By Clifford Christopher Solomon
The political atmosphere in Degema Local Government Area is tense following the mass disqualification of aspirants seeking the Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP tickets for the local government elections billed for June 16.
The state was jolted by news Monday April16, 2018 that the Rivers State governor, Ezenwon Nyesom Wike has announced the qualification of all Degema aspirants for the LG election following a display of violence at a chairmanship candidates’ debate organized in Bakana.
Concerned individuals in the local government had organized the public debate to enable the electorate evaluate the capacities of the aspirants to be able ascertain who best to queue behind on election day.
The Degema Local Government debate was organized in Bakana community on Saturday, April 15, 2018 but it turned bloody and violent which caused the governor to announce the immediate disqualification of the aspirants.
The axed chairmanship aspirants are Hon Tony Philmoore, Prince Holleykins, Livingstone Braide, Ipalibo Sogules, Prince Amaye-Ombi, Agiobu Fubara and Bio Sogules.
The town hall debate was attended by five of the aspirants. It was alleged that Agiobu Fubara and Ipalibo Sogules and their Agaba boys caused the rift that brought down the hammer on the council aspirants.
The governor investigation revealed, had warned sternly at meetings to deal decisively with anyone causing violence in the course of election.
Speaking on the political development, a top political figure of the PDP, who spoke on condition of anonimity regretted that the incident took place in the LGA.
He said, “It is regrettable that such ugly news is coming from the local government area. The party will go by the order of His Excellency and we have been meeting to see how the issues would be resolved amicably. We have held a stakeholders meeting with the deputy governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is from the LGA to intervene and chiefs from the area will also meet with the governor to plead for mercy over his decision of disqualifying all the chairmanship and councillorship aspirants”.
On his part, Dr. Jacob Frank also a PDP stalwart said, “Governor Wike had warned earlier in a stakeholders meeting in Government House, that there should not be violence in this election, that if there be in any area, he would take action and unfortunately, some aspirants deviated from the governor’s order and resorted to shooting guns hence leading to their disqualification.
“If at all there is anyone to feel for it is those aspirants, who did not participate in such deadly attempt. This further proves that the PDP is not a violent party and does not believe in violence. This will serve as a deterrent to politicians who would want to toe the path of violence,” he stated. A top source told this publication that the governor is holding on to his pronouncement.
Meanwhile, council primaries in ASALGA have been suspended.