Governors in the Peoples Democratic Party are angry over the verdict of the River State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, which, on Saturday, sacked Mr. Nyesom Wike as governor of the state.
Their anger is further amplified as Wike’s sacking came few days after a similar tribunal ordered a rerun of governorship election in 18 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, where the electoral victory of Mr. Udom Emmanuel, a member of the party, is also in a contest.
The Rivers tribunal on Saturday asked Wike to vacate his office and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to organise a fresh election in the state within 90 days.
It was learnt that as a result of the new developments, the governors are to meet and discuss the implications of such judgments to the survival of the former ruling party.
The two affected states are oil-rich and are considered to be critical to the funding of the party ahead of its plan to re-strategise for the 2019 elections.
It was gathered that the PDP governors’ ‘emergency meeting’ is tentatively scheduled to hold on Friday.
Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH on condition of anonymity, a PDP governor said, “These judgments are targeted at killing the PDP and we have to do something about it.
“We want to discuss where we can come in to boost the morale of the affected governors and assure them that their cases are not beyond redemption.
“We still have the opportunity of appealing the two verdicts up to the Supreme Court. And thank God, the new law doesn’t empower the tribunals to declare anyone elected. So, our hope is rekindled on this.”
The Administrator of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu, confirmed that the opposition governors had called for an emergency meeting this week.
He said, “Yes, it is true that the PDP governors have called an emergency meeting, which is holding for Friday.
“They will discuss the judgements and take a joint position on them. Naturally, they won’t be happy. But they are meeting to discuss the issue.”
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP has declared the judgment that sacked Wike as bizarre and unacceptable.
It alleged that the judgment was and part of the script by the All Progressives Congress to manipulate the will of the people.
The National Publicity Secretary, PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, said indications to the judgment, which he described as spurious, had months ago been hinted to the opposition party.
Metuh said, “We invite Nigerians and the international community to recall various reprehensible steps taken by the APC government that culminated in this ruling, as well as the ridiculous Wednesday’s verdict of the Akwa-Ibom State governorship election tribunal also sitting in Abuja.”
Metuh said the relocation of the elections tribunals from their states to Abuja without any justification and the alleged constant juggling of judicial officers and members of governorship elections tribunal in PDP states, especially, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states, were part of the reasons.
Metuh said, “The bias in the judgment against the PDP in Rivers as well as Akwa-Ibom is evidenced in the contradictions inherent in the trial process of the two cases and the verdicts therein, whereby the tribunals clearly disregarded standing legal norm that a petitioner must establish proof of claims.
“Also curious is the fact that after both the petitioner and respondent agreed before the tribunal that both card reader and manual accreditations were used for the election, the tribunal still went ahead to base its decision on issues of card reader.
“While it is convenient to them to use legal technicalities to deny PDP victory in Imo, Lagos, Ogun and Yobe states, the same rules are misapplied to wickedly favour APC petitioners in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom States.