Akpan Etukudoh Asare
Elders, women leaders and other stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River Southern Senatorial District, comprising of seven local government areas, have insisted that they have to produce the next governor of the state.
They said even though the PDP had zoned it to the northern senatorial district but that the incumbent, Pot Ben Ayade should not look for a second term because he has performed poorly, meaning that the north has completed their term.
“If Ayade has been adjudged to have performed well he would be free to seek for a second teem ambition o enable the north continue. But now it is our turn to produce a governor”, spokesman of the group, Hon Aloysius Ene said.
Speaking in Calabar under the aegis of Concerned APC Stakeholders In Southern Senatorial District, he said the APC leaders should never make the mistake of picking either the minister of Niger Delta ministry, Pastor Usani Usani or his archival Senator John Owan-Enoh who have all been screened, as the party’s flag bearer in the upcoming governorship race next year otherwise they would plunge the entire state into irredeemable turmoil.
He contended that both are the major reasons or causes of the perennial imbroglio in the party in the past three years, making the APC to be in dilemma.
The group said the central is heavily loaded and most favoured with six key federal government appointments than the south, stressing that with the state chairman of the party coming from the central they should not possibly produce the governor as well.
“Senator John Owan-Enoh and Pastor Usani Usani, both from his Cross River central where the state chairman of APC is from, have audaciously picked and returned the governorship forms. The question therefore is, should we in r Southerne Senatorial District keep quiet?
“We have therefore resolved that the governor’s position for next year’s election should come from the Southern district. We shall support no one else for governorship than one from our district”.
Reacting, the state chair!an of APC, Dr Matthew Achigbe said, ” The decision of the party on any matter, including the governorship will be supreme. For me as a person, I do not care where the candidate will emerge from. My overall desire is to use a marketable candidate to win the governorship election. I will never use my position against that of the party. I am prepared to support and project any popular candidate endorsed by our party.
“The Southern district are free to canvass their desire and position since we are practising democracy. However, if they can convince the larger majority, their insistence may hold sway.”
On the recent High Court of Abuja decision against further judicial action by any officials, or persons or anyone acting on their behalves in respect of ward, local government or state congresses as well as the court contempt against his exco, Achigbe said that in as much as they respect court supremacy yet, why should the matter be taken to a court outside Cross River State.
Calling for maintenance of calm by its loyal members and supporters in the state, Achigbe said that the court will have no effects on his exco, maintaining that the rival exco led by Mr Godwin Etim John has no grounds to make any claims at all.
He announced that a reconciliation panel headed by Senator Prince Basset Otu will consolidate with the efforts he and his exco started since to pacify, reunite and resolve all grievances ahead of the elections.
He also disclosed that as at weekend 75 aspirants had so far bought the expression of intention forms, returned same and were being screened.
Also speaking over the weekend at the Calabar airport when he arrived from Abuja, Secretary of the other APC led by Etim John alleged to be financed by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, Orator Francis Ekpenyong said the Abuja high court has nullified every action and decision taken by the rival Dr Achigbe led exco.
He said even all the 75 aspirants that have bought and returned their forms stand cancelled because his exco which he said was the only authentic and legally recognised leadership was going to revisit all matters, warning that those parading themselves as chairmen and secretaries should steer clear.
“I am just from Abuja where the high court has ordered that any further judicial actions in respect of all congresses in the state should abate. This confirms that my exco is the only authentic and legal one saddled with the tasks of running the party in the state and to harmonise aspirants for next year’s general election”, Ekpenyong said.