Judex Okoro, Calabar
Discord has continued to trail the APC congresses held in Cross River as key stakeholders disagree over the conduct of congresses at various levels of the party structure.
While the Senator Owan faction has cried foul over alleged irregularities and attendant violence, and subsequently boycotted the state congress held under tight security at Cultural Centre in Calabar, the Pastor Usani camp described it as a “very peaceful congress”, leading to the election of the state exco headed by Mr Etim John.
The party for quite a while now has been embroiled in a leadership tussle, leading to fractionalisation and the conduct of parallel ward and local government congresses.
At the venue of the congress, it was observed that some heavyweights, including the South-South zonal Vice Chairman, Mr Hilliard Eta, Special Adviser to the President Buhari on Prosecution, Bar Obono Obla, Senator John Owan Eno, representing Cross River Central, and Chief Clement Ebri, former governor of the state, boycotted the exercise.
Others absent were Prof Eyo Etim Nyong, and Hon Paul Ada, both former commissioners in the NDDC board, Vice chairman, Cletus Obun, and former deputy chairman, John Ochalla, were conspicuously absent.
But on the podium were Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani, Sen Florence Ita-Giwa, Chief Sam Bassey, former speakers of Cross River Assembly, Gab Edi and Harry Odey, and former Commissioner for Works and Environment during the Duke and Imoke administrations, Dr Julius Okputu.
Describing the said congress as a “charade”, the Vice Chairman Central, Hon Cletus Obun, said: “There is no way state congress would have held in the state because the chapter congresses were yet to be concluded in some local government area, including Yakuur and Yala.
“It is unfortunate that some people gathered at Cultural Centre, Calabar yesterday and conducted what is called a ‘kangaroo congress’, while we were still waiting for the list of some officers who are supposed to be delegates in the said congress.
“It is a sham and has nothing to do with the state congress. Anybody supporting is simply orchestrating an APC crisis. I cannot imagine that, while the contestants to the state offices are still with their teller waiting to buy the forms, some people went ahead to conduct the congress. It sounds ridiculous.
“Even an appeal panels was not set up to look into the grievances, and then you suddenly woke up and announced to the world that you have conducted a state congress. This is impunity of the highest level and bad that it is coming from members who tout the ‘Change’ mantra. It is incorrect, improper and illegal and would not hold water,” Obun complained.
Corroborating Obun’s account, Sen John Owan Eno, said: “Such exercise cannot hold when we are still trying to sort out issues with ward and chapter congresses.”
But hailing the congress as peaceful and orderly, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa called on APC members in the South-South state to be united and peaceful in their conduct, especially as it concerns party affairs.