By Idowu Isamotu
A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) and member of National Working Committee (NWC), Hilliard Eta, has accused the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso of making decisions that only favour moneybags.
Eta, who is the National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the party was reacting to the outcome of Cross River congress held on Saturday, February 24 which produced Etim John as the state chairman of the party.
APC Chieftain, who was visibly angry when addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, lamented violations of some sections of the party’s constitution by the some members of NWC when taking decisions.
“In my place, we have a saying that: when a lizard falls into a ditch, it becomes a play thing for the fowl. The party has now become a play thing between the National Chairman and the National Organizing Secretary. Anybody who has money can procure anything.
“If you read the Electoral Act and the constitution of the party and the nation, they were violated simply because of the contravention by Osita, the Minister of Niger Delta and the National Chairman of the party must come to pass regardless of how many laws are broken.
“First, for us to have a congress, the constitution says there has to be a 14 days notice given to the jurisdiction where the congress would happen. The notice was given verbally and Osita said the notice was given before November 28.”
Eta claimed that only 109 statutory delegates participated in the purported February 24 congress organized by the party while INEC also refused to attend, adding that six delegates from each of the 196 wards in the state were also not part of the said congress.
The crisis rocking the party from national level to the ward level does not exclude Cross River state following the appointment of former chairman of the party, Mr Usani Uguru, as minister of the federal republic of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been assigned by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile all warring party members.
Tinubu had also accused Oyegun in a leaked letter sent to presidency in February that his peace effort to reconcile all aggrieved party members across the states was being frustrated.
But when journalists asked Eta whether he has reported his grievances to the National Chairman, Chief Oyegun,he said: “For me, I do things according to the law.The NWC has not been invited on any matter concerning Cross Rivers state.
“Until such is done, I will present to my colleagues a detailed narrative of how this constitution has been violated, so that a particular narrative will be instituted or established in Cross Rivers state. Until such a meeting is held I can do nothing.
“But if you must know, a lot of the National Working Committee members have been complaining about the extra constitutional processes that goes on at the National Secretariat, especially under the watch of Osita Izunazo, the Organising Secretary.”
According to him, what was expected of the party leadership was to have given all the necessary support to the reconciliation committee headed by a former Lagos state Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The APC Chieftain also accused former governor of Ekiti state, Engr Segun of complicity in the matter.
He said, “From all intents and purposes, these issues are orchestrated…you know, the Asiwaju’s committee was constituted just a few days ago and this issue has been hanging on Cross River state since the appointment of the Minister. The question you will now ask is how come that happened immediately after the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu committee was constituted by the president?
“The National Chairman (Oyegun), the Deputy National Chairman (South). Engr Segun Oni and the National Organizing Secretary, Osita became so much in a hurry, so much interested and so much aggressive in their attempt to have this all-important chairman that they could not have in more than two years. What is the purpose?” he queried.
Eta also explained issues in the Cross River state chapter of the APC.
According to him, “There was a consensus in the Cross River state chapter that we should have a congress to bring in a substantive chairman since the erstwhile chairman had been appointed as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. That was the agreement by the people of Cross River state.
“And based on that, I wrote on behalf of the zone to the National Working Committee NWC to give the zone the authority to conduct a congress to that effect and the NWC said I should liaise with the office of the National Organizing Secretary (headed by Sen. Osita Izunaso) for that purpose.
“We had set November 28 last year for that congress to happen but unfortunately, a member of the party went to court and got an injunction and served the processes on the party. So, based on the advice of the National Legal Adviser, we were asked to stay action as a party.
“So, in the next NWC meeting when the matter of Cross River came up, I was asked to make comments on what happened and why we couldn’t conduct congresses.
“The resolution of the NWC was that because we were very close to conducting congresses nationwide, that all congresses to fill vacant positions in the country, not just in the state should be set aside and that all the vacant positions would be filled at the same time during the congresses that would be held simultaneously to bring in new executives.
“I was away and it was a surprise to me to receive a text message on my phone purportedly sent by the party’s Deputy National Chairman (South) Engr. Segun Oni inviting stakeholders of Cross River state to the secretariat ostensibly to discuss the issue of the chairmanship, in direct contrast and contravention to the position of the NWC.”
He added that at the end of the meeting, Engr. Oni directed that the congress be held in the next five days.
“I now wrote a letter handing over the matter of Cross River state to the Asiwaju-led reconciliation committee because in my thinking, the crisis that engulfed the state chapter needs reconciliation before any congress is conducted”, he said.
Efforts to get reactions of National Chairman and Organising Secretary of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Mr Osita Izunaso respectively proved abortive as calls put across their mobile phones did not connect.