National Vice Chairman of APC, South-south zone, Hilliard Eta, fielded questions from journalists on the botched APC Ward Congresses In C'River State last Saturday. Our correspondent, David Odey was there.
You have heard what the people have said. What is your impression about what happened today?
Well, for me, I was not surprised. I have always said, if you go through my interviews of late, that these processes are designed to fail. It was designed by Chief John Odigie Oyegun and Senator Osita Izunaso to fail. If you look at the resolution of NEC of the 9th of April, you come to the conclusion that the first four resolutions were towards conducting these congresses. But if you look at resolution five, it was designed so that the first four would fail and the last resolution, that is, number five would be instigated, which is tenure elongation. Oyegun is kicking and scratching to remain as chairman of the party. You must interrogate some of the things that have attended this process. Why did the sale of forms for a congress of this magnitude involving tens of thousands of people be open only yesterday (Friday 4th May) at 2pm given the topography and the challenges in terms of distance in Cross River State?
For instance, why was the list of those to conduct these congresses nationwide released only yesterday? Some persons from the north were nominated to conduct congresses in the south. Some in the south were nominated to do congresses in the north and yet the lists of those to conduct these congresses were only released yesterday in the evening. Now for me, it must either be mischief or gross incompetence. And I think it is the former. I think it is mischief. So like I said, I am not surprised at the turnout and the consequence of all of those things that Oyegun has been doing.
So, when is the congress going to hold again?
For us, not only have we lost confidence in the committee (set up to conduct the ward congresses in Cross River State), we have also lost confidence in Oyegun, the appointing authority. So, our position is that because the new national chairman and his executive will take over the party on the 13th of June, our position is that we will wait until they take over and then come to Cross River State to conduct free, fair and transparent congresses.
Can you tell us the materials recovered from the hotel the panel chairman lodged in?
Well, we seized materials altering all the venues in the 196 wards as provided for by the ward chairmen. We also saw list of the ward congress committees, each of the three-man ward congresses committees that was submitted by the ward chairmen also altered. We also saw documents that captured the names of loyalists of some people that are outside of the party in the various wards. When we saw these documents, we called our people in the various wards and they confirmed to us that that did not represent the consensus in their various wards. These were some of the documents that were discovered in their custody.