The current legal tussle between Dr. Farah Dagogo, Federal House of Representatives Member representing Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency and Rivers State Government led by Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, if not properly handled may go the way of All Progressives Congress Rivers State Chapter. In the case of Ibrahim Umar and 22 others who paid money to purchase delegates form but were prevented from fully participating in the aforementioned Congresses held by Rivers State Chapter for House of Assembly, Federal House of Representatives, Senate and Governorship. The ruling by the Supreme Court on Ibrahim Umar and 22 others against APC and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a good reminder of Dr. Farah Dagogo. First, is the fact that Dr. Farah Dagogo had purchased Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms and made himself available for screening but was prevented from doing so as he was arrested on the orders of the governor who saw his action of sponsoring protesters as alleged by those who came to the venue of the screening of aspirants. The two-count charges of illegally possessing firearms allegedly has brought out a scenario that prevented APC from participating in the 2019 elections.
City People Magazine’s Port Harcourt Bureau Chief, Emeka Amaefula here reveals real reasons why PDP may not be on the ballot papers for the governorship election come 2023. The case is currently at Port Harcourt High Court where Dr. Farah Dagogo, a governorship aspirant is standing trial. The true picture of Dr. Dagogo being ordered by a Federal High Court sitting at Port Harcourt to be released from Police custody but the Rivers State Attorney General Honourable, Prof. Zacheua Adago and Chief of Staff Honourable Engr. Emeka Woke were not comfortable as he was still detained with poor health. Later, Farah Dagogo was taken to Police Clinic where he was diagnosed with stomach ulcer of worsening condition so much so that he was brought to the High Court of Port Harcourt premises on Monday 16th of May, 2022 as he took plea and was recalled at Federal Maximum Correctional Center, Port Harcourt.
The question on the lips of many political pundits is does a citizen not have the fundamental right of participating in an electoral exercise when no court of competent jurisdiction had convicted or found him wanting in any of the conditions stipulated by INEC as qualifications for participation in governorship election?
Allegation of Dr. Farah Dagogo aligning himself with Atiku Abubakar, a frontline PDP presidential aspirant who is being trailed behind by Nyesom Wike, whose PDP Presidential aspiration has reached feverish stage, is all over the place. Another information from the grapevine has it that Rivers State Governor Wike wanted to maintain a clean slate of political fiefdom where he is accused to have purchased 42 forms including those of State Governor, 32 State House of Assembly members, 13-Federal House of Representatives and 3-Senatorial seats Expressions of Interest and Nomination Forms. That he has a long-drawn list of these PDP Party loyalists and he decides which political office that they should run. But not Dr. Farah Dagogo who is said to have been in the good books of Governor Wike who has known him in the past as Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta M.E.N.D Operations Director for one of the Niger Delta Resource Control agitating groups. Gov. Wike is said not to be happy with him. First, he went to the PDP Abuja Office and purchased the Expression of Interest and Nomination Form without obtaining express permission from Governor Wike. Again, Dr. Farah Dagogo is being accused of doing the same thing Governor Wike did by purchasing 48 elective position Expressions of Interest and Nomination Forms. This is considered as an affront to the political family Governor Wike intends to establish where he will have absolute control of who gets what and who occupies any political position in Rivers State. Dr. Farah Dagogo as speculated was instrumental to electing Governor Wike into office in 2015 and he was quickly compensated with a ticket to the Rivers State House of Assembly representing Degema State Constituency. In 2019, he was given a slot to the Federal House of Representatives for Bonny Island/Degema Federal constituency. Now in 2023 Dr. Farah Dagogo wants to be voted in as Governor of Rivers State which Governor Wike is objecting to with the coercive instrument of the state.
The music is just starting and if the situation is not controlled, it might affect the fortunes of PDP in presenting a Governorship candidate in the 2023 governorship election thereby following APC’s 2019 experience with Supreme Court finally ruling that APC cannot exclude an aspirant from participating in an election which is the fundamental right of every citizen especially one that has purchased form with official document presented such as receipt and the form itself. Supreme Court, in the case of Ibrahim Umar and 22 others were asked to present themselves whenever APC will organize any Local Government Area Congress. This may not be unconnected with what happened on Wednesday, 18th of May, 2022 as the disruption and shooting that took place at Rivers State chapter of APC along Woji Road GRA Phase 2, Port Harcourt has the colouration of repeat of the 2018 internal war between supposed delegates loyal to Senator Magnus Abe against Supporters of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. This is because those delegates will be the ones that will elect governors in the State Convention. Whereas the leader of APC in Rivers State supports Tonye Cole, Senator Magnus Abe actually presents himself for internal democracy to throw up who will be the governorship flag bearer in the 2023 governorship election in Rivers State.