The National Vice Chairman, South South in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congrees (APC), Ntufam Eta, on Sunday said he remains acting National Chairman of the party.
Eta, who filed a suit in an Abuja Federal High Court on Friday seeking dissolution of the party’s Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and reinstatement of the June 25 dissolved NWC, said the action was to validate his mandate given by the statutory organs of the party.
Speaking with The Nation on phone, Eta said on the 23rd and 24th of June 2018 he was elected at the national convention of the party as the National Vice Chairman, South South for a tenure of 4 years, which he said would lapse by June 23, 2022.
He further said his claim to the apex office of the party was a product of the unanimous decision by 16 out 21 members of the NWC at its June 17, 2020 to elect him the acting National Chairman of the party.
Prior to the June 25 National Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari where the Oshiomhole- led NWC was dissolved, a leadership vacuum existed following a court order that affirmed suspension of the former National Chairman by his ward.
The absence of the Deputy National Chairman, South, Senator Isiaka Ajimobi due to ill health further created a leadership crisis that saw then acting national Secretary, Hon. Victor Giadom also laying claim to the party leadership position before the dissolution of the NWC by the NEC.
However, Eta in a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja on Friday sought for the reverse of the June 25 NEC decision.
“I have approached the court to validate my mandate. Between 23rd and 24th of June, 2018, I was re-elected as the National Vice Chairman, South South for a tenure of four years, which is to lapse by 23rd June 2022. I was duly elected at the national convention.
“In the same vein on the 17th June, 2020, 16 out the 21 NWC members elected me as the acting national Chairman and it is on the strength of that that I approached the country to validate my mandate because I am still the acting national chairman of our party.”
When asked why it took him five months to challenge the decision of NEC to dissolve former NWC and inaugurated the Caretaker Committee, Eta simply said: “I am a politician. I have to consult widely, give room to assess critical decisions taken before reacting.
“I am convinced this is the right time to seek for my mandate. Mind you, I was elected as National Vice Chairman and members of the NWC elected me as acting National Chairman.”
Eta, who seems to be alone in the legal battle to return the former NWC, said: “I don’t need the approval of anybody. I am still the acting National Chairman and it was on that strength that I approached the court to validate my mandate.”
Efforts to get reactions from some members of the defunct NWC failed as several telephone calls were not answered.