BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
A Social Activist and stalwart of All Progressive’s Congress (APC) in Cross River state, Chief Utum Ubi Eteng, has reiterated that the party cannot win any elections as long as it remained factional.
He reiterated this statement in an exclusive interview in Calabar with the Patriot News Online in his office while reacting to his stand on the just concluded local government elections in the state.
He said “my candid advise to my party, the APC is that it should put its house in order to have one political family. Going from one court here to another cannot solve the problem “.
“I have said it before and I will wait until there is a contradiction. The APC in Cross River state cannot win any election in Cross River state. It cannot. It is my .party and we cannot win any election because as we present one candidate today, the other faction will present theirs jeopardising the chances of our candidate in an election, he regretted “.
Eteng said he did not support the position of his party to postpone or boycott the elections as there was no credible reason to do so.
He said “I held the views that under no circumstance should my party refuse to take part in an election if forced by both governor Ayade and the Electoral body (CROSIEC) vide two Court Orders to conduct elections”,
According to him, “I am not speaking on this matter for the State APC as I am not the spokes person, but I am doing so in pursuant to my fundamental human right, freedom of expression, especially on a matter that the average Cross Riverian is interested in democratisation of the grassroot”.
It would be recalled “my party the APC in 2017 vide Suit No HC/7/17.procured my services “gratis”, wherein I sued governor Ben Ayade, the CRSG and CROSIEC when the first attempt was made to constitute the local government Caretaker Committee after the expiration of the elected council chairmen on 15/12/2016″.
Furthermore, he said, “the late Chief Judge, Hon.. Justice Okoi Itam on 15/3/2017 held that Section 7(1) of the Constitution is sacrosanct and that governor Ayade should conduct the local government elections polls, hence the HOLGAs were made to hold forth”.
Also in 2018, when other skirmishes were made to overtake the 2017 judgement, the APC went back to court in HC514/2018, still “gratis”, and on 12/11/2019,Hon. Justice E. E. Ita ordered the state to comply by holding the local government council polls in keeping with the Constitution “.
Eteng said “after all these judgement in favour of APC, “I felt scandalised for the same APC to approach the court to restrain the conduct of an election it moved the court to oder”.
He said “the arguments about licking sufficient time not given before 305/2020 is misconceived, because CROSIEC gave notice before the intervention of the pandemic which moved it from 28/32020 to 30/5/2020”.
He said “for three years we have been getting orders from the Court compelling someone to conduct an election and he has compiled as directed by the Court and elections are held and you are saying ,it should be cancelled “
According to him, “the Electoral Act does not allow one party to present two candidate in an election. You don’t need to be an SAN to know the answer to that kind of situation “.
He said he has no intention to leave APC, but regretted that the party worked itself to where it is .today. Ayade is a politician, any opportunity he see, he makes use of it judiciously .Anything that will favour him, he will surely take advantage of it and that is what happened. APC could not present a united . He said take money and conduct the election whether we took part or not the elections have been conducted according to the Electoral Act”.
On whether APC should challenge CROSIEC in court, “Eteng said I will look stupid and foolish for me to appear in court on this matter again over an election I prayed the Court to Order. No I were your friend, won’t I look stupid?”.
Now you go to court, can you challenge a pre-election matter when elections have been concluded, the answer is No, he added.
He appealed to party members to forget the past and come together as united family so as to be able to fight and win elections.
“We are grandstanding. Today in Court One, tomorrow in Abuja High Court , next day in Appeal Court etc. What are we getting out off all those suits? .
“Notice of election can only be given once, but circumstances like an Act of God like the case of the pandemic can move it from 28/3/2020 to 30/5/2020, he further explained”.