The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice Chairman, South-south, Ntufam Hilliard Ettah has dismissed any hope for the return of Governor Ben Ayade for a second term, predicting that the odds were positive that the APC gubernatorial candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh was set to create a major upset in the March polls.
Ettah also accused Ayade of meddlesomeness in the affairs of the APC by surreptitiously funding clandestinely spurious activities in cahoots with the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Pastor Usani Usani to disrupt the rising profile of the APC candidate in the state.
Addressing a cross section of journalists recently on the Appeal Court judgement, Ettah clarified that ”the overall implication of the foregoing was that Pastor Usani’s onslaught against the party had no place to fester. It is indeed a futile exercise”
According to him “ the issue of the replacement of the Sir John Ochalla-led executive committee with that of Etim John is also an exercise in futility going by the clarifications made above”.
Ettah enjoined Cross Riverians to, by this clarifications, disregard the antics of Pastor Usani and his sponsor, Ayade insisting that “Senator John Owan Enoh remained the authentic APC gubernatorial candidate with the potential to coast home to victory in March 2, 2019 polls”.
He said ”Pastor Usani Usani cannot and should never be taken seriously in his governorship bid having failed to resign from office as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
Ettah sighted the electoral guidelines as released by INEC which provide that anyone either in public employment or appointive position and who is standing for election must resign at least 30 days to the election”.
According to him, “in a judgement delivered y Hon Justice Adeniyi Olukayode of an Abuja Federal High Court (15) on the 17th day of January, 2019, the court dismissed a suit filed by the Minister, Pastor Usani Usani where he was seeking among other things to be declared as the governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River state”.
The Judge also accused Usani of forgery just as he declared that Pastor Usani was not an aspirant in the first place having not taken part in the legitimate primaries conducted by the national leadership of the party on the 30th of September and 1st of October, 2018.
The APC, he added, as a law-abiding party had already secured a “stay of execution of the said judgement” even as an Appeal had been filed on the issue”.
It will be recalled that an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja last Wednesday struck out an appeal brought before it by Pastor Usani Usani, challenging the judgement of an Abuja High Court under Justice Adeniyi Olukayode which dismissed the prayers of the Minister to become the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in Cross River state.
The Appeal Court was presided by Justice Abdul Aboki.
The implication of the Appeal Court ruling is that Usani is no more seen in the light or contending for the gubernatorial ticket of the APC as the Court ruling takes pre-eminence over the High Court verdict.