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It is no longer a mystery why the National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomole, failed to show up at the solidarity rally for President Buhari in Ikot Ekpene last Friday.

Oshiomole, who was touted to be the special guest of honour at the event, was conspicuously absent, forcing the organizers to plead with the zonal vice chairman, Ntufan Hilliard Ettah, to stand in for him as a face-saving measure.

A mild drama however ensued when the organizers sought a replacement for Oshiomole as the special guest of honour. It was gathered that Ntufan Ettah, when approached immediately refused the honour, saying he was equally invited as a guest and was not given clearance by the national chairman to represent him.

Though, after several calls were made to Abuja, the zonal vice chairman reluctantly accepted the offer.

Meanwhile a highly placed source within the state party hierarchy, has explained that the rally was not properly communicated to the national secretariat and the national chairman was not intimated of it until five days to the event.

He stated that the event was initially tagged a grand reception by Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District for the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, but later changed to “a solidarity rally for President Buhari”, when invitations were to be given to national officers.

While blaming the organizers for the mix up, he revealed further that the party is in the process of reconciliation and mobilization as such it was expedient to wait for INEC to give the green light before commencing political rallies.

Going beyond the surface, he hinted that an important factor in the saga was that the key beneficiary of the Ikot Ekpene rally, Mr. Nsima Ekere, is not on the good books of the national chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomole because Ekere did not support his emergence.

He pointed out that the NDDC boss sponsored Akwa Ibom state APC delegates led by former chairman, Dr. Amadu Attai, to reject Adams Oshiomole as national chairman and to pass a vote of no confidence on the zonal vice chairman, Ntufan Hilliard Ettah, during a zonal meeting in Calabar.

Confirming this report, another chieftain of the party hinted that the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, on the orders of his godfather, the Minister of Transport – Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, bankrolled the effort to retain Chief John Oyegun as national chairman of the party.

He reportedly doled out heavy sums to state chapters across the South south and South east to reject Oshiomole and return Oyegun.

Unfortunately, this ploy failed when the national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu mounted pressure on President Mohammed Buhari to give the landmark directive, which resulted in the exit of Chief Oyegun.

While denying these allegations, an aide to the national chairman, who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, stated that “the national chairman is a busy man and has high priority goals to meet every day. He is currently focused on reorganizing the party and part of it is working in accordance with clearly set objectives. As the ruling party, we are careful not to send mixed signals.

” As a matter of fact, initial information reaching us was that the event was a reception not a rally. The rally could have been of more strategic relevance if the entire state did it”.

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