As the All Progressives Congress prepares for the Convention scheduled for Monday where its presidential candidate is expected to emerge, former Minister of Petroleum and chieftain of the party in Akwa-Ibom State, Don Etiebet, has said the outcome of the process could be cancelled in a court of law.
The former Petroleum Minister said the crisis trailing the outcome of the APC State Congress in Akwa Ibom State where Mr Akanimo Udofia was pronounced as governorship candidate has a direct bearing on the slated Presidential Convention.
Etiebet declared that the primary conducted by the Tunde Ajibulu panel was flawed as the Independent National Electoral Commission was nowhere near the venue of Congress where Udofia emerged.
Etiebet who was flanked by Senator John James Akpanudoedehe and Honourable Iquo Inyang, further submitted that delegates at the primary that produced Udofia had emerged at a parallel Congress where Stephen Leo Ntukekpo as against the Congress accorded recognition by the Independent National Electoral Commission where Augustine Ekanem was voted as Chairman, Akwa-Ibom State chapter of the APC.
Etiebet cautioned the All Progressives National Working Committee that the conduct of the Convention with a flawed delegates lead could spell doom for the party.
He said: “You are all living witnesses to all the challenges against all efforts we have been making to get the Party to redress our differences that are now common knowledge, particularly as we are foisted with persons who did not win any election, at any congress monitored by INEC, as State Executives in Akwa Ibom State.
“Another instance is 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 maybe used for the Presidential primaries. Surely if that happens then the Presidential primaries run a 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.”
On the crisis rocking the APC Akwa-Ibom State chapter, the former Petroleum Minister asked the APC national chairman to address the petition before him over the illegal governorship primary.
“We, therefore, take this opportunity to appeal to the leadership of our great Party to intervene and have the situation redressed by directing the conduct of proper gubernatorial primaries in line with Section 84 (1) of the Electoral Act immediately before it is too late.
Meanwhile, we call on all our Party faithful to remain calm and keep faith with the party while we wait for the Party’s intervention.”