by crossriverwatch admin
Peregrino Hall, the official residence of Senator Liyel Imoke, the Cross River State governor was on Saturday night turned into a boxing arena as top politicians from Obubra in the central senatorial district of the state who could not contain one another while arguing who to select as the PDP candidate for the chairmanship election scheduled for September 21, 2013 ended up in fisticuffs.
The fight, an eye witness, Obeten Ibah, said erupted amongst the Obubra stakeholders when Senator Imoke who is superintending the selection of chairmanship candidates for the PDP in the various local government areas asked the stakeholders who are finding it difficult to agree on one person amongst the three earlier picked; to step outside the hall and come to a consensus and pick one person from amongst Dr. Kyrian Nfam, Mr Egbe Jabengo and Mr Cyprian Ayu as the local government flag bearer as required by the PDP hierarchy.
According to our source, while the discussion was going on outside the hall, “tempers flared and one of them landed a slap on the face of the leader of the opposing side and a free for all fight ensued. Some people cannot stand argument and it was in the process of discussing who to pick as the PDP flag bearer for Obubra that Hon Okpa slapped Egbe Jabengo leading to a fight”. Obenten Ibah, a caucus member in the local government told crossriverwatch.
He said Barrister Johnson Ebokpo, the former Secretary to the Cross River State government during Donald Duke was “part of the fray and narrowly escaped being injured in the fight”
He said while the fighting was going on, Senator Imoke came out of the hall to watch in amazement what the political leaders were doing .
“We started the meeting at about 8p.m and we were there until 1a.m and no side was willing to defer to the other and when the fight broke out the governor came out to watch from the balcony in amazement – there was disappointment on his face”. Ibah said
Mrs. Margaret Ebokpo, the Special Adviser to Senator Imoke on Non Governmental Organizations, said the first person to release a slap was Egbe Jabengo, the chairmanship aspirant who was angry with the position of Hon. Fabian Okpa, the Special Adviser to Imoke on Special Duties who was insisting that he and Cyprian Ayu step down for Dr Nfam.
“We were all there, it was Egbe Jabengo who slapped Hon Fabian Okpa and people had to rush immediately to rescue him from more blows – it was not a fight but a case of one person slapping the other”.
Mrs. Ebokpo also disputed the claims that more Obubra caucus members support for Dr. Nfam, a director at the Federal Internal Revenue Service. She says that assertion stem from the 30 million Naira he gave them which saw him scoring 28 votes while Egbe scored 13.
“Where did Dr. Nfam get such money to give to us to share; those who are peddling such blackmail have their agenda and I can tell you that the story is totally false.” She added.
The fight ended the meeting in a stalemate with the caucus members leaving Imoke’s house at about 2 a.m on Sunday morning and as at press time, Senator Imoke who retired to sleep at about 1a.m was yet to make any comment on the disgraceful act of the Obubra leaders.
Meanwhile, the selection panel was able to successfully select the party’s flag bearers for five other councils before the Obubra crises started.
In the Governor’s own local government Abi, there were only two aspirants, both of them female from Ekureku Ward 1, but the panel favoured Mrs. Edith Amadi who is backed by Mr. Alex Egbona, the Chief of Staff to the governor, ahead of another female aspirant Mrs. Morgan Egbe.
But some party faithfuls in the local government have also accused the Chief of Staff of imposing Mrs. Amadi on them because of the financial resources available to him.
In a petition to the state governor and copied to crossriverwatch, a member of the party in Abi local government, Mr. Gibson Eleng said “It is so sad that Alex Egbona is promoting one Mrs. Amadi as chairman of our local government that has produced a sitting governor, a serving vice-chancellor and a serving judge of the Court of Appeal.
“Sir have you seen the girl? Is she not so young, innocent and vulnerable that she can be easily emasculated by Alex and his vampires while they loot the treasury of the local government?
What is her track record? After graduation in 2009 what has she been doing? NOTHING.
“Did she even know the road to Abi LGA and Ekureku? Has she a voters card and which political activity has she participated in, in Ekureku, Abi and Cross River State since she was born?
In Biase local government, Enebiene Ana who pulled 31 votes ahead of Ezinma Anana at the collegiate election conducted at the party secretariat was picked by the panel.
Enebiene is supported by Mr. James Aniyom, the Commissioner for Agriculture along with Dr. Iyam Ugot the Special Adviser on Community Health. The duo successfully scuttled 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.
In Akamkpa, the home of Ntufam John Okon, the state chairman of the PDP who is also a member of the selection panel, Itotop who won Nyong with a wide margin in the collegiate election was favoured by the party hierarchy.
Events from the collegiate election also sparked allegations of corruption against the state party chairman by leaders of the other faction who accused him of collecting bribes from the incumbent chairman.
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.
In Yakurr, the aspirant supported by a faction of the party led by Bassey Ewa who is in the Federal House of Representatives backed by Chief Itam Ubi, the council chairman, Hon. Akpama Ikpi, incumbent vice chairman of council is was the preferred candidate of the selection panel ahead of Captain Eno (rtd) and Mrs. Mercy Akpama, the candidate supported by 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.
In Etung, the smallest council area in the State, Hon. 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 eventually agreed on a consensus candidate, Mr. Inok Ebak as the PDP standard bearer and he was adopted by the selection panel and that effectively shelved the usual knives and gun combat that had always characterized polls in the area.
As at press time, the selection exercise is continuing with the panel presently meeting with Yala Caucus members. The panel is expected to select flag bearers for the remaining six local government areas tonight.
Crossriverwatch gathered that the exercise could not hold on Thursday and Friday because of the governor’s engagement with the funeral of Prof. Chinua Achebe and the controversial Nigeria Governors Forum NGF, election.
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