Attempts to remove Cross River APC chairman Eba must be constitutional – Obono-Obla

Okoi Obono Obla

Former presidential aide Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has cautioned that members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River State should follow laid down procedures and the party constitution if they want to suspend or remove Barrister Alphonsus Eba as chairman of the party in the state.

In the last one month, there have been moves by some party members and groups calling for the suspension or sack of Eba.

They have alleged that Eba is high-handed, arrogant, dictatorial and refuses to account for electoral funds amounting to over N200 million.

According to them, he led the party to an all round defeat in the last general and rerun elections in the Cross River northern district where he hails.

On 21 February 2024, a purported Stakeholders Forum issued a letter signed by Chief Mark Ayo (Secretary) and Chief Mathias Ake (Chairman) suspending the State Chairman, going further to appoint an acting state chairman.

Obono-Obla in a statement warned that the party cannot be run like a Mafia organization in accordance with the principle of ‘Might is Law’.

“I do not think this is the best way to conduct the affairs of a governing party.

“It is clear that the procedure used by the purported stakeholders to attempt to remove the incumbent State Chairman was mired in irregularities, wrongful, and a clear breach of the Party Constitution.

“Most importantly, there was no consultation with relevant leaders of the party at the State, Senatorial District, Local Government Areas, and Wards levels across the length and breadth of the State.

“This is not fair and undemocratic by any stretch of imagination.

“The APC Constitution (2013) (as amended) provides that the tenure of every elected member of the National, States, Local Government Area, and Ward executives is four years from the date of their election.
At the four anniversaries of their election, the elected executives have to bow out because of the principle of constitutional effluxion of time,” he said.

Obono-Obla, who is a lawyer, said according to Article 17 (v) of the constitution, such moves must be ratified by the National Convention or Congress before an officer is relieved of his post at any time, especially if a vote of no confidence was passed on him by two-thirds of members of the relevant Party Organ.

“The State Executive Committee of the Party by 2/3 majority has not passed a vote of no confidence on the Incumbent State Chairman, Barrister Alphonsus Ogar Eba, at any time,” he said.

He said Article 21 of the party constitution gives power to discipline party members even then the power shall be exercised by the respective Executive Committee of the Party.

He noted that the party Chairman was never subjected to any disciplinary proceeding to afford him the right of fair hearing, emphasizing that since APC is a democratic party, its business must be democratically conducted at all times.