From Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has dragged All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to court again over a disputed council election that has left the Ward 8 Councillorship seat vacant for three years at Oyigbo Local Government.
Since the council’s general elections in 2011, APGA’s candidate, Sunny Williams, who has won three repeated elections for Oyigbo Ward 8 has been denied occupation of the office by his PDP opponent, Chijoke Azu as a result of his opposition to the successive victories.
Following the last rerun election victory in which the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) issued the APGA winner a return certificate, an upset Williams told The Post that the PDP determination to perpetually deny his mandate has assumed a criminal dimension.
He said: “For the third time in April this year since 2011, the Oyigbo 8 Ward voters insisted through their votes that I am the man to represent them. In departure from the first two elections, RSIEC, the lead umpire affirmed the results by issuing me a return ticket. I can’t imagine why I am still not sworn in yet.
The Electoral law does not allow a vacuum where the umpire has issued a return ticket even in the face of litigation. I am supposed to be in office until any court proves otherwise. So I am calling on Governor Amaechi as the leader of PDP in Rivers to prevail on the Oyigbo Council Chairman to swear me in for the task of representing of my people.”
Barring the perceived inconsistency with the law, Williams also stressed that the latest tribunal action by PDP’s Azuh is shocking and baseless on its merits.
Azuh is asking the tribunal to disqualify Williams on the ground that Oyigbo West side of the locality where the APGA winner hails from and resides belongs to Obia/Akpor, a different local government area.
“Can you imagine? They have tried every antic and failed. Now they say Oyigbo West belongs to Obia/Akpor; Same Oyigbo West where Oyigbo Local Government collects revenues on street registration, tenement, sanitation, rents and other levies. It’s strange to what extent PDP can go to in killing democracy when they are on the losing side.”