The All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders in Akwa Ibom state, on Sunday, November 5, clarified that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) designated for the state, Etekarnba Umoren, is not a member of the party.
Umoren was recently cleared by the Senate for appointment by President Bola Tinubu as REC from Akwa Ibom.
However, there has been uproar about his nomination as REC with the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom state and some civil society organizations claiming he is a card-carrying member of the APC, which they said is against the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
However, speaking to the press in Abuja on behalf of the Akwa Ibom APC, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, debunked the allegations while challenging the critics to show concrete proof of his alleged membership to buttress their claim.
Eyiboh who is the Leader of the Forum of the 2023 APC candidates in Akwa Ibom State and one of the leaders of APC in Eket, Senatorial District, insisted that the criteria for party membership goes beyond mere wearing a T-Shirt associated with a political party, especially in an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) where photographs can be cloned.
He added: “So it is not true. It is speculative. It is spurious to say that Etekarnba is a member of the APC. That’s not correct. The issue of Sir Etekarnba Umoren as a nominee, Resident Electoral Commissioner, is very clear. And I’m also aware of the petitions, complaints, and all of that. I can tell you that the law on the issue of the person who should not be said should not be a cat-caring member of a political party.
“Etekarnba Umoren is a bureaucrat. He served in the Akwa Ibom State Executive as a permanent secretary. He was a career Civil Servant as a permanent secretary. And he was employed in that same executive, not by the political party, as the Chief of Staff and then Secretary to State Government not to serve a political party but to serve a government.
“So there is a difference between a political party appointment and a government appointment. I have also seen that some alleged he wore the uniform of the APC. The law is very strict on who is a member of a political party.
“The member of the political party must be, not only a card-carrying member of that party, he must be in a good financial standing with that political party.
“His name must be among the registered members of that political party. The prescription has nothing to do with uniform or mode of dressing.
“I can go to a rally during a campaign. I can mention some of you who are not members of APC, but for my sake, came to visit me and participated in a rally and I gave the fez cap for them to use.
“They used the fez cap. That does not qualify them as members of the political party because their names are not there in the register of members neither are they of financial standing in the political party.
“That’s a very simple prescription for who is a member of a political party. So for you to take the ordinary mode of dressing, this is an African attire and what I’m putting on now represents a particular tribe in Ghana.
“Would you carry a protest against me that I should not serve as the special adviser to the Senate president because I’m a Ghanaian by my mode of dressing?
“The answer is no because a citizen or a member of a group or an organization is not determined by the clothing he wears, but by membership of that organization and every organization has a defined criteria for its membership.
“So I want to see those who are opposed to this to come out with the register of members of the political party.
“I’m sure you are also aware, in this age of artificial intelligence (AI), I can wear this cloth and then they can change this garment to become a suit.
“So you must be aware that the possibility of cloning is also possible. You can’t rule that out. But what substantially defines a member of a political organization or party is the register of membership. Two, meeting the criteria set out by that organization.”
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