The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, stands the risk of not fielding a presidential candidate in the 2023 election if the allegations that its delegates’ lists for the special convention coming up on Saturday are anything to go by.
In separate letters detailing allegations of fraud in constituting the delegates’ lists from the two states, stakeholders warned that should the names of the elected delegates be removed and replaced with fraudulent names, the party will lose out on fielding a presidential candidate as that will run afoul of various extant laws including the party’s guidelines.
In Akwa Ibom, the leader of a group of elders within the party, Don Etiebet, accused the party leadership in the state of foisting new names of persons who did not win any election, at any congress monitored by INEC, as State Executives in Akwa Ibom State.
He also said another infraction was “The decision on the part of our Party when they unceremoniously withdrew their appeal against the judgment of the trial court that was instituted by their predecessor in office i.e., the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), whose actions in office were fully ratified by the National Convention.
“Presently, we are all living witnesses to the fact that our Party has been constrained to seemingly conduct primaries that are not consistent with the provision of Section 84 (1) of the Electoral Act which states: ‘A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions which shall be monitored by the Commission. In line with this provision, the Commission shall, in monitoring primaries, only recognize delegates that emerge from Congresses duly monitored by the Commission’.
“The consequence of such conduct of primaries remains clear that our Party in Akwa Ibom State may not be in the position to present any validly nominated candidate in Akwa Ibom State except the issues are redressed immediately. We hasten to warn, that the Akwa Ibom State challenge of using delegates that were not voted for, in line with the extant Electoral Laws if not addressed, the same delegates may be used for the Presidential primaries.
“Surely if that happens then the Presidential primary ruin the risk of not producing a validly nominated candidate in line with the Electoral Laws. This should not happen. We fail to see what anyone stands to gain should this fate befall our great Party in Akwa Ibom State”, he stated.
Similarly, in Cross River, a group of party faithful under the aegis ‘authentic delegates’, has called on the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee NWC of the APC to ignore a purported ‘fraudulent’ list of national delegates sent by the Cross River State Working Committee to the national leadership.
The APC stakeholders and the authentic national delegates elected on the 17th of May 2022 also asked the NWC to follow the APC Constitution and Guidelines as it relates to the national delegates’ list submitted to the party.
A statement signed by Chief Francis Ekpenyong, on behalf of Cross River Authentic Adhoc National Delegates and which was obtained by Vanguard Wednesday in Abuja, said they were the original people who paid for nomination forms, participated in the processes and emerged as National Delegates of their respective Local Government Areas of the state.
The statement reads, “The attention of members and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress APC Cross River State Chapter has been drawn to the fraudulent, meddlesome interference and day-light theft of the mandate of members of the party in the state who was elected National delegates in the just-concluded National delegates election of 17th May 2022.
“As members and stakeholders, we are very concerned and write to state that the party should follow its Constitution and Guidelines as it relates to the national delegate list submitted to the party. That the only valid and recognized list of elected national delegates is that of the one conducted on the 17th day of May 2022, which does not include the names of the State Working Committee Members of the party.
“That the purported national delegate list suggesting a parallel exercise and carrying the names of the State Working Committee Members such as Barr. Alphonsus Ogar Eba under Yala Local Government Area, Barr. Mensah Offiong Bassey under Calabar South Local Government Area, Lion Okara Ekawu under Bekwarra Local Government Area, Engr. (Dr.) Thomas Uko Aruku under Ogoja Local Government Area, Erasmus Ekpang under Boki Local Government Area, Hon. Prince Titi Ndifon under Akamkpa Local Government Area should therefore be ignored and/or disregarded as being forged as the original national delegate list was altered and/or falsified.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we hereby state clearly that Governor Ayade, Rt. Hon. Legor Idagbor, Barr. Alphonus Ogar Eba, Sen. Stephen Adi Odey, Engr. (Dr.) Thomas Uko Aruku just to mention but a few did not take part in the national delegate election and they are not delegates from their respective Local Government Areas of Cross River State.
“We make bold to say that the so-called national delegate list presented to the party by the State Working Committee Members of the party was based on a poorly scripted skit comedy shot by the State Chairman of the party and his co-conspirators.
“That the action and inactions of the State Working Committee Members of our dear party have the tendency of compromising the process and to deprive the elected national delegates of their rights as delegates to participate in the nomination of the presidential candidate of their own choice.
“That they have no right to alter the delegate list without following due process and the party Constitutions.”
While appealing to the NWC to do the right thing, Chief Ekpenyong urged the critical stakeholders to act fast and follow the already existing delegate list sent to the National Secretary dated the 17th May, 2022 being the date of the National Delegate Election, which took place at the various 18 Local Government Areas of Cross River state.