By Chinelo Obogo
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Magnus Abe, has turned down the invitation of the House of Representatives to appear before it over the spate of violence in Rivers State.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, Senator Abe accused Dogara of using his powers as the speaker to undermine the APC, while lending support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in Rivers State.
He alleged that the leadership of the House has been biased in its stance and consistently sided with Rivers PDP against the interest of APC.
His letter reads in part: ““I am in receipt of a letter of invitation from the House of Representatives Committee on the Army dated the 20th day of October, 2016, inviting me to attend a public hearing of a petition by the Civil Liberties Organisation, South-South zone against the Nigerian Army.
“Surprisingly, Mr. Speaker, the petition is signed by Mr. Livingstone Wechie, the arrowhead of Governor Nyesom Wike’s campaign of calumny against the APC in Rivers State. He is the vice chairman of the Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign publicity team, and was the pilot of the infamous Integrity Group that sponsored the petition against Chibuike Amaechi in the Senate. He is also the plaintiff in the suit to stop the swearing-in of Victoria Nyeche, member-elect of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“Mr. Speaker sir, I have read through the said petition and it is clear that the petition sponsored through your office is nothing but an ill-disguised attempt by the PDP to manipulate federal agencies and influence public opinion to secure undue advantage for it in the coming rerun elections. There has been a clear and consistent pattern of the PDP which ordinarily should have been the minority party using the National Assembly to tilt the political scales in Rivers State in their favour at decisive moments.
“This latest hearing instituted by your office is just another desperate attempt to embarrass the Nigerian Army in furtherance of the PDP agenda. If that were not the case, what is the point of inviting me and Barinaadaa Mpigi, the APC candidates in the rerun elections? Are we soldiers?
“These hearings are clear abuse of the constitutional powers of the House of Representatives and a violation of your oath of office wherein you swore to do right to all Nigerians.
“The speaker of the House of Representatives cannot be a speaker for only PDP in Rivers State and this is made even more painful when we remember that you were elected on the platform of the APC, the party you are now using the enormous powers of your office to persecute.
“It is disheartening that petitions of APC members to the office of the speaker have received no attention from your office, but every action of the House of Representatives as announced by Governor Wike is implemented to the letter. It is instructive to note that these hearings always come up whenever the Rivers rerun elections are slated, and this particular invitation I have received is no different. In the circumstances therefore, I am unable to honour this invitation and I urge you to refrain from taking any further action designed to influence the outcome of the forthcoming elections in Rivers State in favour of any political party.”