The political imbroglio rocking the APC in Rivers State is almost similar to that of Zamfara State as top political gladiators in the two states engages in intra party rivalry, bitter politics which may ultimately consumed whatever chances the party has in the next election particularly for the governorship. That of Zamfara State is even worse as the APC is about to lose the seat it is occupying to the opposition PDP as a result of intense crisis that has defied solution.
Effectively, the APC has no gubernatorial candidate in the state. The party however seems determined to manipulate court processes and possible outcome in its favour even though it is very clear to both INEC, the opposition PDP and in fact all stakeholders including the feuding parties that there is indeed no APC gubernatorial primary election in the Zamfara. Efforts by Gov Abdulaziz Yari to impose a candidate through the back door using instrumentality of the court suffers a major setback yesterday when a federal high court seating in Port Harcourt and hearing a similar case on Monday nullified both the direct and indirect primaries conducted by two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.
In a landmark judgement that has set a clear precedence and which will make it practically difficult for the Zamfara APC to manipulate their way, Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court has also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising any candidates of the APC for the 2019 general elections in the state.
Two factions of the party had conducted parallel primaries that produced two sets of candidates.
While one faction, loyal to former Governor Rotimi Ameachi produced Tonye Cole as its candidate, the other loyal to serving senator, Magnus Abe, produced him as its own candidate.
The national secretariat of the APC however recognised Mr Cole as the authentic candidate of the party. His name was forwarded to INEC.
In a suit filed by Mr Abe, the court declared that the APC, for failing to respect the law, must bear the consequences of her disobedience to the law.
Justice Omotosho declared that both the direct and indirect primaries were held during the pendency of the suit at the Rivers State High Court.
The court, therefore held that the names sent by the Amaechi faction and the National Working Committee of the APC to INEC for the 2019 general elections were illegal and should be disregarded.
He added that the direct primaries conducted by the Magnus Abe faction were illegal because the National Working Committee of APC did not monitor or participate in the processes.
The judge added that the state high court was clear when it nullified all primaries and congresses held during the pendency of the suit, which included the direct primaries conducted by the Abe faction.
He said that both the Magnus Abe and the Amaechi factions have no leg to stand in view of the judgement, hence both factions are disqualified from participating in the elections.
The court held that the APC in Rivers State has no power to nominate and sponsor any candidates for the 2019 General elections.
The court ruled specifically that the APC cannot participate in the governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly elections during the 2019 polls in Rivers State.
With yesterday’s judgement which is almost a similar case to that of Zamfara, legal experts interviewed by DESERT HERALD are unanimous that there is no way any judgment can favour Zamfara APC to have a gubernatorial candidate and that doing will not only be in violation of the law but will undermine the independence of INEC in making clear pronunciations that are not in any way ambiguous. They said the Zamfara APC must be prepared to face the consequences of its disunity, crisis and lack of responsible leadership that can reconcile in the interest of the party.
The judgement has also favoured Zamfara PDP guber candidate, Bello Matawalle who has done so much in the past to become the governor but failed to make it to be the next occupant of Gusau Government House. To many citizens of the state, Matawalle as he is fondly called is the best choice for the state in view of the trying period inflicted on the state by few. They averred that Matawalle as a politician is experienced, highly committed to the cause of Zamfara and has been very decisive. Matawalle they said has been a bridge builder that can unite the state to confront the myriad of challenges affecting it. They said with the clear precedence set by the Rivers court, a federal high court, there is no option for the court than to do same justice in the case of Zamfara.