…’Don’t act as PDP spy’
By Omeiza Ajayi
The Cross River State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC has dissociated itself from the case instituted by Ntufam Hilliard Eta, a former National Vice Chairman (South South) of the party and an ally of erstwhile National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole asking the Federal High Court to sack the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee.
The party made the rebuttal in a statement titled “Hilliard Eta is on his own, to be sanctioned” and issued Sunday in Abuja.
The statement which was jointly signed by the state chairman, Sen. Mathew T. Mbu Jnr and the Minister of state for Power, Prince Jedy Agba said the chapter has put in place measures to discipline Mr Eta.
Their position came as another chieftain of the party and Director General of Voice of Nigeria VON, Osita Okechukwu advised Eta against acting as a spy for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
Okechukwu said; “As a foundation ordinary member of our great party, my own take is to ask Hon. Hilliard Eta to please as a matter of national and urgent importance, withdraw the suit forthwith. Otherwise, without prejudice to court processes, is it not an afterthought, that five months down the line, Eta kept quiet after the National Working Committee which he belonged was validly dissolved? Where was he when his former National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole endorsed and upheld the dissolution of the NEC in the collective interest of our great party?
“Why is it now that many prominent Peoples Democratic Party PDP members are migrating to the APC that he woke up from his deep slumber? How come that he can flagrantly disobey Mr President, who admonished us to withdraw all cases for the peace and harmony of our party? For the avoidance of doubt, if he fails to withdraw the suit forthwith, it means that one may not be wrong in suspecting Eta as PDP’s Spy. I am earnestly pleading with him to beware of how politically incorrect it is, being accused of spying for PDP”.
On its part, the Cross River State chapter of the APC said it is in receipt of media reports indicating that Eta has instituted a court case against the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the APC.
It said it received the news with shock and embarrassment as neither the state chapter to which Eta supposedly belongs, nor the zonal chapter of the party sanctioned such decision.
“As a matter of fact, the Cross River APC is on all fours with the decision of the National Executive Committee NEC of the party and our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari that those who took the party to court before should withdraw such cases while any aggrieved person is urged to explore all the internal mechanisms of resolving any issue.
“Ntufam Eta neither brought to our notice any misgiving, nor did he avail himself of the internal mechanisms of resolving issues.
“Consequently, the Cross River State APC condemns and dissociates itself from Hillard Eta’s purported legal action against Gov. Mai Mala Buni and other members of the CECPC”, the party stated.
It added that Eta’s action is capable of jeopardizing the remarkable gains recorded by the party since the inauguration of the CECPC.
“We hereby warn Ntufam Eta and his co-travellers as well as co-conspirators to retrace their steps and avoid being used by fifth columnists as agents of destabilisation.
“The Cross River State chapter views Eta’s action as an embarrassment to the party because the entire leaders and members of APC in Cross River State are fully in support of the leadership of the Gov. Buni-led CECPC.
“We have also endorsed the reconciliatory and peace moves of the Caretaker Committee. We acknowledge the restoration of peace and discipline in the party which has resulted in the resolution of crisis in some state chapters.
“The Cross River State chapter also acknowledges the unique measures put in place by the Buni-led CECPC which have attracted many members of the opposition PDP to the APC.
“Finally, the Cross River State chapter of the APC has resolved to set up a committee to look into the nefarious activities of the former National Vice Chairman, South South with a view to meting out disciplinary measures on him accordingly”, the APC stated.
Ntufam had in the suit asked the court to grant an order mandating the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to recognize and deal with him (Eta) as acting National Chairman of the APC.
In the suit filed by Eta at the Federal High Court, Abuja through his counsel, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, the former NWC member asked the court to determine whether “having regard to Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 17 (iv) of the Constitution of All Progressives Congress (APC) it is an illegality and a void act for a person to hold an executive office in the Government simultaneously with an office in any organ of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at any level, in whatever capacity”.
Defendants in the suit are Gov. Buni, the National Secretary, Sen. John Akpan Udoedehe, Gov. Isiaka Oyetola of Osun, Gov. Sani Bello of Niger, Stella Okotete (all members of the caretaker committee) and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
He also sought a declaration that having regard to Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Articles 20(i)(a), 17(i) and (iv) of the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), only persons who are not disqualified from holding office by virtue of the Constitution may run the affairs of the Party including the holding of a National Convention and Congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Eta therefore sought an order “setting aside and nullifying the meeting purportedly summoned on behalf of the All Progressives Congress on 25th day of June, 2020, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as well as all decisions reached therein”.