(PUNCH) The choice of who becomes the next governor of Rivers State appears to have torn the Ijaw National Congress, an umbrella body of Ijaw people, apart.
INC members only fell short of exchanging blows during a press briefing organised to state their position on whether to vote for the All Progressives Congress candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, or his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party in the Saturday’s governorship election, Chief Nyesom Wike.
There was a heated argument on Wednesday between some INC executive members and other members of the group over the call on the people of the state by the congress to vote for the APC candidate, Peterside.
Members of INC are from the same ethnic nationality with President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also an Ijaw man.
The confusion caused by the altercation attracted the police and managers of the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt, venue of the press briefing, even as angry INC members continued to point fingers at the face of the INC President, Chief Boma Obuoforibo.
Some of the members had walked straight to where the INC president and other executive members of the body were seated and told them (INC executive) that they (INC members) were not part of the resolution to endorse Peterside.
The Financial Secretary of the INC, Eastern Zone, Mr. Frank Hart, read out a communique by the umbrella body of Ijaw people, disclosing that the INC had resolved to endorse a governorship candidate of Ijaw extraction.
The communique indicated that the Ijaw elders and leaders had without prejudice endorsed Peterside as the next governor of Rivers State.
It read, “Following the resolutions and communiques of the INC Eastern Zone in past programmes held in October 2013, June and September 2014, we hereby reiterate our resolve to endorse a governorship candidate of Ijaw extraction without prejudice to the political party, in the spirit of fairness, good faith and good conscience, which have guided Rivers people in electing our past leaders.
“In the light of this and in line with the time-honoured principle of power rotation, the Ijaw National Congress, Eastern Zone, the authentic voice of Ijaw people, Ijaw elders and leaders have endorsed Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside of the APC as preferred, most viable and qualified candidate of all,” the INC communique read.