The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has announced the suspension of its gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State, Tonte Ibraye, and his running mate, Tonto Dike, two days before the Governorship and State Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, 18 March, 2023. This suspension is due to alleged anti-party activities and insubordination. Ode Lawrence-Gbagire (former State Deputy Chairman), Eke Iheanyi-Eugene (former State Secretary), Deinma Emmanuel (former Youth leader), Luckyman Egila (former Publicity Secretary), and Hamza Victor-Chukere (former Legal Adviser) have also been suspended.
The suspension follows recommendations by the State Disciplinary Committee, which was ratified by the State Working Committee of the party. According to a joint statement signed by the State Chairman of the party, Leader Sampson, the Deputy Chairman, Alali Ikpoemugh, and the State Secretary, Gabriel Patterson-Unyeowaji, since his emergence, Ibraye has caused more division in the party, particularly with his endorsement of a presidential candidate alongside his running mate and their “co-travellers.” Additionally, it was claimed that the ADC’s governorship candidate and his running mate have not shown any commitment to their campaign for the upcoming election, and have even worked against the senatorial district candidate in their areas.
The statement also urged members of the public to take note that the suspended individuals do not have the right to speak for the party. When contacted, the Director General of the Campaign Organization of the ADC candidate, Eke Eugene said that Sampson lacks the power to suspend them following his earlier suspension from the party.