By Nsa Gill, The Nation Newspaper
The leadership crisis that has bedeviled the Cross River State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the past five years has continued to linger despite recent Appeal Court Judgement and the subsequent development at the national level which led to the dissolution of the National Working Committee through the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chairman of one of the factions in Cross River State, Chief Etim John Thursday in Calabar issued a statement to party members intimating them that he has been restored as the State Chairman of the party following a directive from the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Committee of APC.
The acclaimed mandate of Etim John has been a subject of various litigations most of which were instituted by his faction against that led by late Dr. Mathew Achibe, whose deputy, Sir John Ochala is now serving in an acting capacity.
Over a month ago, the now dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had affirmed Sir John Ochala as the authentic acting Chairman of Cross River State Executive Committee of the party.
The party also warned impostors parading themselves as factional party executives in the State to desist or face legal charges for impersonation.
The party’s position was contained in a statement signed by its then National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu in Abuja.
The statement further said that the party’s position was affirmed by a Court of Appeal judgment delivered on 23rd April 2020, which recognizes the Sir John Ochala-led Cross River State Executive as authentic and legitimate.
According to the statement, “In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justices Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, Adamu Jauro and Peter Olabisi Ige, the Court of Appeal affirmed the Sir John Ochala-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Cross River State Executive as the authentic and recognized executive in the State.
“The Appeal Court also nullified an earlier ruling by an Abuja High Court for lacking territorial jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought by a supposed factional APC executive in Cross River State.”
However the recent statement from Etim John is citing the hours between June 24th and 25th when President Buhari recognized Victor Giadom as the lawful interim National Chairman of the Party before he, (President Buhari) presided over the Party’s NEC meeting where the NWC led by Adams Oshiomohle, which Giadom was part of, was dissolved.
Etim John in his claims says, “I have been directed by the National Caretaker Committee of our great party vide a memo on the 1st of July, 2020 and duly signed by the National Secretary of the Committee to coordinate with the State Legal Adviser and State Secretary to encourage members who have instituted matters against the party to withdraw the same within 14days from 1st July 2020. Documentary evidence along with withdrawal processes to be forwarded to the National Chairman, Caretaker Committee of our great party.”
He also told the party members in the same statement that he was “officially notifying party faithful’s that INEC is organizing and putting finishing touches for our rerun elections into vacant seats as a result of the demise of Late Senator Rose Okoh of the National Assembly and Late Hon. Godwin Akwaji of the Cross River State House of Assembly all in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State. May their souls rest in the bosom of Abraham with the Lord. Amen!”
Adding, “I urge and appeal to all aspirants and their supporters to exercise restraints during this period of consultation and other arrangements. I, therefore, admonish them to get acquainted with the present realities in the party and to touch base with the State Party Secretariat at NO. 117 Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar for updates.”
Besides the statement to party members which he personally signed, Etim John also paid a courtesy visit to some security agencies in the State, including the Department of State Security Service.
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