Elo Edremoda, Warri
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) Delta state chapter has deepened following the purported suspension of the party’s secretary, Mr. Chidi Okonji, by the state chairman, Prophet Jones Erue.
Reacting to the development via telephone, the party’s Organising Secretary, Sir Amorighoye Mene, accused the chairman of working to destroy the party in the state, adding that the meeting that saw the “purported suspension was “unlawful”.
Mene told The Nation that Prophet Erue had on Monday, February 17, called on LGA chairmen, ward chairmen, and women leaders, who are not members of the State Executive Council as stated by the party’s constitution, for a SEC meeting at the APC secretariat in Asaba, the first to be held since the March 2019 polls.
According to him, most of the party members boycotted the meeting, giving the directive of the State Working Committee on February 5, that called on the chairman to “step aside”.
The APC SEC in a statement signed by its secretary, Okonji, had condemned the purported suspension of the deputy chairman, Engr. Elvis Ayomanor, the woman leader, Dr. (Mrs) Janet Oyubu and seven others by the chairman on the grounds that legal process and consultations was not followed.
The SEC further set up a five-man committee to investigate alleged irregularities in the use of party funds by the troubled chairman.
Monday’s meeting reportedly witnessed the suspension of the party’s secretary, Chidi Okonji, by the suspended chairman, Erue.
The organising secretary, however, posited that for the umpteenth time, Erue had failed to go by the provisions of the party’s constitution, which allows every officer fair hearing.
“Now he called the meeting a SEC meeting but women leaders, youth leaders and ward chairmen are not members of SEC by the party’s constitution. So the meeting he called was an illegal and unlawful meeting and it had no bearing with the party’s constitution. It had no bearing whatsoever.
“At the meeting, he purported to have suspended the party’s secretary, Chidi Okonji, without relying on the clear provisions of the constitution which gives every party officer, the right of fair hearing. Even though today, he is not in a position to constitute any committee for fair hearing because he has been suspended.
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“He cannot purport to suspend anybody, unless the person has been investigated and given the benefit of fair hearing. That action itself is an act of illegality on the part of the former chairman. He also removed the deputy chairman, whom he said he had removed before and replaced him with Moses Ogodo.
“The question some persons have asked is if he removed the substantive secretary for whatever reason, what about the assistant secretary? There is always a substantive position and the assistants. Why bring the deputy Chief of Staff of the Deputy Senate President to come act as secretary? These are acts of illegalities all construed to divide the party in the state with the hope that he will finally destroy the party,” Mene stressed.
Asked if the current crisis boils down to the differences between the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, he stated: “as an officer of the party, I don’t want to be dragged into the disagreement between Senator Omo-Agege and Ogboru.
“Our duty as officers is to stabilise the party and ensure that whatever we do is in line with the party’s constitution. Yes, there might be issues here and there, but I feel they are matured individuals and at the right time they will settle whatever issues they have. But as the party executive, the chairman or members should not be used to settle political scores.”
Mene also disclosed that “startling revelations” have been made by the five-man working committee and in due course, the reports would be made known to the public.