by crossriverwatch admin
The battle for control of the grassroots has continue to rage amongst political godfathers in Cross River State as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) picks flag bearers for the 2013 local government elections scheduled for the 21st of September.
Since a forth night ago when instructions by Senator Liyel Imoke the governor of the state, who is reportedly keen to avoid a replication of the violence and mayhem that characterized the party’s primaries in 2007, asked the party’s caucuses along with the Elders’ Forum to work together and pick those to bear the party’s flag for the post of chairmen and councilors for the eighteen council areas and one hundred and ninety six wards respectively, godfathers leading factional camps in the party in the various local governments and wards have since gone to war with each desperate to enthrone its choice candidate.
The governor had given the party leadership at the chapter level the latitude of either reaching a consensus and producing one candidate or select a maximum of three names which should be presented to the party’s hierarchy in Calabar from where one name would be picked.
Not ready to defer to the choice of the other factions ahead of their cronies, many godfathers have resorted to subterfuge, political maneuvers, interplay of intrigues and sometimes outright blackmail to outdo other camps.
In all the eighteen council, areas the only place where consensus was reached is Etung, the smallest council area in the State where Owan Enoh, the House of Representatives member for the area, Dr. Sandy Onoh, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Gab Orji, Special Adviser on Biodiversity to Senator Imoke and other godfathers came together and picked Inok Ebak as the PDP standard bearer which effectively shelved the usual knives and gun combat which had always characterized polls in the area.
In Obudu , with the early fall of Hon. Emmanuel Ikwen the council chairman whose faux pas with the sacking of Hon. Martin Orim, the deputy leader in the council led to his suspension by the party effectively side lining him from the race, the battle between former political soul mates Professor Ben Ayade, the Senator representing the Northern Senatorial District and Barrister Venatius Ikem, the former commissioner for Works and their various allies including Patrick Ugbe, the commissioner for Youths and Sports
Development, Paul Ada, the former member representing Bekwara/Obudu in the Federal House of Representatives produced three names aligned to the two camps. Larry Agim, Emmanuel Ugbe, elder brother to Patrick Ugbe, and Ken Akla, immediate past Council Secretary who is supported by Senator Ayade.
In neighboring Ogoja local government area, the uncrowned capital of Northern Cross River, the battle between Mr. Igbe Arukwu , the Protocol Officer to Senator Liyel Imoke and Mr Leo Aggrey the Director General, Border Communities Development Commission produced a lady, Ms Rita Ayim, who is said to have the backing of Mrs Obioma Imoke who is insisting that the Affirmative Action should be observed in the selection process by producing at least one female flag bearer in each of the three senatorial districts. Others here are Ifop Adoga and John Inaku from which the party has to express its discretion using its own peculiar criteria to pick one name from the list.
In Yala, the three dominant factions produced three names. The group led by the Deputy State Chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr Fidel Egoro which has Dr Rose Oko, member representing Ogoja in the House of Representatives, Mr Ogana Lukpata the member representing Ukele in the House of Assembly and Mr Tom Agi, the Director General Roads Maintenance Agency picked Mr Mike Usibe, while the camp led by Mr Larry odey, the Speaker of the House of Assembly which has Dr Julius Okputu, former Commissioner for Environment, has on its own list Mr Christian Ikiri and the group led by Senator Greg Ngaji backed by Mrs Martina Odom picked Samuel Anwegbe.
In ever combustible Yakurr, the three factions there picked three names too. The faction led by Bassey Ewa who is in the Federal House of Representatives backed by Chief Itam Ubi, the council chairman picked Captain Eno Ikpi (rtd), while the New Era Group which has Godwin Eta, PDP State Secretary, Akin Ricketts, the Commissioner for Information, Omini Oden the former Chief Press Secretary to Imoke has Mercy Akpama on its list, while Mr Akpama Inah, incumbent vice chairman of council is said to be the preferred candidate of the Non Aligned Group. The three nominees are all from Yakurr Constituency II where the post has been zoned to.
While the two Akpamas are from Nko, the third aspirant, Captain Eno Inah is from Mkpani, home of the former governor of the state, Mr Clement Ebri who is said to be a member of the APC so not keen about what is going on in PDP.
Ikom, where Senator Victor Ndoma Egba reigns supreme, he is said to have acted against popular opinion of party members s in the area by picking Ayiba Ojong who is a member of the State Party Executive while the other group picked the council secretary Okuni Atime.
Calabar Municipality where the Quas who have occupied the post for six years through Mr Etta Mbora and want to continue on the seat by insisting that Calabar Municipality by its cosmopolitan status should not zone the chairmanship are up in arms against the Efiks who are bent on occupying the sit this time; insisting that the post has to be zoned between the Quas and the Efiks which are the two dominant tribes in Calabar municipality.
The names presented from to the party include Mr. Donatus Etim who is supported by the incumbent chairman, Etta Mbora and Barrister Effa Edem, an Efik son.
In Obanlikwu, one time member of the State House of Assembly, Mr Pius Awa made it on the list which also include, Jerry Ashua and Joe Agba.
While in Boki after all the spirited fight and political intrigues among the political leaders, Otu Jake Enya, Atta Ochinke , Mark Obi and a horde of others, Abubakar Ewa was said to have carried the day after a collegiate ballot by the chapter caucus and Elders’ Forum .
In spite of declarations that incumbents would not be given another slot, Mr Ekeng Henshaw the incumbent council chairman of Calabar South was included among the three sent to the party. Others are Aloysius Ene and Ekpenyong Eyamba.
In Bakassi, the prolonged battle between Senator Florence Ita Giwa and Ekpo Ekpo Bassey ended in the chairman’s failed effort to be listed amongst the three names sent to the party prompting him to send a “minority report list” including his name which was said to have been rejected by the party secretariat. The names in the majority report include Gabriel Etim, Joemary Ita and Barrister David Bassey.
In nearby Akpabuyo, Hon Nya Nyong, Dr Patrick Ene Okon and the incumbent, Rosemary Archibong made it to the list.
In Biase, the plot by the incumbent chairman, Dr Emil Inyang who intended to move to the House of Assembly after his exit from the chairmanship by foisting his crony, Okpo Ngim failed. Mr James Aniyom, the Commissioner for Agriculture along with Dr Iyam Ugot the Special Adviser on Community Health succeeded in scuttling such plans by presenting Enebiene Ana who pulled 31 votes ahead of Ezinma Anana who was supported by Ngim. Hon. Ngim, out of fear of losing, had earlier stepped down from the collegiate election conducted at the party secretariat.
In Akamkpa, the home of Ntufam John Okon , the defeat of Okon Nyong , the cousin to Daniel Asuquo, the member representing Akamkpa/Biase in the Federal House of Representatives by Barrister Itotop, has created so much bad blood and acrimony.
Itotop who won Nyong with a wide margin in the collegiate election had his name top the list which was sent to the Party hierarchy. Events from the collegiate election have sparked allegations of corruption against the state party chairman by leaders of the other faction who accuse him of collecting bribes from the incumbent chairman.
Ntufam John Okon, the PDP State chairman denied the allegation and said the emergence of the names on the list is based on caucus collegiate voting and in some cases examination to assess the ability of the aspirants before their selection.
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