The crisis rocking the All Progressive Congress (APC) Cross River Chapter seems to be gathering momentum as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, has stated that he is not aware of his suspension by the party’s state leadership.
The state working committee led by the Acting state Chairman, Sir John Ochala, had on Saturday, January 27 suspended Pastor Usani Uguru Usani indefinitely for anti-party activities.
The party, which also recommended Usani’s expulsion to the national leadership, accused the Minister of holding illegal meetings contrary to article 21 of APC constitution, alleging that he held a meeting at one of the former Senator’s house in Abuja on Thursday, January 24, where one Mr. Etim John was selected as the new party chairman.
But a faction of the party led by the State Organizing Secretary Mr. Ekpe Owan Ayang has declared Usani’s suspension null and void.
They went ahead to announce the suspension of Mr. Ocha and the National Vice Chairman South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, from the party, endorsing instead John as the new state acting chairman.
However, in a move to douse tensions in the party, National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdulahi had in a statement insisted that Sir John Ochalla remains the chairman of the party and that members involved in the appointment of a new acting chairman would be disciplined.
Reacting for the first time since the suspension order by the state working committee, Usani told reporters at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, where he was welcomed by a hand full of supporters, that he was not aware he had been suspended.
“I am not aware that I have been suspended by anybody. As I am talking with you, I have not got any official letter communicating to me or stating why I am suspended.
“I can tell you that every party has a fight and how you resolve it is what is important. My worry is within the limits of known partisan tradition and conflict.
“We are resolving it. When a resolution takes place, whether amicably or by victory, there important thing is that there is a resolution and we are resolving it,” he said.
Also reacting, Mr. Etim John, who arrived at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar with Usani, said the statement from the National leadership recognising Sir John Ochala as the authentic Acting Chairman was a ‘misnomer’.
Etim maintained that Ochalla was not from the same zone as the former chairman and therefore not qualified to be an acting state chairman; adding that because a vacuum cannot be left, he as deputy chairman held brief.
“As far as I am concerned, the statement by the APC publicity Secretary is a misnomer. The party guidelines stipulate clearly how an acting chairman is appointed. As far as this is concerned, Ochalla is yet to be appointed or elected because he only came in to hold brief,” John said.
Ochalla had taken over as acting chairman of the party after Usani was appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.