Some members of the All Progressives Party in Cross River State have risen against the party’s caretaker committee led by the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni as well as the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade.
The party members are angry that the governor and those who followed him to the APC from the PDP are hijacking the party structures and have rubbished the state exco.
Some of the aggrieved party members have already approached the court, seeking judicial pronouncement on the legality of Buni’s leadership of the party, while also querying the conduct of the just concluded ward congresses in the state.
Nine of the party members, led by the assistant welfare officer of the party, Mr Ushie Innocent Eneji have asked the vacation court in Port Harcourt to annul the ward congresses conducted by the state as it was allegedly done in disregard of the party’s guidelines.
Another top party member, Mr Odey Oyama has equally filed a petition before the congress appeal committee, arguing that the outcome of the congress cannot be relied upon.
In the petition, Oyama said there were widespread irregularities, malpractices, corruption and non-compliance with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, the APCP constitution, the Electoral Act and the guidelines for congresses, in respect of the conduct of the ward congresses in the state.
“The conduct of the Ward Congresses of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in 196 Wards in the Cross River State Chapter, purported to have been held on Saturday, July 10, 2021; and July 31, 2021, respectively, were seriously marred with widespread irregularities, malpractices, corruption and blatant disregard for the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, the Constitution of APC and the Guidelines for congresses as approved.
“This observation is made pursuant to paragraph 5 page 2 of the Guidelines for Ward Congresses 2021, which pertains to the hearing of appeals arising from the outcome of the said Ward Congresses. Therefore, in other to prevent a multiplicity of court actions provoked by this unwholesome outcome, it has become pertinent to recommend the nullification of the fake results/lists of ward.
“Executive Committees that were presented to the Governor and the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), in respect of the said events. This conclusion constitute the principal focus of this complaint based on the following principal grounds:
“That the lists of the 196 Ward Executive Committees presented to the Governor and the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) were invalid, by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The Electoral Act, the Constitution of APC and the Guidelines for congresses, before, during and after the said congresses.
“That the results presented to the Governor and the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), were invalid, by reason of widespread corrupt practices that occurred before, during and after the said congresses.
“That all the persons listed and submitted as Ward Executive Officers of the Party in all the 196 Wards, did not deserve to be declared winners of the said congresses. This assertion is by the reason of the fact that they were not indeed elected by the majority of lawful members of the Party; but that they were selected by a few members of the party assigned to manipulate the process before, during and after the scheduled date of the congresses.
“Following the various acts of non-compliance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The Electoral Act, the Constitution of APC and the Guidelines for congresses, it is hereby averred as follows.
“That due to the unlawful and inept handling of the purported congresses, by the Governor’s aids, the foundation was laid for massive and widespread irregularities and malpractices. (Please kindly refer to the various ad-hoc appointments made; circulars and press releases issued by Ntufam Dr. Peter Ojie, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor).
“That, at the purported Elders’ Consensus Congresses, members of the Governor’s cabinet with the active connivance, collusion and support of Members of House of Assembly, Chairmen of Councils, Councilors; and serving Civil Servants in government, deliberately manipulated the circumstances.
“That there were clear instances of exclusion of authentic party stakeholders from participating in the election of their Ward Executive Officers. iv That the authentic members of the party who paid for Forms to participate in the congresses were deliberately excluded from the entire exercise leading to massive disenfranchisement. (Please kindly refer to the Congress Forms that were hijacked by the Chief of Staff to the Governor; purportedly on the instructions of the State Party Leader.”
On his part, Eneji has accused the governor and his followers of causing confusion in the party in a bid to take control and chase away all those who were in the party before they arrived.
Eneji said an aide of the governor had usurped the duties of the party exco and was the one now with the responsibility of issuing memos and directives on behalf of the party, while the party exco members were sidelined.
He said he and other party members were in court to stop the party from dying in the hands of Ayade. He however said he would withdraw his case once the party took practical steps to correct the wrongs currently being perpetuated by the governor’s men. He said the party was facing grave danger as a result of the activities of the governor’s men.