The national vice chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-south zone, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, has declared the purported suspension of Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, the secretary to the state government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, the state party chairman, Anslem Ojezua, and others as null and void.
Eta told journalists yesterday in Calabar, Cross River State that the leadership of the party in the zone would not accept the suspension.
This is, however, contrary to the position of the national publicity secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, who said that the APC had ratified the suspension, an indication that the party leadership is divided on the issue.
Eta said that the purported suspension of the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and some members of his supporters by a faction of the party in the state was also unlawful and illegal.
The zonal APC chairman averred that the actions of both factions violated the provisions of the party’s constitution on the suspension or sanctioning of any member.
He said: “The South-south zone of the party will soon convene an emergency meeting to ensure that the crisis bedeviling the party in Edo State is resolved. I am quite shy about commenting on the crisis in Edo State. I had wanted time to do what is needful in terms of reconciling the factions in the state and address some gray areas.
“You may want to know that apart from the National Executive Committee (NEC), it is the zonal executive committee that sees to this kind of issue. We intend to convene an emergency zonal executive committee meeting to look into the matter.
“Having said that I am not in a position to take side in the matter in Edo State. But let me say that I have read and seen on TV and the newspapers as well as in the social media the various sanctions and suspensions starting from the national chairman, who was said to have been suspended, to the governor, his deputy, the SSG, the chairman of the party and even the state secretary of the APC.
“My take on this is that none of those processes met the provisions of the APC constitution. So, as for me as an individual, they are all null and void,” he said.
Eta said that there were constitutional provisions and processes that must be followed for any member, let alone, elected member of the party, to be suspended.
“The truth of the matter is that political parties are made up of human beings. There are constitutional processes and steps that you take before you can sanction people,” he said, adding that “one of the greatest ingredients in the process is that every person that is accused must be given an opportunity to react rather than going ahead to slam suspension order on the individual without listening to his side of the story.”
Eta maintained that the “whole process is undemocratic, dictatorial and tyrannical and therefore null and void” and called on those behind the suspension order against these party men to go back to the constitution to know how to go about the issue.