By Utang Bassey
The Cross River State chapter of the APC Friday, in Calabar announced its intent to wrestle the governorship position from the PDP in 2019 with party unity and the avoidance of impunity identified as major strategies to achieve the goal.
Members of the party made this known while speaking at the first quarterly retreat of the party in the state held at the Transcorp hotels, Calabar which drew delegates from across the 18 local government areas of the state to discuss the theme, “All Progressives Congress, Cross River State; The Way Forward, Reconciliation And Strategies of Winning Elections.”
A former leader of the Senate and current member of the Board of Trustees of the party, Victor Ndoma-Egba while addressing members present, stressed on the need for the party to avoid the mistakes of the PDP.
“Before now, what you use to hear was that there was no opposition in Cross River State. Yes, it may have been true, can anybody say that now?
“Our intention is to put our house in order to avoid anybody sitting down to impose anyone they like just because he does not like the popular candidate.
“If we are able to achieve this and collectively build the party from the grassroots, then the challenges to take power in Cross River State in 2019 will be minimal.”
The invited lecturer, Professor Yakubu Uchefu who is the Vice Chancellor, Kwararafa University Wukari, Taraba state in his speech stressed the need for the party in the state to continuously engage the populace and remain popular at the grassroots as “some people think being at the central and holding the power in Abuja means automatic victory at home, which is not so.
“This is the reason why the young man presented by APC, Onjeh could not win this other man (David Mark) in the senatorial re-run. We must work.”
Uchefu who based his lecture’s practicality on the ‘Operation SSA 2015’ employed by the APC in the build up to the 2015 general elections in Benue state also, described expectation management as “A key variable to midwifing opposition to power”, adding that, “There must be management of the aspirant to ensure he/she does not say things far from the realities on ground, management of the bureaucrats (public and civil servants) to win them over as they make up almost 70 percent of the informed voting population and the shadow individuals. All these must be managed properly with the party ensuring it carries out it plans in zoning with equity and fairness and without impunity.”
Earlier, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2015 general elections, Odey Ochicha said at the moment, “The ultimate goal is to win the PDP which has dragged Cross River State backward.”
Ochicha also averred that the party must close ranks to achieve their set objective, noting that “lack of cohesion cost us the last election.”
He expressed angst at the style of governance of the incumbent governor, Senator Ben Ayade saying that “Cross River State is yet to live truly its motto of ‘The People’s Paradise’ due to one party rule which is monarchical, anachronistic” and called for the APC to make haste in building a “two party system in the state to ensure rapid and accelerated development of our dear state.”
The newly appointed Special Assistant to President Muhammadu on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla on his part, warned that they were many in the party who will fight to ensure the party’s structure and hierarchy is respected and everything done with fairness and equity to avoid impunity and stressed the need for all members to view each other as equals.
At the event was a roll call of the party bigwigs including Prince Goddy Jedy Agba, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, Venatius Ikem, among several others, with the Niger Delta Minister, Usani Usani and former Governor Clement Ebri who is presently in Florida amongst the notable absentees.
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