The crisis within the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a new dimension Friday when the National Vice Chairman of the party in the South South, Utufam Hilliard Eta said crucial decisions are taken by the leadership in favour of moneybags who are desperate to rubbish the party constitution.
Eta said the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odiegie-Oyegun and the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso has turned the party into a play thing for personal enrichment.
He said: “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”.
Addressing newsmen at the party secretariat in Abuja on the lingering crisis in the Cross River state chapter of the party, ETA said the party constitution has been grossly violated by the national leadership of the party in the case of Cross River state.
He said “For me, I do things according to the law. The NWC has not been invited on any matter concerning Cross Rivers state. Until such is done, I will present to my colleagues a detail narrative of how this constitution has been violated so that a particular narrative will be instituted or established in Cross Rivers state. Until such a meeting is held I can do nothing.
“But if you must know, a lot of the National Working Committee members have been complaining about the extra constitutional processes that goes on at the National Secretariat, especially under the watch of Osita Izunazo, the Organising Secretary.”
He also accused the party’s Deputy National Chairman, South, Engr. Segun Oni of complicity in the matter, adding that 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
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.
He said: “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?”
Speaking further in the crisis 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.
“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.
“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 happen. The notice was given verbally and Osita said the notice was given before November 28.”
Eta explained 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.