As Rivers APC Youth Accuse Tinubu of Neglect…

All is not well in the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State as youths are disenchanted with President Bola Tinubu for neglecting his party despite all they have had to endure in the hands of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state, writes Wale Igbintade

On Monday, September 4, 2023, a group, Concerned Youths of Rivers State APC, took to the streets, protesting over what “we have observed with total dismay, shock and a deep sense of abandonment at the continued neglect of members of the APC in Rivers State; most especially we, the younger generation.”

In an open letter handed to newsmen, the youth expressed regrets over the appointment of non-party members by President Bola Tinubu, saying it amounted to rewarding people who had used everything within their reach to fight APC’s growth in Rivers State.

The open letter, signed by the concerned youth party members from across the 23 local government areas of Rivers State, went further to enumerate the sad situations that had befallen members of the party since 2015 and particularly during the last general elections.      

“It is important to note that what we have as APC in Rivers State today are a combination of individuals who joined your journey from the Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) or even the grand merger of the All Progressives Congress (APC). These individuals exist, and have over the years devoted their time, energy, and resources to ensuring the progressive spirit remains resolute in Rivers State.

“Years have past and today our efforts have now yielded fruits in your election as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; sadly, rather than relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour in your victory, we are faced with what we consider as total disregard, neglect and victimisation by the same system we have toiled and suffered for over the years.

“We are amazed that under our government, card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Rivers State are being appointed and nominated into Federal Boards, Parastatals and Agencies at the detriment of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.

“This is a party that has severally suffered the high-handedness of the PDP and its leaders in the State who committed every resource at their disposal against us. These actions over the years have caused us pain, agony and loss. Most recently, we lost our fellow party member, Chiosom Lennard, during his attempt to defend the mandate of our great party from the hands of overzealous members of the opposition; properties damaged, and dreams shattered all because we stood for this party,” the youth stated.

They lamented that recent developments of appointing non-party members have left APC members in the state “nonplussed and extremely perturbed.”

“Sir, it is important to take a look at the provisions in our parties constitution: Article 9 (3) (iii) of the APC constitution states as follows “APC-led Governments at all levels shall accord qualified members of the party priority in appointments to positions in ministries, departments and agencies.

“As loyal party members of the APC who have paid our dues and made enormous sacrifices for the Party at different times right from its formative stages up till the general elections that ushered in your government, we find this situation utterly worrisome, especially, in light of our party’s misfortunes in the State which is very much known to the President”.

According to them, “we vehemently and outrightly condemn and reject the continued nomination PDP chieftains into federal boards, agencies and parastatals in our own government at the expense of our party in the State.

“We consider these nominations and appointments grossly offensive and a clear disregard to the sensibilities of our teeming loyal supporters as well as a threat to the continual survival of our party as they tend to further arm the PDP against the APC in Rivers State. This is not only capable of weakening the party further in the State, but also undermines party loyalty and commitment.

“We are fully aware of the disconnect between the state and federal organs of the party, which originated from the disrespectful hobnobbing and statements by some allies of Your Excellency who openly dined with the PDP actors in the State; and fueled by rumors, lies and the antics of same players. This is well known to us but shouldn’t be our waterloo.

“We call on Your Excellency who we know is a total party man and understands too well the importance of party sustenance through effective reward system, to quickly look into the matter and make amends in the interest of the party and its teeming members in Rivers State.

“We also invite you Mr. President to pay further attention to the provisions of Article 9 (3) (iii) of the APC constitution which states as follows “APC-led Governments at all levels shall accord qualified members of the party priority in appointments to positions in ministries, departments and agencies.”

While agreeing that the president has the prerogative of deciding who to appoint into any position he deems fit, they appealed to him to exercise such powers considerately in fairness to members of his party in Rivers State.

“Sir, It is our belief that you can find eminently experienced and highly qualified individuals in the party in Rivers State who can occupy such exalted position or any other position without jeopardizing his renewed hope agenda. Therefore, we appeal to you, Mr. President, to look within and pick a member of our party for such appointment in line with Article 9 (3) (iii) of the APC constitution,” they summed up.

The nomination of Boma Iyaye (from Rivers) as the Executice Director, Finance and Administration was received with  condemnation from other members of the APC in Rivers State, wondering why President Tinubu would abandon his party members and patronize those who never campaigned for, nor supported his presidential ambition.

According to a party member, Mr Sokari John, he said it is disheartening and regretable that the president could give all appointments due to the state so far to members of the PDP, while his own party members wallow in regrets.

He noted that President Tinubu was laying a very dangerous precedence that will hunt the APC for a long time to come, adding that members fought with blood, death and sweat to make the party stay alive in Rivers State.

Another party member, Chinedu Ahunanya, said he regretted ever supporting the APC at the general elections, while adding that several members of the party were threatened and injured for daring to preach the gospel of the APC in Rivers State.

“I have always had enormous respect for Asiwaju Tinubu, but I must say that I am terribly disappointed with his handling of APC in Rivers State.

“Where were these people when we laid down our lives for the APC to thrive in Rivers State? The people being appointed today never saw anything good in the party. Is this how a leader should behave? What moral right will he have to talk to us again? I am indeed disappointed with his style of politics.”

Recall that other states had protested in like manner, where members of opposition party had been nominated into the NDDC board, with the president being forced to replace them.

Ondo and Cross River had vehemently protested the nominations of Victor Kolade Akinjo and Asu Oku Okang respectively.

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