2 factions lay claims to leadership
Judex Okoro, Calabar
Tussle over who control the power structure in Cross River chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), seems to be getting to the climax as two factional executive committees have again emerged with each laying claims to leadership.
For over two months running, stalwarts of the party have been sharply divided between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, and former governor Clement Ebri/Senator John Owan Eno groups.
Daily Sun investigation revealed that the duo of Usani and Eno, both from Central Senatorial District of the state have governorship ambition in 2019 and are mobilising the party structure and their supporters for the primary next month.
While Usani faction claims that Etim John is the authentic chairman, inaugurated by the party National Executive Committee (NEC) under former chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, Ebri/Eno, elected Mathew Achigbe as the new chairman in accordance with party directives and constitution.
This has created division and tension in the party, fuelling speculations that the party might not field candidates in the pending 2019 general election in the state.
Ebri/Eno faction had in a rescheduled congress held on Tuesday, July 22, 2018 elected a new executive committee, led by Achigbe despite a court action restraining the NWC and its agents from conducting another congress.
The congress was said to be sanctioned by the party national executive.
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Dismissing the rescheduled congress as a desperate attempt to frustrate the electoral fortunes of the party, the state Publicity Secretary, who belongs to Usani faction, Moses Akpatre, said the congress is illegal as it contravenes APC constitutional provisions with regard to conduct of party congresses in all ramifications.
Akpatre, in a statement, said: “Cross River APC wishes to state clearly that the purported state congress organised and conducted by Hilliard Etta and his group is in divergence to APC constitution and in violation of the court order by Justice A. O. Musa of Abuja judicial Division of 16 August 16, 2018.
“That the purported state congress was shielded in secrecy just as the venue for the congress was not made known to the public neither was there sales of forms to contestants. In addition, the congress was in total contradictions to the party constitution.”
He claimed that prior to the purported state congress, the party stakeholders had in a meeting held on August 21, 2018 at the party secretariat in Calabar, issued a communique that they shall obey the court order of Abuja High Court, dated August 16, 2018 as a law-abiding party.
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He said the stakeholders also agreed that the party is still intact under the leadership of Usani and John, adding that the party faithful and the public should disregard the purported congress.
The publicity secretary wondered why some stakeholders still went ahead against the court restraint to conduct a parallel congress that does not hold water.