2023 polls aftermath: Discontent reigns in Cross River APC

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Despite being the governing party in Cross River State and the only in the entire South-South geopolitical zone, comprising six states, the All Progressives Congress, APC, does not appear to enjoy peace and cohesion in the state.

This is because there have been lots of disquiet, complaints of neglect and sidelining of the so-called foundation members of the APC.

There have also been loud complaints by some party faithful about the leadership style of the state party chairman, Alphonsus Eba.

The ‘generation of Ben Ayade’s APC members’ have been accused of coming to usurp, overwhelm and suppress those who kept the party alive during the struggling days before the former governor, Ayade jumped ship on May 20, 2021, from PDP to APC.

Good number of the APC stalwarts, including the former party chairman who later became minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani deserted the party.

Most of them complained of not being accommodated, given positions or recognised whereas those that never worked for the party or suffered humiliation like they did are the ones now in positions and basking in opulence.

Alongside the acclaimed ‘original APC’ members who never wanted Barrister Alphonsus Ogar Eba as the party chairman, some of those described as the ‘influx of joiners’ are not at peace with him.

They have insisted that he must give way otherwise the party would continue to lose ground as has happened in the Cross River North senatorial district where the opposition PDP is holding sway.

They have been calling for Eba’s immediate resignation, saying he woefully failed during the last general election in February and March last year, as well as in the just concluded rerun elections, especially in the northern part of the state, where he hails from.

A group called Cross River North All Progressives Congress Reconciliatory Movement, APCRM, in a statement signed by Bernard Ingio David, the state secretary and the Public Relations Officer, Ms MaryRose Ijomi, called for his immediate resignation.

Similarly, a party stalwart still from the northern Cross River, Chief Henry Onwe who served as the coordinator of Governorship Campaign in Yala LGA and his group have also insisted that Eba must leave.

Some of the accusations leveled against Eba include his failure to deliver the party at the just-concluded re-run elections in Obanliku and Yala II state constituencies, where the opposition PDP again walloped the ruling party.

APCRM accused him of arrogance and not capable of effectively leading the party to victory.

In their statement, they said “There is urgent need for the state State Chairman, Barrister Eba to bow out immediately following the poor outing of the party in last Saturday’s election.

“That would give his constituency or those who saddled him with the position the opportunity to get someone more capable to step in and turn the tide around.

“Sticking tenaciously to a position when it is clear to the person that he is incapable or does not have what it takes to deliver on the task saddled him is grave injustice to those he is responsible to.

“It is on this premise that we, Cross River North APC Reconciliatory Movement, have thought it absolutely necessary to demand the immediate resignation of Alphonsus Eba.”

According to them, his performance in the 2023 general election, especially in the northern part of the state where he hails from, was shameful and woeful.

“We, who are passionate and strongly believe in APC feel terribly ashamed of the constant mockery on us by people whom we ordinarily should overwhelm given the magnitude of resources ploughed into the elections since 2023 by our party,” they stated.

Venting his anger during an interview with DAILY POST, Chief Onwe said Eba performed woefully at even his own Echemofana ward which he ought to have won effortlessly going by the humongous resources available to him.

According to him, Eba disappointed the former governor, Ben Ayade during his Cross River north senatorial election bid, and failed to deliver Asiwaju Bola Tinubu during the presidential election.

Ayade was defeated by the current Senator, Jarigbe Agom.

“It was very shameful that the state governor lost many polling units in his area, wards and the senatorial district.

“This is totally unacceptable for a state Chairman of a ruling party like the APC. For Ayade to have lost in the nearby polling units was more painful,” he added.

However, reacting in a letter, signed by the acting publicity secretary, Emmanuel Edem, the party described them as detractors and faceless people blackmailing the chairman in order to mislead party faithful, supporters and the general public.

The party said the call was laughable, childish, foolish and from cowards.

“While we would ordinarily not respond to detractors whose sole purpose is to blackmail our capacity chairman, it is pertinent to set the records straight, in order to forestall continued misinformation and sound a note of warning to them that no amount of blackmail will distract the party leadership in the State Executive Committee from reviewing the out come of last week’s re run election.

“The call for the resignation of Alphonsus Ogar Eba Esq, JP, the dependable State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, from a faceless and non existent group is not only laughable, childish, foolish but is known to have emanated from some bunch of known cowards whose political proficiency is ensconced in infantile anti-party activities.

“While the record of the party in the March 18th 2023 Governorship and House of Assembly elections revealed a similar act which was recently repeated by them, the party has come to view their excesses as a cancerous malignant tumor that must be dealt with this time around,” he said.

He added that no one could deny the fact that the emergence of Eba as State Chairman did not only bring an end to the endless reign of the opposition in the state, but that the leadership prowess, political capacity and sagacity of their chairman has never been in question.

He insisted that Eba played a pivotal role in installing the current Governor, Sen. Prince Bassey Edet Otu as the only APC Governor in the South-South.

“Eba was also very instrumental to the victory of two senators who are representing the Southern and Central Senatorial districts, five out of eight House of Representatives members, and 20 out of 25 members in the State House of Assembly.

“Critics of Eba’s leadership fail to acknowledge the party’s commendable performance in the general elections as well as the re-run elections, where despite the pressing challenges where these set of people indulged in anti-party activities and other several impediments, APC demonstrated resilience and competitiveness in Obanliku and Yala 11 state constituencies, while the APC candidate for the Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency secured outstanding and resounding victory,” he further stated.