Obiora Ifoh, Abuja
The ruling All Progressives Congress APC, may be heading towards implosion as a member of the National Working Committee NWC of Hilliard Eta has taken his party leadership to the cleaners, saying crucial decisions are now taken in favour of moneybags.
“In my place, we have a saying that when a lizard falls into a ditch, it becomes a play thing for the fowl. The party has now become a play thing between the National Chairman and the National Organizing Secretary. Anybody who has money can procure anything”, he said.Eta who is the National Vice Chairman, South-South of the party made the declaration at the party’s national secretariat Friday in Abuja while addressing journalists on the festering crisis in the Cross River state chapter of the the APC.
He also accused the party’s Deputy National Chairman, South, Engr. Segun Oni of complicity in the matter.His accusations came days after a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu wrote the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, accusing him of acting based on financial inducements.According to him, what was expected of the party leadership was to have given all the necessary support to the reconciliation committee headed by a former Lagos state Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“From all intents and purposes, these issues are orchestrated…you know, the Asiwaju committee was constituted just a few days ago and these issue has been hanging on Cross River state since the appointment of the Minister. The question that you will now ask is how come that immediately after the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu committee was constituted by the president, the National Chairman the Deputy National Chairman, South and the National Organizing Secretary became so much in a hurry, so much interested and so much aggressive in their attempt to have this all-important chairman that they could not have in more than two years. What is the purpose?” he queried.
Explaining the issues in the Cross River chapter, he said; “There was a consensus in the Cross River state chapter that we should have a congress to bring in a substantive chairman since the erstwhile chairman had been appointed as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. That was the agreement by the people of Cross River state and based on that, I wrote on behalf of the zone to the National Working Committee NWC to give the zone the authority to conduct a congress to that effect and the NWC said I should liaise with the office of the National Organizing Secretary (headed by Sen. Osita Izunaso) for that purpose.
“We had set November 28 last year for that congress to happen but unfortunately, a member of the party went to court and got an injunction and served the processes on the party. So, based on the advice of the National Legal Adviser, we were asked to stay action as a party.
“So in the next NWC meeting when the matter of Cross Rivers came up I was asked to make comments on what happened and why we couldn’t conduct congresses and the resolution of the NWC was that because we were very close to conducting congresses nationwide, that all congresses to fill vacant positions in the country, not just in the state should be set aside and that all the vacant positions would be filled at the same time during the congresses that would be held simultaneously to bring in new executives. That was the resolution of the NWC.
“I was away and it was a surprise to me to receive a text message on my phone purportedly sent by the party’s Deputy National Chairman, South, Engr. Segun Oni inviting stakeholders of Cross River state to the secretariat ostensibly to discuss the issue of the chairmanship, in direct contrast and contravention to the position of the NWC.”
He said at the end of the meeting, Engr. Oni directed that the congress be held in the next five days.”I now wrote a letter handing over the matter of Cross River state to the Asiwaju-led reconciliation committee because in my thinking the crisis that engulfed the state chapter needs reconciliation before any congress is conducted”, he added.According to him, there was a violation of the relevant laws regarding having to give a 14 days notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC before any congress is conducted.
“If you read the Electoral Act and the constitution of the party and the nation, they were violated simply because the contrivance by Osita, the Minister of Niger Delta and the National Chairman of the party must come to pass regardless of how many laws are broken. First, for us to have a congress, the constitution says there has to be a 14 days notice given to the jurisdiction where the congress would happened. The notice was given verbally and Osita said the notice was given before November 28.
Eta added that only 109 statutory delegates participated in the purported February 24 congress organized by the party while INEC also refused to attend. According to him, six delegates from each of the 196 wards in the state were also not part of the said congress.
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