Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in all but two of the six states in the south-south have denied endorsing Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo state, for the chairmanship position of the party.
At a press conference on Monday, they said John Oyegun, chairman of the ruling party, reserved the right to seek reelection.
The state chairmen are Davies Ikanya, Rivers; Joseph Fafi, Bayelsa; Etim John, Cross River; Amadu Attai, Akwa ibom.
They had stormed out of the south-south zonal caucus meeting held at the Edo state government house on Monday in protest of what they said were plans by Godwin Obaseki, governor of the state, and Hilliard Eta, zonal vice-chairman of the APC, to adopt Oshiomhole as the consensus chairmanship candidate of the region.
“We were here for a meeting only to be ambushed by the national vice chairman of the party to adopt a preconceived candidate,” Ikanya said.
“Yesterday (Sunday), we held a meeting which he attended, only for him to come and manipulate, sort out every suggestion and he is trying to say he has come out with a resolution. First, I want us to know that the zonal executive committee does not have the power to elect, nominate or to adopt candidates for national offices.
“It is the national convention that can do that. Secondly, there are very senior members in the zone that were shut out of this meeting purposely. Number one, the national chairman of the party who is from this zone and the national vice chairman of the party ought to sought the permission of the national chairman of the party even to convene this meeting because the constitution states that the national vice chairman shall assist the national chairman.
“So, in this zone where we have a sitting chairman and he is not invited to a meeting, you have six ministers, you have former governors, you have very senior citizens of this zone and they were shut out of the meeting only for the national vice chairman to ambush everybody, ignore every motion that was moved, even when somebody moved a motion that he should disqualify himself having shown bias from the beginning in this meeting, he still sat there and he is saying to the public that there was a resolution.
“We want you to know that out of the states of the zone, four states are saying that this was an ambush, it was not acceptable, there was no resolution. We have said that every person is free to run in the election.
We stand by the resolution of the national executive committee (NEC) that there is waiver. The national chairman can recontest if he wants to recontest, any other person from the zone can recontest if they want to recontest. What has happened in this meeting is a farce, is not binding on anybody, it is null and void.
Four states are saying no, whereas just two states – Edo and some parts of Delta are the people that are saying that they have a resolution. This is not how democracy should be practiced. Arising from this meeting today, the majority view is that there is no consensus on any candidate.”
On his part, Fafi said: “I want to also align myself with my colleagues from other states that they are not aware of what happened here. It is undemocratic, unexpected and a complete fraud and we dissociate ourselves from what has happened here and we believe that the election should be open to any interested candidate from the South South and the people will decide who to vote for and not the decision of Edo state.”
John and Attai also spoke in a similar manner.
The national executive committee (NEC) of the party had extended the tenure of the national working committee (NWC) led by Oyegun by a year but some leaders of the party kicked against it and even headed to the court.
President Muhammadu Buhari who was also in support of the tenure extension later opposed it, insisting on another convention.
The convention is slated for next month