Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The acting national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is also the National Vice Chairman (South-south), Hilliard Eta, has said that Chief Victor Giadom has no locus standi to convene the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
Giadom, had in a statement on Tuesday scheduled a virtual meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) for Thursday, June 25, at the State House Abuja, claiming to have the consent of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But Eta while responding to a question after the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party Tuesday insisted that Giadom had been suspended by a competent court of law.
He cited Article 25B(i and ii) of the APC Constitution (2014 as amended) which states; “The National Executive Committee shall meet every quarter and or at any time decided by the National Chairman or at the request made in writing by at least two-thirds of the members of the National Executive Committee provided that not less than fourteen days’ notice is given for the meeting to be summoned.
“Without prejudice to Article 25(B)(i) of this Constitution, the National Working Committee may summon an emergency National Executive Committee meeting at any time, provided that at least seven days’ notice of the meeting shall be given to all those entitled to attend”.
Eta stated categorically that Giadom was no longer a member of the NWC and that he had been suspended as a member of the party.
He stated: “It is not right to refer to 17 members, with 15 of them physically present and two who met with us virtually as a faction. This is the National Working Committee of the APC in Nigeria.
“I sit here on behalf of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the acting Chairman of this party. If Victor Giadom is arranging a NEC, I believe that it is your responsibility as a member of the fourth estate of the realm to investigate his locus to find out whether he has the legal, the constitutional backing to be able to call a NEC meeting.
“As we speak, the membership of Chief Victor Giadom has been suspended by a competent court of jurisdiction in Port Harcourt this afternoon. Not only is he not a member of the NWC from today, his membership of the APC has been suspended. So, when you call him factional acting Chairman, we wonder why.”
Eta noted that the party Secretariat had not become a battle ground, stressing that a lot of people view disagreement and bickering in political parties as if it is war.
He emphasised that in human organisation, there were bounds to be conflict and friction.
According to him, “It is not true that the party Secretariat has become a battle ground. I walked in here, I never saw bullet, I never saw guns, I didn’t see anybody in camouflage. So, our party Secretariat is not a battle ground and the police have released information to the entire country signed by Frank Mba, the PRO of police. If the police has released that information, I don’t know if I have any information that has been released by the police.”
After the NWC received the report of Edo state primary election committee, it promised to handover this report to the appeal committee so that it would enable appeal committee to do it work and submit same for NWC consideration.
Eta also revealed that the NWC was in receipt of communication from the Edo state chapter of the party with regards to the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole both by Ward 10 Estako west local and the Estako west local government chapter of the party.
“We acknowledged the reciept of same and accept the lifting of that suspension.”
The crisis in the party degenerated last week after the Court of Appeal affirmed the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, by his ward in Edo State, and stripped him of his duties and privileges as party chair.
His suspension was the fallout of the conflict between him and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, which dragged on for over a year and culminated in the governor’s disqualification from the party’s governorship primary.
Oshiomhole’s suspension triggered a bitter power-grab rivalry among contending forces in the party, leading to the emergence of three acting chairmen for the party in less than 24 hours of the suspension.
The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) met a few hours after Oshiomhole’s suspension and picked one of his zonal deputies, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the acting national chairman.
However, the next day, APC Deputy National Secretary, Chief Victor Giadom, riding on an earlier order of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, declared himself as the acting national chairman.
With Ajimobi in hospital, where he is receiving treatment for contracting COVID-19, the NWC, in line with the party’s constitution, asked the National Vice Chairman (South-south), Chief Hilliard Eta, to act instead.
Earlier on Monday, Eta inaugurated Mr. Worgu Boms as the party’s acting Deputy National Secretary, to replace Giadom who was said to have resigned his position in order to contest as running mate of the party’s flagbearer in the last governorship election in Rivers State.