- Police say voting materials still intact
Judex Okoro, Calabar
The battle over who controls Cross River APC leadership has continued unabated as stakeholders have stated emphatically that the ward congress in the state remain suspended, following alleged moves by a faction to announce fake results.
The stakeholders, including the Special Assistant to President on Prosecution, Bar Obono Obla, Senator John Owan, South-South Vice Chairman, Hon Hillard Etta, Deputy Chairman, John Ochalla, Vice Chairman, Central, Hon Cletus Obun, Secretary of the party, Victor Ebong, and other party officials, have outrightly rejected the Ward Congress committee, describing their conduct as a sham.
The stakeholders maintained that they would not accept fake results and added that anybody who wishes Cross River APC well should not do anything that breaches the peace, declaring that any result coming from the Cross River State APC congresses are a farce and an act of desperation of those who want power by all means.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders during an interactive session with newsmen in Calabar on Monday, the Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, Hon Cletus Obun, said the congresses, which were to hold last Saturday, were suspended indefinitely following confusions that arose about the alleged bias of Congress Committee Chairman Dr Stan Ekezie.
“Cross River would only lose the appearance of new executive in the wards, in the local governments and state. The Constitution provides for that lacuna. We believe that a new leadership at the national level would help the party in the state to reap the 2019 elections,” Obun said.
“Rather than see this as a negation that would thwart the success of the party, it is indeed a cleaning surgery that is required. We want a permanent solution and that is a surgical operation of Cross River APC, and that is to wipe the leadership from top to bottom.”
Obun stated that there was no use keeping a leadership that is antithetical to the aims and objectives of the party, warning that anybody who wishes Cross River APC well should be careful not to breach the peace.
According to him, “the materials are in the custody of the Commissioner of Police. If the National Secretariat has released photocopies of the materials or other materials for conduct of fresh congresses to suit his script in the state, let the world bear us witness that the materials sent to the state under Dr Ekezie Stanley are in the custody of the Cross River State Police Command signed by all stakeholders. So, for now, the congresses still remain suspended.”
Also speaking, the Vice Chairman of APC Northern senatorial district, Dr Eneji Chris-Valentine, said the conduct of the congress committee led by Dr Stan Ekezie showed “there were not going to give us a free and fair election, thus the vote of no confidence passed on members of the committee.
“We in the APC are saying we should all go to the field. If we fail, let us fail honourably. If we win, let us win honourably. Let us know the strength of APC. If we do a correct free and fair election it would have shown that APC is on ground or not on ground.”
Reacting, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River, Dr Frankland Briya, said: “This morning I saw one of my electoral officers and they have not given me any report. I can only make a statement when I receive all the reports.
“I am waiting for the report. I wasn’t with them in the local government areas. It is only in the report that I can say if there was a congress or not; but for now let me wait until the report is submitted. When I receive the report, I will call the press and address them.”
Acknowledging that the stakeholders handed over the congress materials to the Area Commander in his office for safe keeping, the Cross River State Police Commissioner, Mr Inuwa Hafiz, said:
“We prevented a bloodbath on Saturday and, if not for the quick intervention of the Police, what we would have heard today would have been devastating. We thank God for Police’s quick intervention.
“We have not released the materials to them to conduct the primaries. To this moment, the Area Commander has not told me that he has released the materials to anybody; he cannot release the materials without my instruction. We are not politicians, ours is to maintain law and order.”