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REC: Allegations Of Umoren Being Member Of APC False, Spurious – Eyiboh

The controversy trailing the nomination and confirmation of Mr Etekamba Umoren as the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) representing Akwa Ibom State reverberated at the weekend as some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) rose to his defence, insisting that the allegation of his membership of the party was false and spurious.

The leader of the Forum of the 2023 APC candidates in Akwa Ibom State and one of the leaders of the party in Eket Federal Constituency, Hon Eseme Eyiboh told journalists that Umoren was only a career civil servant and not a politician.

Eyiboh who is also the Special Adviser to the President of the Senate on Media and Publicity, said the law was very clear with respect to who should not be a Resident Electoral Commissioner and Umoren’s nomination was in order as the nominee had never been a member of a political party.

He described Umoren, as a bureaucrat who served the Akwa Ibom State Government in various capacities, adding that throughout his career he was employed by the Akwa Ibom State Government and not a political party.

According to him, the nominee served as the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the State Government, stressing that there was a difference between a political party appointment and a government appointment

“I have also heard some people claim that they saw him wearing the uniform of APC and therefore he must be a member of the party. A member of a political party must be not just a card-carrying member of the political party, he must be in good financial standing with that political party. His name must be among the registered members of that political party.

“It has nothing to do with uniform or mode of dressing. A member of a group is not determined by the clothing he wears.

“Every organisation has a defined criteria for its membership. So I want to tell those who are opposed to Umoren to come out with the register of members of the political party and show us his name.

“I’m sure you’re also aware that in this age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), I can wear this cloth while addressing you but they can change it to become a suit in a photograph later. You can’t rule out the possibility of manipulation.

“So it is not true, it is speculative and spurious for anyone to say that Etekamba Umoren is a member of the APC. It is not correct,” he said.

On the allegations that Umoren was first a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) before he defected to the APC, Eyiboh argued that the issue of defection holds no water because even when someone moves to another party he must formally resign from the first party and apply to join the new party.

“If ever he was a member of the PDP, then they must come out with a register to show that he was a member of a political party. At least we should see his resignation letter and when he resigned, he must have applied to APC to become a member.

“This will be further authenticated by his membership card, his name in the party register and a record that he must have paid his dues. Anything outside these is spurious and must be interrogated properly.

“The law says that whoever alleges must prove it. So those people who are saying that he should not be the Resident Electoral Commissioner because he would be partisan should show proof to back up their allegations.

As far as we know, he is a bureaucrat, we have facts; he has been a Permanent Secretary, we have facts and he has been a Director in the Civil Service, we have facts. He has been the Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff to a Governor but none of these positions suggests that he is a member of any political party.

“If those persons and civil society groups have not sent in one petition against Etekamba Umoren except press statements, they are supposed to bring up a petition and attach the register of the supposed political party which they claim he belongs to and any other thing that suggests he is a member of the party.

“They should have sent these to the Senate to back up their allegations. But under the principle of fair hearing they must also listen to the other side,” he said.

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