By Ushang Ewa
The National Vice Chairman South-South zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hiliard Eta has challenged Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to tell Cross Riverians how it spent bailout funds received from the federal government.
Eta stated this Friday in Calabar in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) where he said there is no faction in the Cross River State chapter of the APC.
He said that the party’s inability to fill the chairmanship position in the state vacated by Niger Delta Affairs minister, Usani Uguru does not translate to crisis in the state as being speculated but admitted there were disagreements between members and accused the People’s Democratic Party for manufacturing the speculations.
“I challenge the PDP-led government to tell Cross River people what it has done with all the bailout funds that it has so far collected from the Federal Government. The government should tell the people of Cross River how much it has collected and specific projects it has spent the money on,” Eta said.
On the allegations that there is a rift, he said that: “We do not have any faction in APC in Cross River. It is wrong to say that the minister and I do not see eye-to-eye. The minister and I are political associates. We have never been enemies, but that is not to say that we cannot disagree on policies.
“I hold very strong views on many issues. The minister also happens to be a man who holds very strong views on many issues. Therefore, it cannot be imagined that these kinds of people cannot have disagreements bordering on policy issues.
“Disagreement does not mean factionalism. One of the pillars of democracy and politics is the capacity for crisis management and resolution. So what gives anyone the impression that APC in Cross River is in factions? The word factionalism has been bandied around for too long without anyone caring to ask the actual meaning of the word.
“All the noise about factionalism in the party is the handiwork of the dying PDP. They are looking for who they will die with. According to him, the APC is intact and mobilizing for the forthcoming local government election in the state and for 2019.”
He dismissed concerns that the recent defections of PDP members in the state to APC will cause friction. He said the situation was a “good omen” as it would strengthen the party and described allegations that the defectors were corrupt as mere blackmail.
“Our arms are always wide open to welcome every new member to APC, especially in Cross River. The Constitution of Nigeria guarantees freedom of association. We cannot stop anyone interested to come to APC, because after all, this will be the first time in the state for people of Cross River to join the progressives,” Eta said.
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