The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has denounced its National Vice Chairman, South South, Prince Hilliard Eta over the conduct of the Cross River State Congress that held on February 24, stressing that the state congress was properly conducted as it met all legal requirements.
The APC National Vice Chairman South South, Eta, had stirred controversy when he insinuated that the Cross River State mini congress that produced John Etim as state chairman of the party was “illegal and charade.”
Eta had hinted his opposition to the election while addressing reporters in Abuja, saying “I got a report today that one Etim John is going around calling himself the chairman of the APC in Cross Rivers State. First of all, I am the National Vice Chairman of the APC in the South South and Cross River is one of the states under my supervision and I know that, that chapter is headed by Sir. John Ochalla as acting Chairman.”
However, the APC National Organizing Secretary, Osita Izunaso debunked Eta’s position, pointing out that the Cross River congress was conducted according to the laid down rules.
“As far as the party is concerned, that exercise is already concluded. “The National Vice Chairman South South was the only person that did not vote out of 109 delegates for that election. Only him absented himself and didn’t vote and because he didn’t vote he can’t say it is a charade. Two persons bought forms and contested and one person defeated another. So, why is it a charade? And you know the party has an appeal committee, if anybody is not satisfied with the conduct of the congress why can’t he go to the appeal committee,” Izunaso said.
In his reaction to Eta’s position, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, and former APC Cross River State chairman, Usani Usani agreed that the congress was properly conducted as directed by the National Working Committee (NWC).
“Well, the National Vice chairman may have to substantiate the impropriety of the conduct because l am surprised on an account of the fact that he had subscribed to the fact that we needed an exercise to have a chairman. I am also aware that in one meeting he called for the zonal meeting in Calabar, l was present when he said that the only authentic and viable authority to give a template for the conduct of that exercise was the National Executive of the party and he said he was going to bring the template down. Though it has taken quit long but it therefore substantiate his claim and confident on rightful authority to do that which is that national leadership of the party. So, l will be surprised if he said so although l don’t know the grounds of his saying so,” he said.
The Minister added that “the calibre of people who voted in that congress does not suggest that it was not properly conducted because they are too informed to participate in what is not proper.”
Among the delegates that voted at the Congress are: former Cross River governor, Clement Ebri, Victor Ndoma Egba, Owan Enoh, Bassey Otu, John Ochalla, Victor Ebong, Mary Ekpere-Eta ( Wife of Hilliard Eta), Alex Ukam and Sunny Ettah.
Others are:Wabilly Nyiam, Lazarus Undie, Etnest Irek, Ngim Okpo, Ernest Eki, Owan Ekpe and Paul Obi.
On the allegation that 21 days notice was not given to INEC, the APC National Organizing Secretary said, “Notice was given to INEC November last year.
“This congress was to holding in November last year and notice was given to INEC and once you have given a notice to INEC you have given. So, you can hold it at any latter date, it doesn’t matter. What you do is that when you’re holding it you remind them of the notice.
“We usually write early to secure date, which is constitutional and how can anybody say we didn’t write to INEC. The people that went to conduct that congress, they went there with that letter. That letter was written in November and it was against that date that we were supposed to hold that congress that we wrote that letter. But once you don’t do it that time, you have already given INEC that 21 days notice, what you now give them is a reminder any day you are holding the congress. How can, at this level we will do congress, without given INEC 21 days notice.”