From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee will today know its fate as an Abuja Federal High Court decides on the legality of its existence.
Former APC National Vice Chairman, South-South, Mr. Hillard Eta, had in December 2020 approached an Abuja Federal High Court to declare him as acting National Chairman of the party. This was five months after the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC).
Eta, who insisted he remains the acting chairman, had also prayed the court to dissolve the Caretaker Committee led by Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni and reinstate the NWC dissolved on June 25, 2020, insisting on validation of his mandate given by the statutory organs of the party.
In his argument, Eta maintained that having been elected on June 23 and 24, 2018 at the national convention as national vice chairman, South-South, for a tenure of four years, he would serve out his tenure which lapses on June 23, 2022.
He further argued that his claim to the headship of the national leadership of the party was a product of the unanimous decision by 16 out 21 members of the NWC at its June 17, 2020 meeting which elected him acting national chairman of the party.
Claiming that he would not withdraw the suit, Eta would return to court today to pursue his prayers to sack the ruling party’s caretaker committee.
Apart from the litigation to reclaim his mandate, Eta is also in court to quash the suspension clamped on him by the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) during an emergency meeting held on December 8.
Reacting to his suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the reversal of the June 25 NEC decision, he had noted: “I have approached the court to validate my mandate. Between June 23 and 24, 2018, I was re-elected as National Vice Chairman, South-South for a tenure of four years, which is to lapse by June 23, 2022. I was duly elected at the national convention. In the same vein, on June 17, 2020, 16 out the 21 NWC members elected me as the acting National Chairman and it is on the strength of that that I approached the court to validate my mandate because I am still the acting national chairman of our party.”
Asked why it took him five months to challenge the decision of NEC to dissolve former NWC and inaugurate the caretaker committee, Eta said: “I am a politician. I have to consult widely, give room to assess critical decisions taken before reacting. I am convinced this is the right time to seek for my mandate. Mind you, I was elected as National Vice Chairman and members of the NWC elected me as acting National Chairman.”
Asked if his suspension had come as surprise to him, he told Daily Sun in an exclusive interview that NEC members acted out of law.
“I know that they acted on misinformation and emotions. They did not call on the laws and if they had done that, they would know that no law would have approved that. No law was satisfied over that decision.”