. Says Oyegun, Izunaso are compromised
Bassey Inyang in Calabar
As the crisis rocking the Cross River State chapter of the All Progressives Congress(APC) lingers, a faction supporting the chairmanship aspiration of Dr. Mathew Achigbe has urged to the National Leader of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to come to the state, and save the party from imminent collapse before the 2019 general election.
In making the call, members of the faction accused the partyâ€™s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and its National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, of compromise in the conduct of a special congress last Saturday that allegedly produced Mr. Godwin Etim John as their state chairman.
At a press conference addressed by the faction of the APC in Calabar yesterday, they declared unequivocally that they have lost confidence in the Oyegun and Izunaso whom they accused of willfully violating the laws of the land, and the partyâ€™s constitution.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved members, Achigbe said what transpired at the congress was illegal and would be challenged to a logical conclusion.
Achigbe said the congress defied article 25 of the APC constitution which states that at least fourteen daysâ€™ notice should be given before the conduct of a congress.
Achigbe also alleged that even suspended members of the party, including John was allowed to participate in the congress.
He said the congress was not even witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as provided for in the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
On the issue of compromise, a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ernest Irek, who acted as Achigbeâ€™s agent during the congress, said what transpired has led to a complete loss of confidence in Oyegun and Izunaso.
â€œIt is only in a place like the APC that you find out that there is no constituted authority. Where the chairman of the party or deputy chairman of the party gives instruction, and they tell you the national organising secretary told them to go ahead. That was what I was told, there in that hall. That the organsing secretary said they should go ahead, that he has not received any contrary directiveâ€¦. The party officials received it and they were supposed to communicate, which they did to them. But, Izunaso, who has already compromised himself refused to listen to them. So, the party is being run at that national level by the organising secretary. Of course, it is in public domain; you are all aware how weak our national chairman is. And that is why we are having the Tinubu Committee coming in. On March 9, we have another date with Tinubu here, all of you are going to be witnesses, and we are going to be there to pursue this matter,â€ Irek said.
Continuing, Irek said: â€œThank God the President has woken up to its responsibility. There is a committee coming, if what we are hearing is correct, by next week it will be good riddance to this people. We are all for it, we are ready for a caretaker committee so that we can re-jig this, our party. It is time for us to move forward. As I speak with you, with 24 states in our kitty, if we are not careful, we may not even have ten states. The kind of impunity that is going on in the APC because of this executive that is at the top there is unheard of anywhere. They have become so compromised. How can you call a meeting in Abuja of stakeholders, and you cannot communicate such in writing, you cannot write to INEC , and you know the rules, you come here and say we have done one sham of election, and you think anybody is going to respect that, after 20 years of democracy. That is the problem we have. We donâ€™t have any confidence in John Odigie Oyegun, we donâ€™t have any confidence in him.â€
Copies of Achigbeâ€™s petition to the APC, Cross River State Appeal Committee for the State Party Chairmanship Congress were also made available to journalist at the event.
The petition dated February 25, 2018, and signed by Achibge read in part: â€œI hereby protest against the conduct of the congress of APC held on February 24, 2018 to elect the state chairman of the party that had remained vacant since 2015 when the former occupant, Pastor Usani Usani was appointed as the Minster.
â€œThe congress was conducted by one Muhammed Inbabawa-led committee, a retired Police AIG. My grounds of protests which I seek redress, and particularly ask for the said congress to be rendered ultra-virus, null and void are; the said congress used suspended party members for the election, particularly the contestant, Hon. Etim John, and Chairmen and Secretaries of Yakurr, Ikom, Etung and Boki Chapters against the spirit and in the defiance of the Electoral Act. 2010 (as amended), particularly as APC Cross River State has no formal letter transmitting the lifting of the suspension, and to confirm whether the strange decision was coming from the appropriate organ of the party.
â€œIf these issues in this petition are not paid heed to, impunity which is alien to the APC will rear its ugly head and destroy the foundation of the built by our founding fathers.â€