Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress is boiling again following the rejection of Igo Aguma as the acting chairman of the party by 28 out of the 38 statutory members of the Caretaker Committee.
The statutory members, who rose from their meeting in Port Harcourt, the state capital, suspended Aguma as the acting Chairman and immediately formed another caretaker committee led by a former Director, Directorate of Finance and Administration, APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Dr. Sokonte Davies.
Addressing journalists, the statutory members said Aguma was acting against the spirit and letters of the state High Court judgement that made him a caretaker chairman.
But Aguma, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Livingstone Wechie, denied all the allegations and called on all APC members to unite for peace in the party.
Reading a document containing the position of the statutory members, Senator Andrew Uchendu, recalled that the caretaker committee ordered by Justice G.O. Omereji comprised all statutory members of the party with Aguma as the chairman.
He, however, said, “Aguma, in violent disobedience, disregard and disrespect to the said judgment, constituted himself into a sole administrator, relegating, abandoning and disregarding majority of the statutory members of the state Executive Committee and taking critical decisions that affect the party all by himself.
“Aguma, in disobedience of the Judgment which he obtained, called a meeting of the statutory members of the state executive committee on 14th June, 2020 via zoom platform and deliberately refused to give the user identity number and password number for the meeting to majority of the statutory members of the State Executive Committee, thereby shutting them out of the meeting.
“Even when he managed to send the user ID and Password to some persons, he made sure he sent same after the meeting had been concluded. Aguma, has by his deliberate actions and inactions festered the crisis in the Party rather than take steps to abate same and this has worsened the situation and condition of our great party.”
Uchendu said without authorisation from the statutory members, Aguma had been operating from his private residence instead of the state secretariat of the party, against the advice of majority of the statutory members.
He said without seeking approval of the committee and acting beyond his power, Aguma filed an action at the High Court of Rivers State against the APC, which led to a court order purporting to have removed Chief Victor Giadom from office as a national officer and subsequently suspending him from the party.
Uchendu said Aguma, without the authorisation purportedly nominated Mr. Worgu Boms to replace Chief Victor Giadom as a national officer of the party, insisting that he lacked the power to carry out such a function.
He explained that the zoom meetings called by Aguma did not have the required quorum under Article 26 of APC Constitution and were not valid and lawful enough to bind the party.
He said, “The judgment of Hon. Justice G. O. Omereji in PHC/4355/2019 did not constitute Hon. Igochukwu Aguma into a sole administrator for the party. Rather, the judgment clearly constituted the statutory members of the State Executive Committee into a Caretaker Committee.
“To give effect to the judgment, every statutory member of the state executive committee is a member of the said caretaker committee and must be part of the decision making process of the River State Chapter of the APC and every such decision must be by majority vote after quorum has been formed.
“Hon. Igochukwu Aguma is hereby suspended as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the APC, Rivers State chapter. This is pursuant to the powers of discipline vested in the State Executive Committee under Article 21 of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress 2014 (as Amended).
“Rt. Hon. Sokonte Davies has been selected by majority vote at this meeting to lead the Caretaker Committee of the APC, Rivers State chapter pending the conduct of fresh Congresses to fill the vacant positions in the organs of the party at all levels.
“Actions taken by Hon. Igochukwu Aguma purportedly in the name of the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State Chapter do not bind the Party, being actions taken contrary to the provisions of Article 26 of the APC Constitution and the Judgement in PHC/4355/2019.
“Henceforth, all actions taken by Hon. Igochukwu Aguma in the name of the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress shall not bind the Party, Hon. Aguma having been suspended. Committee shall be set up to investigate the sundry activities of Hon. Igochukwu Aguma which border on contempt of Court and anti-party activities.”
But Wechie said Aguma had been busy rebuilding the party and instituting a process of reconciling all members, adding that all the meetings held so far were properly publicised to carry all members of the committee along.
He said, “It is known fact that prior to this time, the APC in Rivers state had been polarised into various factions and this is not new to the public and Party members. The factionization of the APC in the state resulted in the opening up of two factional offices in the state along Aba road in Port Harcourt, respectively.
“Upon the assumption of office by the Igo Aguma-led State Executive Committee of the Party, it became important in keeping with our resolve to restore peace and reconciliation in the party to acquire a new office complex that will be neutral to all as using either of the two former factional offices would not promote reconciliation.
“Party members are aware that during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings of large numbers are held virtually, especially when some of the members are in their fifties. This we have done successfully so far.
“The meetings so far held by the APC executive committee in Rivers state were widely publicised and well-advertised on national dailies and other media platforms. Also there is a platform where all Executive Committee members of APC Rivers state are participants and every detail of meetings and relevant matters are always available to all.
“As a party that respects the rule of law and enforces same, it is not strange that when you wield the big stick to discipline any member of our party for any act of indiscipline, reactions of this sort will not be unexpected. May I state that the so-called suspension of the Chairman of the APC is of no effect and defunct.
“The Chairman Rt. Hon. Igo Aguma denies all allegations in the purported press statements and renews his call for all Party men and women to close ranks and join him to restore peace in the party.”