By Odey Ojeka
The two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the central senatorial district of Cross River State led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani and the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla have mended fences.
The duo announced the reconciliation process at a meeting held Saturday at the Yakurr secretariat of the APC and gave reasons for their decision after years of been at loggerheads with the fight spilling up to the state chapter of the party which among other factors, has left the party docile for long.
“Some people thought I and Barrister Okoi would never have reconciled” Usani said.
“But, they never knew we schooled at the same the University of Jos. We started (sic) in that school 33 years ago. So the relationship we had has been for a long time. We disagree to agree.
“I thank God we finally reconciled and we are going to work together collectively for the party. Our party is doing very well, some of you that heard that the state Governor wife is going round to empower women with money; the money is from Federal government.
“But, because we are (a) different and impartial government, we pass through the state government to empower our women. So nobody should tell you that it is PDP state government that empowers women.
“The empowerment is part of the intervention program of the federal government under the office of the vice president. The road which PDP damaged right from Ogoja to PortHarcourt, we are trying to work on it,” Usani added.
Obla on his part reiterated Usani’s position that they schooled together and said his disagreement with Usani stemmed from the fact he (Usani) came to play politics in Ugep without inviting him and called on all Yakurr people to support the APC government as it has favored them.
“I and minister Usani went to the University of Jos together. The reason I disagreed with him was because he came to Ugep to do politics, he invited everybody but he did not invite me. So when he became state chairman of APC, I was aware that it was controversial but I wouldn’t want to throw stones because he is my brother. I just kept quite thinking that after all he would call me.
He continued: “I must thank Mr. Patrick Ubi who has made an effort to bring us together with no avail. And this is God right appointed time for us to reconcile. And I also thank the Yakurr people in Abuja who were not happy when I was having differences with minister Usani, they came to my house in Abuja.
“We were supposed to meet with the minister at Abuja but we couldn’t meet. But I believe God’s appointed time has come. I had once told him both of us are selfish if we do not reconcile. And if we do not reconcile our people in the village would suffer.
“We have together embraced one another and we forgive one another. Our federal government has done a lot of reforms. We don’t make so much noise but we have done a lot of things. And if we don’t work together, you people would be denied from those benefits from government which (are) supposed to flow down. From the bottom of my heart I accept minister Usani and we are going to work together.
“Our misunderstanding affected the party in the entire state. From today we shall work together to produce government in our state .This party has favored us, particularly, we Yakurr. For the first time Late Chief Eteng Okoi Obuli was a minister in 1979, now we have another son who is also a minister, we have another son who is the Chief of Naval staff and I am also there too.
“Why can’t you support this government? And if you mention another part of our state, we are favored. After today we are going to reconcile everybody so that we will become one, strong and united party. As the local government election is coming up we are going to sit together to select good leaders who will represent us well.”
The duo also visited the Obol Lopon of Ugep after the meeting. The Paramount ruler admonished them to disregard rumors and sides talks and work to unite their supporters for the interest of the local government and the state at large.
Bigwigs of the APC in Yakurr were present with the notable absentee being former Governor of Cross River State, Dr. Clement Ebri.