By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The Cross River State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced the formation of a Zoning Committee amidst claims that the Caretaker Chairman, Sen. Matthew Mbu has been suspended.
Mbu was named as a member of the Committee despite claims he, alongside the Secretary, Dr. Ntete Bassey-Duke and Treasurer, Mike Agbeh were suspended following allegations of embezzling ₦10 million donated by a party leader earlier in the year.
The Caretaker Spokesman, Bassey Ita who had said he “won’t comment on rumors,” about the party’s leadership, issued the statement announcing Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba and Chief Peter Ojie as Chairman and secretary of the Committee.
CrossRiverWatch had reached Mr. Ita for comments about claims that Sen. Mbu was suspended but he quickly said “If it is rumors, I won’t comment on rumors,” and dropped the call.
But, party members who did not want their name in print said Sen. Mbu was asked to step aside alongside the Financial Secretary when the allegations were made in order for proper findings to be carried out.
The action is said to be for only that meeting with those contacted saying it wasn’t an indefinite suspension.
But, a statement which could not be verified as at press time and purportedly issued by the Interim Chairman, Barrister Richard Ogbeche said the trio remain suspended with the earliest possible time of lifting such being September 25th when a Committee investigating the claims submits it’s report.
Ogbeche said the allegations were made by Innocent Ushie, the Caretaker Assistant Welfare officer. The money is said to have been meant for the APC membership revalidation and registration exercise.
“Recall, during the Membership Revalidation/Registration Exercise, the State Caretaker Committee made an appeal for financial assistance to the said National leader and two members of the State Caretaker Committee, promised to make available credible evidence of the said donation and subsequent embezzlement of the said Ten Million Naira (₦10,000,000.00) to the party,” read the statement dated September 19, 2021.
“Consequently, in a release dated 16th September 2021, and signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bassey Ita, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Sen. MT Mbu jnr called for an emergency party EXCO meeting for September 18, 2021, for the purpose of stating his own position on the alleged donation/fraud. At the said Exco meeting of 18th September 2021, the Chairman denied having any knowledge of the said embezzled Ten million Naira (#10,000,000.00) donation. However, Dr. Ntete Bassey-Duke, the State Caretaker Secretary, confirmed to the EXCO that, Ten million Naira (₦10,000,000.00) only, was actually paid into the personal account of the State Caretaker Chairman.
“Based on the revelation, it became needful/necessary for the EXCO to constitute a committee to investigate the allegation. At this juncture, the State Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, on their own accord, stepped aside to allow for an unbiased/uninfluenced investigation into the allegation, been the trio accused of the fraud. After the departure of the trio – (Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer), the State Deputy Chairman, stepped in, continued and presided the meeting,” the statement read.
The remaining executives are said to have resolved to set up a five man committee to investigate and submit it’s report by September 25, 2021.
The Exco is also said to have resolved that the trio involved, “remain suspended from all party activities, until the report of the committee.”
Furthermore, Ogbeche said that preparations for the planned State Congress shall proceed and will be handled by the State Exco even as he noted that, “some persons have collected the nomination forms meant for APC-CRS chapter from the National secretariat of the party but the State chapter is yet to receive the said nomination forms from the said persons.”
However, this did not stop Mbu from being mentioned in the Zoning Committee which also has Federal and State legislators as well as aides of Governor Ben Ayade.
It is unclear which party leadership appointed the committee as stated by Mr. Ita.
Read the statement signed by Mr. Bassey Ita, State Publicity Secretary below.
The leadership of the party has appointed the following leaders into the Zoning Committee for purpose of zoning positions regarding the State Executive Committee of the party. There are:
1. Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN — Chairman
2. Sen. Mathew Mbu Jnr.
3. Rt. Hon. Legor Idagbo
4. Rt. Hon. Eteng Jones Williams
5. Rt. Hon. Peter Odey
6. Eld. Bolaji Anani
7. Sen. Bassey Otu
8. Ntufam John Okon
9. Ntufam Ekpo Okon
10 Hon. Emmanuel Bassey
11 Hon. Oliver Orok
12 Hon. Martins Orim
13 Chief Peter Ojie — Secretary
The Committee is mandated to meet immediately and zone positions in the State Executive Committee to the three Senatorial Districts of the State.
The Chairman of the Committee, Distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba is to reach out to members for the inaugural formalities.
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