Senator Abe at a media briefing at Freedom House, his campaign office in the new GRA of Port Harcourt, says the process that produced the delegates for the primary was not credible.
He however said that he must be on the ballot for next year’s election, but did not give details whether or not he would challenge the result in court or decamp to another political party to achieve his dream.
A factional leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, has reacted to the Supreme Court verdict which affirmed the sacking of the party’s ex-chairman chairman of the caretaker committee in the state, Igo Aguma.
Abe, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, said the decision of the court should afford the APC an opportunity to put its house in order.
The party’s chieftain, who represented southeast Senatorial District in the Eighth Assembly, said Aguma’s decision to dump the party is his personal choice.
“Chief Igo Aguma as you would recall became chairman by virtue of a court judgement when he tried to intervene in a crisis. He was actually a member of the Minister’s faction,” he said.
“He was not part of us originally so his leaving is a personal decision. Like everybody knows in this country, every adult is free to associate with whomever he wants to associate with. He took the decision of the court to mean that the party will not respond to the issues.
“But we took the decision of the court to see it as a fresh opportunity for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to put its house in order.”
According to Abe, his camp is willing to give peace a chance in the interest of the party in the state, noting that it is the responsible thing to do.
The ex-lawmaker also explained that his decision to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a few years ago for the APC was as a result of impunity and injustice.
While noting that the APC is not a mere political party, he said the decision to form the party was an idea conceived in 2014 for a better Nigeria.
He, therefore, called on party members and supporters to make sacrifices to ensure that the better Nigeria becomes a reality.
On the decision to end the legal tussle rocking the Rivers APC, Abe insisted that it is an avenue for the party to consider some challenges and resolve them.
When asked if his decision would resolve the rift he has with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the APC chieftain said he has no rift with the ex-governor of Rivers State.
Abe’s remarks come two days after the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals filed by a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and the ex-caretaker committee chairman of the party in Rivers State, Igo Aguma over Mr. Aguma’s sack.
In a unanimous judgment, a five-man panel of the apex court upheld the December 29, 2020 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which set aside an earlier judgment of the high court of Rivers State.
Senator Magnus Abe believes Nigeria needs to fix its political system for things to start working well for its people.
He is of the opinion that restricting the influence of powerful politicians on the way political parties operate will go a long way in setting the country on the right path to progress.
Abe, who is a former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, made the remarks during his appearance on the Friday edition of Channels Television’s Hard Copy.
“That is the point I am trying to make to you that if we change the way we run our parties and build them around the people, make them strong so that they are not owned by powerful individuals, a lot of things in our country will change,” he said.
The remarks by the former governorship candidate were in reaction to the crisis rocking the APC chapter in Rivers State.
He spoke about his disagreement with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, whom he claimed took actions that led the party to its present situation in the state.
While the minister was not readily available to respond to the allegation, Abe said he had a discussion with Amaechi before the 2019 general elections.
According to him, the discussion centred on his ambition to leave the Senate and pursue his ambition to become the governor of Rivers State.
He said while he had yet to officially make his intention known, Abe said Amaechi vowed not to support him and allegedly warned the APC leaders and members in Rivers against doing the same.
The former governorship candidate attributed this to the cause of the crisis within the APC in the state, saying he did not regret leaving the Senate to pursue his governorship ambition.
He stressed that the only way Nigeria would work was to change the way the political parties in the country operate.
“If you want something, you don’t think that it is going to be easy? Right not, how a party operates is simple: we form the party, you are the leader; so, whatever you want is (what) the party (must want), anybody who doesn’t agree with you ports to the next party,” Abe said.
He added “That is just how this country has been run and I do not think that if you talk to the majority of Nigerians, that is the kind of political party that they hope for and they expect or that they think would be capable of turning around the life of this country.
“So, when the idea of a different political party with a different set of values and rules, built around the integrity of a man that Nigerians believe and know that will stand by what is right came up, everybody thought that this was where we were going to make the difference.”
Former representative of Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has warned that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike’s ‘draconian measures’ to fight against the spread of Coronavirus will prove counter productive if he fails to give his policies a human face.
This is as he stated that the war against the pandemic is fundamentally about collective humanity and therefore must be fought on strictly humane and just terms.
Abe, in a statement on his Facebook page, titled: “A Dangerous Gamble” said, the demolition and auction of private property, the closure of all sources of survival for citizens of Rivers State without due consideration to their means of sustenance in the name of the battle against COVID-19, are draconian measures that will prove counter productive in the long run.
The statement reads in parts: “I am constrained to say these few words on the worrisome development in my dear State, Rivers.
“Lockdowns should come with clear provisions for the sustenance of the people, particularly the vulnerable population (the young, the old, the sick and the infirm) and exemptions must be made for emergency and essential services, such as foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, press, medical care, and security services, electricity, telecom, fuel supply etc”.
The senator cautioned that even in times of physical warfare, such actions of the governor is a war crime, because power without compassion is tyranny, he maintained.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain asserted that Rivers State war against COVID-19 at the present rate “runs the risk of dividing the state into two distinct camps, those who support the Governor and will justify, glorify and applaud any action taken by the Rivers State Government no matter how callous and ill-advised, and those who oppose the governor and will oppose every action of the state government no matter how well thought out or well intentioned the action may be”.
He argued that in the face of glaring excesses, everyone will be compelled to choose one side or the other, and our state will suffer.
Abe said: “This need not be so; there is still time for the Rivers State Government to reconsider its strategy, and understand that this is a scientific war against a virus and all of us will need to be involved.
At this rate, the government may win the lockdown battle and lose the war. COVID-19 is going to be here for some time and we need the goodwill and cooperation of the majority of our people to win the war against this virus.
True victory will be when we survive united in utmost solidarity and our economy rebounds as we hope for recovery and prosperity.
This war is fundamentally about collective humanity, it must, therefore, be fought on strictly humane and just terms”.
The Federal High court in Port Harcourt had on January 7, nullified the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the two factions of the APC in the state.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho, who presided over the case also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections.
He said none of the primaries were conducted according to the law, noting that the INEC did not do well by submitting names of candidates without consideration of previous court orders.
Following the court’s ruling, Senator Abe filed an appeal against the nullification of the party’s primaries at the Supreme Court.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court is hearing a motion filed by Senator Magnus Abe of the All Progressives Congress (APC), seeking the leave of the court to amend his notice of appeal on the Rivers State Governorship primaries.
The apex court panel is led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohammed.
Senator Abe who is a factional leader of the APC in the state wants the court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary polls conducted by the two factions of the party in 2018.
The motion dated March 1, 2019, is predicated on eight grounds and an affidavit of urgency among which the matter being a pre-election suit must by law be determined within 60 days.
Listed as respondents are Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and 34 others.
The Supreme Court has adjourned till April 4 to hear all pending appeals relating to the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
A seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ibrahim Muhammad fixed the date for hearing on all the various appeals after addressing some preliminary issues on the appeals.
The appeals are SC/ 1972019 filed by Senator Magnus Abe and some others, with APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) listed as the respondents; SC 295/ 20019 filed by APC, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) listed among the respondents.
Other appeals are SC 266 filed by APC with Senator Abe and others as respondents and SC/267/2019 filed by Mr Tonye Cole with Senator Abe and 48 others as respondents.
The court granted the motion by the APC, represented by Mr Jibrin Okutepa for permission to merge the different respondents’ briefs, earlier filed by the second to the thirty-fifth respondents, into a single brief.
But it rejected a similar motion filed by the appellants’ lawyer, Henry Bello, for leave permission to amend the notice of appeal on grounds that Mr Bello failed to attach the old notice of appeal to the motion, as required.
The apex court ordered appellants to file their reply to the respondents’ brief of argument within 48 hours.
The three appeals were adjourned till April 4 to allow the formal service of hearing notices and all other processes on INEC, which was not represented in court.
Senator Abe, a factional leader of the APC in Rivers, is praying the apex court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary polls conducted by the two factions of the party in 2018.
The motion dated March 1 was predicated on eight grounds and affidavit of urgency among which was that the matter, being a pre-election suit, must by law be fully determined within 60 days.
The Supreme Court will on March 26, begin hearing in the appeal seeking the determination of the authenticity of the direct primary conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State for the nomination of its candidates for the 2019 general election.
APC factional governorship candidate in the state, Senator Magnus Abe is asking the apex court to make a final pronouncement on the legality of both direct and indirect primary polls conducted by the party’s two factions last year.
When the matter was mentioned, Senator Abe’s counsel, Mr. Henry Bello, moved a motion praying the court to amongst others grant an accelerated hearing in the matter, an abridgment of time for parties to file their processes and a definite date for the hearing of the appeal.
He predicted the motion on 8 grounds and an affidavit of urgency because the matter is a pre-election appeal and must be determined within 60 days by law.
The lawmaker representing Rivers South East district in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, says he will appeal the court ruling which nullified the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Reacting to the judgement in an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday, the lawmaker stated that it would be unfair to the party supporters if he doesn’t act on the ruling.
“I believe that the next step is for us to go to the Court of Appeal,” he said in a Skype interview on Sunrise Daily.
“I don’t think that justice is served in a situation where over 150,000 members of the APC who did the right thing, did not disobey the law and followed the law would be disenfranchised just like that.”
Senator Abe’s comments come one day after a Federal High court in Port Harcourt nullified the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the two APC factions in Rivers.
The court had also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising the governorship candidates of the factions – Abe and Tonye Cole.
The presiding judge, Justice Kolawole Omotosho, held that none of the primaries were conducted according to the law.
But Senator Abe insisted that the platform on which he contested for the APC ticket was the legal faction of the party in the state.
He said, “In the eyes of the law, that is the only legal primary that was done. There are several primaries that were conducted even in this particular dispensation that were not supervised by the National Working Committee, but which the National Working Committee accepted.”
He, however, said it was up to the party to see how it would overcome its challenges and resolve the internal crisis in the state.
A Federal High court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, has nullified the direct and indirect primaries conducted by the two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The court, presided over by Justice Kolawole Omotosho, also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections.
The judge said none of the primaries were conducted according to the law. He noted that the INEC did not do well by submitting names of candidates without consideration of previous court orders.
One of the counsels to the APC factions however told journalists that the judgement will be appealed at the Supreme Court.
Crisis erupted in the Rivers APC during the governorship primaries held in 2018 in the state.
Senator Abe in a direct governorship primary conducted by a faction of the APC was declared winner after he got 144, 929 votes. In an indirect primary held in the state by another faction of the APC, Cole was declared the winner with 3,329 votes.
The national leadership of the APC, however, submitted Cole’s name as its candidate insisting he emerged from the primary conducted by the party.
The lawmaker representing Rivers South East, Senator Magnus Abe, has faulted the coalition formed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and over 30 other parties.
Senator Abe was confident that although the parties were trying to copy the All Progressives Congress (APC), they can’t achieve the success recorded by the ruling party.
“What is happening now is a very poor imitation of what we did to the PDP during the last elections,” the former PDP member said during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
“It’s just people trying to imitate what has happened before without knowing that the circumstances and environment have changed dramatically, and what worked at that time is not necessarily what will work now,” the senator added.
Unlike the PDP coalition, he said the APC was able to penetrate the then ruling PDP and win aggrieved strong members of the party into its fold.
According to Abe, the ruling party cracked the PDP by pulling out about six governors of states which the opposition party would have leveraged to retain power in the 2015 elections.
He said, “When we left (the PDP), we walked out of the convention with governors, with senators, and we shook the party from its very foundation; nothing like that has happened here.”
“In this new movement that you are seeing here, I didn’t see any selling governor seated in that hall. You have 40 political parties – some of these parties don’t even have a councillor, some don’t even have offices and what is the impact of that?” the lawmaker questioned.
He insisted that the coalition would have no effect on the APC, although the party may have some challenges in Kwara if the Senate President and the governor should leave.
Senator Abe was optimistic that the APC leadership under the watch of Adams Oshiomhole would do its best to address the concerns of aggrieved party members.
“What I would say is that clearly in the All Progressives Congress, mistakes have been made within the party … but the emergence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has given hope that some of these issues can and will be addressed,” he said.
The PDP leadership had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with that of 38 other political parties to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in 2019.
Several reactions have continued to trail the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congresses which held in several parts of the country on Saturday.
Some of the party chieftains from Rivers State on Monday expressed disagreement over the conduct of the ward congress on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where they both featured as guests.
While the Senator representing Rivers East, Magnus Abe insisted that electorates were scared by shooting from exercising their civic duties, Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Chris Finebone, maintained that the exercise was a success despite security threats.
“No congresses held in Rivers State. The timeline is clearly impossible for anybody to meet up with. I came to the police station at about five’o clock when I heard that a member of the House of Representatives was being detained at the police station and when I got there, nobody was there selling any form. No form was sold.
“SARS was in my own ward as early as eight. I was still in my bathroom when they were shooting in my village and I told everybody to withdraw. So you see pictures, all over the internet of voting in Senator Abe’s ward. At eight’o clock, nine’o clock, that (the shootings) was going on in my own ward,” Abe said.
However, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Chris Finebone maintains the exercise was a success despite attempts to frustrate the process. He insisted that forms were sold despite threats by some people who were agitating.
“We decided to take the bull by the horn and sell forms. The problem was getting those who have been agitating and choked up the secretariat to clear. Even when those who were given the task to sell the form tried to enter there (the Secretariat), the police advised them to enter the police station. (due to the agitations)
“They (those carrying the form) now called us to complain that they cannot enter the secretariat that until they clear the place, they won’t be able to sell the forms.
“That was why the commissioner of police now took action that they to them abandoning all they took from the secretariat. So forms were now sold around 5’oclock,” Finebone explained.
Senator Abe, however, claimed that the information which Finebone revealed on national television was not made available to any member or leader of the party.