By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Stakeholders in the Cross River state chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC have expressed fears that the crisis rocking the party in the state could degenerate to “epic proportions” if urgent actions were not taken to nip it.
Consequently, the stakeholders have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to wade in and ensure lasting peace ahead of the elections this weekend.
They equally called on the party’s National Working Committee NWC and its Board of Trustees BOT to cancel what it called “an illegal state congress” which held on February 24, 2018.
According to them, the congresses conducted by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Engr. Segun Oni, disenfranchised 980 delegates and has aggravated the party crisis in the state and therefore required urgent attention.
In two separate letters written the National Chairman and the BOT chairman, the Chairman, Ikom Local Government and Area Council Caucus, Barrister Odey Oyamah who signed on behalf of others said the Congress fell short of the law and should be cancelled.
Oyama stated, “By a copy of this letter, we are notifying President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as His Excellency (Senator) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (the Party Leader) of the crisis in Cross River State Chapter of APC and to emphasise that it requires urgent attention in order to prevent a multiplicity of actions.”
He stated that the disenfranchised 980 delegates included 196 women from196 wards were contrary to the party constitution which stipulates that “Five delegates per ward, at least one of whom shall be a woman”, shall take part in the Congress.
Oyama, however, said only 94 delegates including a woman “were rather deliberately handpicked to participate in the state Congress.”
Oyama stated, “The disenfranchisement of 980 legitimate delegates (i.e. about 91℅ of the total number of legitimate delegates that ought to have participated at the congress) is perverse.
“Therefore, in order to avoid the perpetuation of such gross impunity in APC, the BOT and/or the NWC has an inherent jurisdiction to set aside the congress that has been done in abuse of the APC Constitution.
“Hence it is our prayer that the BOT and/or the NWC should evoke its prerogative and inherent jurisdiction to discountenance the state congress of Saturday February 24, 2018 that held in Calabar.”
The letter further stated that “the Engr. Segun Oni’s Congress Committee lacked jurisdiction in excluding 91 per cent of constitutionally recognized delegates from participating in the state Congress.”
He added that “the prescribed procedures for conducting such a congress were not properly complied with and the event did not occur in consideration of the universal domain stipulated in the APC Constitution.”
The Ikom LGA Caucus Chairman described the congress as “an assembly of co-conspirators who wanted to appoint a handpicked person as state Chairman of the party in total disrespect of the Constitution of APC and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is a situation that has the potential of creating very serious crisis in Cross River state chapter of APC, the letter said.
In the second letter seeking “proper construction, interpretation and administration of the APC Constitution”, Oyamah also said the state Congress which held in Calabar on February 24, 2018 was in breach of the party’s Constitution as “it did not give at least 14 days notice to eligible members to attend.”
Arguing that the decision to hold the congress was taken at the National Secretariat Abuja on February 19, 2018, he stated that the congress held on February 24 indicating that only a 4-day notice was given to the members against the letters of the party Constitution.
He said the party also flouted the statutory notice it was supposed to have given to the independent National Electoral Commission INEC.