Amaechi should allow CRS APC to grow without further interference – Utum Eteng

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Efio-Ita Nyok|8 March 2017 Yakurr, Cross River-born leading legal luminary and APC stalwart in the state, Chief (Barr.) Utum Eteng, has addressed a strongly worded press release to the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in view of the leadership crisis rocking the Cross River State chapter of the party. The crux of the press release is his proposing five elements as way forward for midwifing the resolution of the crisis rocking the leadership of the party. The fifth suggest that Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should desist from interfering in the internal affairs of the party in the state. Chief Eteng has also stated that it's either Pastor Usani Usani, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, Ntufam Hilliard Etta, Chief Okoi Obono Obla, Chief Clement Ebri, Wabilly and Mary Ekpere (as members of the exalted APC Board of Trustees) unitedly resolve the internal crisis or resign their current position of influence. Excerpt:
APC NATIONAL LEADERSHIP MUST SPEAK OUT TO SAVE CRS APC FROM THE DISTURBING ANTICS OF SOME LEADERS Gentlemen of the Press, let me place it on record that I, CHIEF (BARR) UTUM ETENG, your friend, a Private Legal Practitioner and APC member is addressing you today pursuant to my rights under the APC Constitution and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. Section 39 gives me the right to freedom of expression hence, this press conference, whilst Section 40 gives me the right to the membership of the APC. It is therefore pursuant to this inherent constitutional freedom that I am offering this opinion about the disturbing manipulations and political antics within the Cross River State Chapter of the APC. To my mind this avoidable antics and disturbing controversies are tacitly encouraged by some external APC leaders. As men and women with your ears on ground, you will no doubt admit that the birth of APC in Cross River State was associated with avoidable political intrigues and self aggrandizements resulting to the party knowing no peace. The former AC and ACN hate propaganda, individual vaulting ambitions, extreme sabotage for peanuts, betrayals and lack of the will to resist the PDP attitude was transferred without equivocations to the APC. From inception therefore, the APC has been a divided house. One would have thought that the disgraceful performance of the State APC in the last general elections was a bitter lesson in-spite of the alleged heavy financial investment by the national leadership, yet the party won no single seat in all the contested elective positions including the recently ordered bye-election for Yakurr II State constituency where both Ex-Governor Clement Ebri and Pastor Usani Usani, the Niger Delta Minister come from. This was the climax of political arrogance, empty pride and selfishness caused by the divisions. Gentlemen of the press, one should be bold and open enough to opine that, part of the divisions and problems in the CRS APC family are traceable to the persistent dropping of the name of Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of transport as being the masquerade behind who should get what in Cross River State. The state is not an extension of Rivers State where Governor Wike is in-charge. Gentlemen of the press, I make bold to inform you that on 3/1/2017 as a concerned member of the State APC, I made a written complaint/appeal to the National Chairman of the APC and copied both the Deputy National Chairman South and North articulating graphically to them that “CRS desire their urgent intervention to check the alleged Rotimi Amaechi’s alleged involvement in APC State matters. I am still awaiting the reply/intervention. Gentlemen of the press, my concern about the APC is founded in good-faith and also predicated principally on the non-reprocity of the good gestures and favours done to Cross River State by President Mohammadu Buhari and his APC led administration. As a show of his political friendship and magnanimity, the Buhari led APC administration has so far offered the following career/political positions to eminent sons and daughters of Cross River State within 2 years of his administration. 1. The Chief of Naval Staff
2. The Hon. Minister of Niger Delta
3. The Chairman of NDDC
4. The Head of Civil Service of the Federation
5. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution
6. Current Chief Justice of Nigeria This is a debt Cross River as a people owed President Buhari. Gentlemen of the press, with this advantage, one finds it difficult to fashion out why the APC leaders in the State cannot come together to attract other Cross Riverians now sitting on the fence? Ordinarily, one would have passed Rotimi Amaechi’s alleged interference with the Cross River State APC as mere speculations. However, one is reluctant to hold otherwise by reason of Amaechi’s alleged recent attempt at a meeting he summoned in his house in Abuja of select Cross Riverians with Ex-Governor Adams Oshimole of Edo State in attendance. Those invited include Pastor Usani Usani, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, Chief Okoi Obono Obla, Sentor Bassey Otu, Hilliard Etta. At the said meeting, Amaechi attempt to impose Pastor Usani Usani as the APC Leader in Cross River State but-not for the objective views of Oshimole who cautioned that “a leader of a people is never imposed, but emerges among them from their free will and selection.” Perhaps as a way to silence Ndoma-Egba SAN, Amaechi was reported reminding Ndoma-Egba that as Chairman, NDDC, he is under the Minister of Niger Delta. If indeed Amaechi uttered such words, one would quickly pass such as mischief for 2 reasons; firstly, the NDDC Act has not been amended to provide otherwise as any policy referral to Pastor Usani Usani from the NDDC is illegal, null and void abinitio until the Act is amended. This is elementary for a former State House of Assembly member and Ex-Governor to know.
Secondly, when Amaechi’s former Commissioner for information, Ibim Siminatari, the woman he influenced to be appointed interim NDDC Managing Director, she was not said to be under the Niger Delta Ministry but under the office of the Secretary to the federal government in the Presidency. It is important to let Amaechi know his limits in his involvement in matters concerning Cross River State. It is pertinent for Cross River State political leaders to remind Amaechi not again to be their peace maker. Cross River leaders should be bold enough to tell Amaechi to his face. He has a responsibility to face Governor Wike in his home State to show his strength and be on ground to assist the State APC win elections convincingly. However, apart from the foregoing which is real, it is still yet to be known whether or not some party leaders in Abuja do not use the name of Amaechi for their selfish gains. It is yet as well to be known why armed soldiers and police men were released to intimidate party members at Ikom during an APC central senatorial district meeting on Sunday, 28th February, 2017. Thus, Hon. Cletus Obun, in his capacity as Vice Chairman Cross River Central Senatorial District invited stakeholders to a meeting of the district at Ikom. Among those present include: Pastor Usani Usani, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Chief Sunny Abang, Ikpi Eni Ebri, Hon. Ernest Irek, Mary Ekpere Esq, Goddy Akpama among others. The unannounced agenda was whether or not the State APC Chairman to complete the 4 years term of Pastor Usani Usani before he was appointed minister should come from the district without reaching a decision, it soon became clear that the use of Amaechi’s name to favour one Etin John did not persuade party members, soldiers and armed police men were brought into the venue. Thus, the prompt intervention of Mary Ekpere Esq, prevented the possible break down of law and order. One wonders what the result would have been if God did not bring her to save the situation. If indeed, the allegations that Amaechi’s pre-occupation is to interfere with the APC in Cross River State, the mind boggling question is, what is Minister Amaechi’s real interest in Cross River State after his prior over-indulgence in CRS APC resulted in the sorry state of the party in CRS over the years? The programmed defeats of the APC at every election in Rivers State should be enough challenge to Amaechi to be worried about. It is common knowledge that the State APC before the Ikom meeting called a meeting of APC Stakeholders with the African Club in Calabar as venue. Ntufam Hilliard Etta informed party members present that the procedure as to who becomes the State Chairman will not be discussed thereat because the National Working Committee of the party has not given directives on how to go about getting a replacement to complete the term Pastor Usani Usani left midway. It is clear that the Ikom meeting was called in reaction to Hilliard Etta’s explanation. Even if the central senatorial district is to produce the State Chairman, the procedure has to be known, whether or not it will involve the 3 senatorial district coming together to elect the Chairman. It is expected that before other complaints are made to higher authorities of both the police and the army, the Ikom Officers in-charge of the army and DPO would have to explain why soldiers and police men were released to a peaceful party meeting. Why indeed would anyone want to involve the army in the local politics of the people. WAY FORWARD
1. The APC National Leadership should urgently give Cross River State party a direction on this matter, whether to encourage Acting Chairman, John Ochalla to continue as Chairman in view of the pending Local Government Council elections, or as an alternative make a conclusive statement on when the selection of a State Chairman to run the party will be done. This is urgently needed having regards to the fact that it is now clear to those who were banking on Governor Ayade to cross over to the APC, that he has settled finally for the party that brought him. 2. Leaders of the party should be discouraged from joining any of the factions. 3. Both Pastor Usani Usani and Hilliard Etta should boldly be told to concentrate with the functions of the public positions they already hold. 4. Perhaps, as a hard-way forward to foster peace in the APC, Pastor Usani Usani, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, Ntufam Hilliard Etta, Chief Okoi Obono Obla, Chief Clement Ebri, Wabilly and Mary Ekpere (as members of the exalted APC Board of Trustees) should be given time within which to jointly, honestly and in good faith reposition the State APC or resign their positions in the superior interest of the party. 5. Minister Rotimi Amaechi should allow the CRS APC to grow without further interference. He should stop the indiscriminate dropping of his name for selfish motives……. CHIEF Utum Eteng & Utum Eteng Efio-Ita Nyok
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