A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu has described as a sham and an open contempt of court the conduct of Saturday ward and local government congresses in the state.
He said the decision by the members of the party loyal to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva to go ahead with the congresses despite a subsisting court order at the State High Court and the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was the height of disregard for the Judiciary.
Frank-Oputu, who hails from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, maintained that the conduct of the congresses was a clear affront to the rule of law and disrespect to the order of the court by Sylva and his loyalists.
The APC Chieftain, who is loyal to the faction led by Hon. Ebierien Itubor Fala, allegedly having the backing of a former Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, called on the party leadership to sanction Sylva and the caretaker State Secretary, Alabo Martins for conducting the congresses against a subsisting Court order.
He said: “In Bayelsa we have a subsisting interlocutory injunction and as law-abiding party members we were not part of the sham conducted and called congresses. It is shameful and unreasonable that Chief Sylva because of ambition will go against the court order and tender his prepared lists to the national leadership. We learnt that they have arranged with some members of national leadership to accept the illegality and money will be paid.
“We are warning in strong terms, they should not drag Bayelsa to the repeat of what happened in Rivers State and Zanfara. I am also warning the national if they mean well for the party to sanction Sylva and his cohorts for disobeying court order and doing what no one has ever done in the history of politics in Nigeria.
“We all know that when a committee is sent for congresses and after the congresses, Appeal committees are set up and they will visit the states for complaints submitted. And they will make the report available to the national. They will ratify that one before you go to the next level of local government congresses. And at the local government congresses, even if it is by consensus, there is going to be voice votes by the elected delegates from the ward. Because once the ward delegates are elected, they automatically become the delegates for all other congresses. But in this case, can you do ward congresses on Friday and do local government congresses on Saturday? That shows they don’t know what they are doing”.
Frank-Oputu said the punitive measure against Sylva and Alabo Martins will clear the allegation against the party leadership that the illegal conduct of the congresses was carried out with the connivance of the National Caretaker Chairman of the Party and Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni due to gratification.
The party’s reputation is at stake and the party should redeem its image by doing the needful to those who perpetuate these illegalities”, he added.
He called on party loyalists in the state not to be daunted by the actions of Chief Sylva and his cohorts, calling on the people of Bayelsa and “all true progressives within the party not to be discouraged as the best is yet to come”.