The All Progressive Congress (APC)’s campaign council in Cross River state has stated that a recent ruling by the Federal High Court, which ordered for the removal of its governorship candidate Owan Enoh, has no effect on the forthcoming March governorship polls.
Backstory: The Federal High Court in the state’s capital of Calabar, had on Monday ruled in favor of Usani Usani, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, recognizing him as the legitimate governorship candidate. Usani and Enoh have been locked in a tough battle to get the APC ticket. Enoh however has the backing of the APC national leadership.
The judgement which was delivered by Justice Simon Amobeda, directed the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to not only submit Usani’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but also accept the candidates fielded by Usani’s faction of the community, for both the upper and lower chambers of the national assembly as well as the state assembly.
Response from Cross River APC Campaign Council: Maurice Effiwat, head of the APC campaign council in the state, on Tuesday, stated that the ruling changes nothing going into the elections, as Enoh remains its governorship candidate.
“We don’t have anything to do about it because their action is a nullity; it cannot change what INEC has already done. The judgment was procured. Our spirit is not dampened, we saw it coming,” he said.
While revealing that the party has every intention of appealing the High Court ruling, Effiwat also attacked Usani, saying, “Usani is a minister, is he not supposed to resign one month to the election? Ask the DG of his campaign if he has resigned,” he asked.
Usani’s Faction Accepts Ruling: Speaking on behalf of Usani’s Campaign Organization, its leader, Ekenyong Cobham, expressed satisfaction with the ruling which echoed the previous judgment by a High Court in Abuja in December 2018.
Cobham also assured everyone that Usani, was well prepared for the elections, saying, “We have been very much on the ground, we have been campaigning and networking.”
Bottom Line: This is yet another example of the chaos within the APC. In several states including Zamfara and Rivers, internal crisis amongst its party stalwarts have dampened its chances in the elections as courts have had to intervene, sometimes with conflicting judgments.