Crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a more dangerous dimension as two factions submitted lists of candidates for the March 28th local government elections in Cross River State.
DAILY POST gathered that the APC in Cross River State is led by two groups, one led by Godwin Etim John and the other led by Sir John Ochala.
Already, the two factions have submitted lists of their candidates to the Cross River State Independence Electoral Commission (CROSIEC).
Speaking with DAILY POST in Calabar on Monday, the Chairman of one of the factions, Godwin Etim John, said he does not know about any faction in the party.
“I don’t know about two factions in APC,” he said.
Etim said if two persons are fighting and they go to court, it is only the court that can settle the matter.
“When Buhari and Atiku fought during election, was it not court that settled them? When Alex Egbona won election and John Gaul went to court, was it not court that settled them? he asked.
“So if I won my congress, and they took me to court and court gave me judgment and said I won, why do you talk about two factions. The only party that government recognizes is Etim John-led APC, no other one and I have submitted list of my candidates, I have confidence CROSIEC will conduct the election.
“They are the only legal body empowered to conduct the local government election in Cross River, it is the only legal body constitutionally empowered to conduct local government election.
“If people are not satisfied with the CROSIEC election, they can approach the court but let them allow CROSIEC to conduct their election,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Chairman of another faction led by Sir John Ochala, said, “We are fully prepared for March 28th 2020 local government election in Cross River State, we have submitted the names of our candidates to CROSIEC, we have done our primaries and candidates emerged and the names have been submitted.
“We don’t have confidence in CROSIEC conducting credible election in the State.
“This is a constitutional matter, you may be recall that they fixed the time, sometimes in February, when we brought this out to them, and they hurriedly shifted it to March 28.
“There is also a constitutional matter that says that there must be voter’s register review for all major elections to allow who were not 18 years as per the last election and are 18 years now to get registered, it is a constitutional provision but there was no voter’s review, you don’t get up in a hurry and conduct election without following the lay down rules that guide such elections..
“Fundamentally, Governor Ayade dissolved all parastatal and commissions in the state, hence the Cross River Judicial Council took him to court that he has no locus standi to do that, however, from the time he wake up, he ask CROSIEC to conduct, he did not reconstitute them, these are fact that one can challenge, the law are very clear on that.
“However, CROSIEC Chairman is a public officer, he is a lecturer in the University of Calabar, when the commission was dissolved he went back to the University of Calabar and continue with his work.
“We are following the time table to fulfil all righteousness, to actually being in a good legal frame to challenge them when we approach the court, because if you don’t participate, you don’t have the legal authority to challenge them.`
“Already, we are in court with them, we have written to CROSSIEC asking them not to recognise the splinter group from APC, these are very clear issues, there had never being two chairmen at the same time, CROSIEC should look at the law and stop dealing with Etim John led splinter group.
“We have written to them, we have a judgment in our favour, John has a high court judgment and we also have it and we also have Court of Appeal judgment, which is superior judgment to High court, they took us to Supreme Court and Supreme court has not delivered judgment on that and until that is done we are duly recognised EXCO in Cross River.
The Chairman said that the National EXCO has written to all parties concern before the preparation for the local government election commences, saying, “The duly recognised EXCO of APC in Cross River is the one led by Sir John Ochala, we have written to security agencies that they should not recognise the other group. What happened to us before cannot happen again.”