BENIN CITY-THE National Vice Chairman (South South) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Ntufam Hilliard Eta said Tuesday that the leadership of the party decided to endorse the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the position of the National Chairman of the party because “Oshiomhole is the rebranding APC needs” ahead the 2019 general elections.
He said the party followed the tradition and due process in endorsing Oshiomhole contrary to views from few leaders of the party in the zone recalling that it was in similar manner that the incumbent National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun was endorsed in 2014 in Port Harcourt, at a meeting hosted by the then governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi where he said, Oyegun was adopted as the candidate of the zone.
On the issue of four chairmen who disassociated themselves from the Benin meeting, Mr Eta clarified that “I know that Cross River state does not have a chairman as we speak, so it could not have been four chairmen. Let me say that the chairmen are members of the zonal executive committee just like the other 164 people in the zonal committee of the party.
“ We are not holding a state executive meeting, we were holding a zonal committee meeting and in the zonal executive committee we have over 168 people including senators, governors, deputy governors, former senators, former House of Reps members. So the chairmen who stormed out of the meeting were not speaking for their states. Let me tell you something, Senator Nelson Effiong was seated and participated in the voting when his chairman stormed out and said he disassociated himself.
“He could not have been speaking for Senator Effiong, he could not have been speaking for Hon.Robinson or Hon.Esieme Eyibo. When the chairman of Rivers state stormed out of the house, he could not have been speaking for Senator Magnus Abbe, because Abe after voting sat until the end of the meeting. He could not have been speaking for Senator Wilson Ake, these are people form Rivers state.
“In Bayelsa, the man there is just holding forth as chairman, he is not the chairman, however when he left the hall, people like Chief Ikisibor and others who were from Bayelsa state remained at the meeting. So these people cannot be claiming to speak for their states” he said.
On why they picked Oshiomhole ahead the incumbent, Chief Oyegun, Mr Eta said “Oshiomhole fought the god fathers of PDP in Edo state and defeated them. He has the name, the experience to change the fortunes of our party.
“I am the National Vice Chairman for close to four years now and what I can say now is that this party, the APC needs rebranding, reinvigoration, we need new creativity, we need to build strong leadership. I can tell you that we have been lacking very seriously, leadership at the national level of our party. And in bringing in Oshiomhole on board, I can tell you that the party will have a new lease of life. The impunity that has crept in, in the APC will be halted. And the laws of the party will be respected. For now, God forbid that Jesus Christ will come to the headquarters of the APC, he will not flog us with cane, he will flog us with thorns” he stated.