…Aggrieved Members Rejects Segun Oni-led Committee Recommendation
By David Inameti
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has intervened in the crisis rocking the party in Cross River State and has set aside all existing suspensions of officers.
Reports indicated that the decision was arrived at in a meeting chaired by the National Vice Chairman (South), Segun Oni, in Abuja on Monday evening in which it also fixed State Congress for this Saturday, February 24 to elect a substantive State party’s Chairman. The contest for the state chairmanship is limited to the central senatorial district of the State.
But, the National Vice Chairman, South South, Ntufam Hillard Etta, said to be key factor in the dispute did not attend the meeting.
Our reporter also learnt that delegates eligible to attend and or vote include: all serving senators, all former governors, all past senators, all past House of Representatives members, all past House of Assembly members, all present elected local government chairmen, all members of the Exco, all zonal officers, all members of NEC and all members of BOT. Political appointee are only to attend the Congress but are not eligible to vote.
Investigations also indicated that despite attempts at peace, some party men and a faction of some aggrieved members are questioning the authority of the Segun Oni-led committee to lift suspensions.
A party member, who spoke to our reporter but preferred anonymity, quoted section 25 of the APC constitution to buttress his point, saying the constitutions allows only NWC of the party to lift pending issues of suspension. He expressed concern with what he described as “sudden rush to conduct state congress within a period of five days when the expiration of the present state Exco is just in a matter of one or two months.”
He opined that the Cross River State crisis had been officially reported to the Tinubu-led committee after losing confidence on the handling of issues by some members of the APC at the National secretariat.
Recall that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, was suspended, penultimate week, allegedly by a faction which included the South South Chairman, Ntufam Hilliard Eta and the acting Chairman, John Ochala. The Minister was accused of anti-party activities.
But in a counter move, faction, said to be loyal to the Minister, also suspended the Zonal Chairman and Ochala, saying in a press statement that, “there was no resolution by either the State Working Committee or the State Executive Committee of the All Progressives, APC, Cross River State suspending the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Pastor Usani Uguru Usani from the Party and no allegation was raised or is pending against him in the State Executive committee of the party.”