By Jeremiah Archibong and Jonathan Ugbal
Despite a court injunction stopping the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River, former factional chairman, Mr. Matthew Achigbe has emerged winner of today’s congress.
Achigbe emerged during a rescheduled state Congress which held at the Nkonib brothers club house, Ikot Ansa, Calabar.
The rescheduled congress was on the directive of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC due to the crisis that led to the party producing two factional executives from different congresses. The NWC had earlier dissolved the state executive.
A former acting chairman of the party, Mr. John Ochalla emerged the deputy state chairman while the secretary of the dissolved state executive, Bishop Victor Ebong was reelected all through voice votes.
However, Niger Delta Affairs minister, Usani Usani and former factional chairman, Etim John were absent at the congress.
And, the trouble may be far from over as a federal high court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice O. A Musa had restrained the NWC from conducting any elections pending the determination of the applicable suit.
The Guardian Newspaper had reported that Justice Musa gave the injunction in a suit between APC chieftain, Sylvester Okpo from Cross River South Senatorial district, vice chairman, Regina Takon, ex-officio ember and youths leader, Charles Asim, who are plaintiffs in the matter, and APC Nigeria as defendant.
The ruling stated: “An order is hereby made restraining the defendant either by itself, any committee, privies by whatever name called, or any organ of the party except national convention, from purporting to nullify the congress of the Cross River State, of the defendant.”
He urged the APC not to, in any manner interfere, suspend or breach the rights and privileges of the claimants as the state executive officers.
The judge extended the order to other local government and ward officers of the party in the state, pending the determination of the substantive case in the originating summons.
He said: “It is hereby ordered that the time with which the defendant may enter appearances and file defence is abridged to 14 days from service of the originating process.
“That an order for accelerated hearing is hereby granted, and case adjourned till October 25, 2018 for definite hearing.”
Meanwhile, the Nation’s Newspapers has reported that the newly elected state working committee led by Mr. Achigbe has been inaugurated by the national chairman of the party, Mr. Adam’s Oshiomole.
Mr. Oshiomole, represented by the national vice chairman, south-south of the party, Mr. Hilliard Eta said it was the wisdom of the NWC to dissolve all the state executive councils and elect a new one to move the party forward in the state.
The five man congress committee led by Mr. Henry Idah Agbom as chairman said the party needs a united front in the state to take over government in the state in 2019.
He expressed confidence that with the inauguration, the party would win the governorship election in the state in 2019.
And, Mr. Achigbe expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari as well as Mr. Oshiomhole for remaining committed to the rule of law.
He promised to work hard to ensure victory in the elections next year.
Achigbe also expressed commitment to re-electing president Buhari next year and called for the support of all members of the party to guarantee success.
Also, the Senator representing the Central Senatorial District of the State, Mr. John Owan-Enoh said with the executive council inaugurated, the party would get stronger.
Among delegates at the congress yesterday were former Cross River governor, Chief Clement Ebri; former Tourism and Culture Minister, High Chief Edem Duke; former Senator of the Southern Senatorial District, Prince Bassey Otu, four guber aspirants, Venatius Ikem, Paul Adah, Odey Ochicha and John Odey among others.
The congress was monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
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