 

"It is permissible for an NGO to support one group. APC recognizes non-governmental organizations that support candidates of their choice. 

"Such people should not come and pretend to be supporters of the APC. We are campaigning, we have campaigned, we will campaign, and we are planning for the APC to win all of the elections from February 25th to March 11th. 

"There are five elections. The presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives elections all take place on February 25th. And two on March 11th, for 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 anyone who says otherwise is playing fast and loose with the truth."

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