Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
A former Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wogu Boms, has disputed the claims that last Tuesday’s Court of Appeal judgment was against the factional caretaker committee of Rivers chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, loyal to Senator Magnus Abe.
Boms was the Director-General of the Senator Magnus Abe 2019 Governorship Campaign Organisation.
He told journalists in Port Harcourt that contrary to reports, the judgment which affirmed that Isaac Ogbobula of the faction of the party loyal to Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was the authentic caretaker committee chairman of Rivers APC, did not set aside Justice Omereji’s earlier judgment that was in favour of the Abe’s faction of the party.
Boms said what the Appeal Court did was to strike out the second case which the faction loyal to the Amaechi appealed against for lack of jurisdiction as a pre-election matter.
Boms therefore argued that judgment of the Supreme Court affirming the rights of the Ibrahim Umah and thousand others, loyal to Abe who purchased forms to participate in botched Congress of APC in May 2018 will be the basis for participation in any future Congress of the party.
Most of those denied participation in the botched 2018 Congress were loyalists of Sen. Abe. They had consequently dragged the party to court where they secured a favourable.
Rivers State High Court presided over by Justice George Omereji ,now retired, had cautioned the party against impunity for denying candidates who had paid for forms from participating in the party Congress.
Boms posited that Court of Appeal restored the rights of those who purchased forms for the botched May 2018 party Congress to own the party and that this was reaffirmed in the same Appeal Court judgment that sacked Igo Aguma as the caretaker committee chairman of Rivers APC.
“The judgment remains unchanged and cannot ever be altered by anyone, no matter how highly placed, as the Judgment of the Supreme Court, according to the Supreme Court itself, ‘is for all time and for all ages’”.
“So, the rights of all the Ibrahim Umahs who paid for forms to contest for the Congresses are preserved for as long as it takes the APC to organize the Congresses and until the Congresses are validly held with their participation, unless they themselves decide not to participate. It is a decision that can never ever be academic. It will stand until it fulfills that for which it was decided.
The former Attorney General further explained when that time comes for congresses to be organized by APC, they will not need to pay for forms anymore, having already previously paid for the same, unless they decide not to participate again.
He lashed at the faction loyal to Amaechi for lampooning Justice Omereji in a press conference addressed by Isaac Abott Ogbobula two days ago.
“No one can intimidate us it will not work. No power exist in this world to stop anyone access to justice. The Rivers State Judiciary is here to hear us. No judge in Rivers should fall for any cheap blackmail by the other faction of APC. They should open even on Sundays whenever we feel aggrieved to seek justice.”
He announced that the faction has opened a litigation appeal fund reserved for members who feel oppressed so that they can access justice.
“We hereby open litigation funds for any of our members who want to go to court. To provide funding for such persons,” he said.
In a similar development, Charles Befil Nwile, former Deputy Speaker Rivers House of Assembly and the Secretary of Organizing Committee of the faction said APC will participate in the forthcoming local government election of the state.
According to him, the election planning committees in all the 23 Local Government areas as set up by former Chairman Igo Aguma have been given the additional mandate of collecting and collating evidence of payment for forms for the May 2018 Ward Congress from all party members who paid at the relevant time in preparation for the Congress of the party.
When Nwile was asked if the national body of APC will endorse his faction’s participation in an election to be organised by the Rivers State Election Commission, RSIEC, headed by the same Justice George Omereji who was accused of bias by Amaechi’s faction, the former Deputy Speaker answered in affirmative.
“It is an internal party matter. We have confidence in the leadership of RSIEC for credible conduct of the local government Election. We’ll participate and win”.
He congratulated Hon. Golden Ben Chioma on his emergence as the new caretaker chairman of their faction.