Leadership tussle tears Cross River PDP apart … As Ayade battles Ikem
The election of a new state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Cross River State has torn the party apart.
Party members representing the state in the National Assembly have thrown their weight behind Venatius Ikem, while Governor Ben Ayade is said to be more favourably disposed to the choice of one of his aides, Alphonsus Eba.
The National Assembly members stormed the party secretariat on Murtala Mohammed highway in Calabar on Monday to demand a fair contest after dismissing the outcome of the party’s ward congresses in the state.
Those who were at the secretariat include two senators, Gershom Bassey and Prof Sandy Onor, and all seven House of Representatives members. None of them agreed to speak to the media on their way out of the secretariat.
Speaking at the party secretariat, a senior member of the party and Coordinator, Movement for the Restoration of Cross River PDP, comprising the National Assembly members and pioneer members of the party in the state, Mr Raymond Takon, said, “What is going on right now is high-handedness and the leadership of the party in the state is trying to turn the party into a one-man show.
“This is not what we know of democracy and that is the truth. I think the intention is to deprive senators and stakeholders from participating in the governance of Cross River State. So, this is very alien to us as a people.
“What we are agitating for is that all stakeholders should be carried along and the congresses should be participatory. During the ward congresses and the local government congresses, they handpicked their cronies and they did not allow most of us to participate and the same thing they want to do as it concerns the state congresses that they have already written out names of their preferred candidates and we think that it shouldn’t be so and that our people should participate. We reject what is going on totally.”
Takondecried what he called the inordinate ambition of some party members.
He added, “We don’t know what their intention is, but I know that it is the inordinate ambition of some people. We have raised the issue before the national secretariat of the party and we are waiting for their reaction to this. We will seek legal opinion on the congress and we would go the full length of the law once we find out that it is justiciable. I can tell you that we will have facts.”
Reacting, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Egbung Odama, said, “I don’t think there is any crisis without resolution. We are having a stakeholders’ meeting later today (Monday) and all issues would be addressed. We urge all to sheathe their swords and work as a family which we have been noted for.” Punch