By Sixtus Uket (Calabar)
The crisis rocking the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) in Cross River State has taken a new dimension with the election of the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr Lekam Ofem as the State’s Acting Chairman.
Dr Ofem was elected the acting Chairman of LP in Cross River State at a meeting of the State Executive Council (SEC) held recently at the Party’s Secretariat in Calabar, the capital city of the State.
However, in a swift reaction, the embattled State Chairman of the party, Patriarch Osim Ogar, fired back that the action of those who purportedly ousted him is unconstitutional and a kangaroo arrangement.
This latest recent development came barely a week after the National Chairman of LP, Barr. Julius Abure had voided the suspension of Osim Ogar by the State Executive Council of the party.
Ogar, who also doubled as the Governorship Candidate of the party in the recently concluded Governorship and House of Assembly Elections in the State was suspended by the State Executive Council of the party for alleged financial impropriety.
Dr Ofem was elected after the state Vice Chairman North of the party, Prince Odama John Abua, moved a motion passing a vote of no confidence on Ambassador Ogar Osim as well as nominating Dr. Lekam Ofem as the acting State Chairman. The motion was authenticated by the Chapter Chairman of Abi Local Government, Comrade Anthony Eze.
In his acceptance speech, the new Acting Chairman of the party, Dr. Lekam Ofem promised to move the party forward until when the independent committee that is constituted to resolve all lingering issues decides otherwise.
Also speaking, the State Secretary of the party and moderator of the meeting, Mr. Asuquo Etim, said the election of the acting Chairman was in line with Article 18, Subsections (2) and (3) of the Labour Party Constitution.
In his remarks, the Chapter Chairman of Yakurr Local Government, Comrade Kes Akpama, said, “the case of Ambassador Osim Ogar who happens to be one of the high ranked disciples of His Holiness, Father Olumba Olumba Obu is likened to that of Jonah in the Bible.”
Comrade Akpama further noted that, “it might be that his calling is not in politics but to him who has called him to work in his vineyard; his suspension might be orchestrated by divinity to overboard him back to his ministry where he belongs.”
Our reporter gathered that the meeting was attended by 23 members of the State Executive Council of the party, including 15 out of the 18 Chapter Chairmen of the party in the State.
Ogar Osim, who was contacted on telephone insisted that the election of the acting Chairman was a “a kangaroo” arrangement of a few members, stressing that it is unconstitutional.
“That is a kangaroo arrangement that is not supported by the constitution. Go and read the constitution of the party and you will understand what I am saying.
“Please, kindly read the party’s constitution before you know exactly if what they are doing is in line with the constitution of our great party.
“l am not an appointed Chairman, I was elected in congress and the constitution states clearly the procedure for the suspension of a Chairman.
“Even if the chairman is suspended, it’s one of the Vice Chairmen from his zone that should act,” Patriarch Osim stated.