By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Few days from today, the All Progressives Congress, APC like other parties will go to the poll to elect its governorship candidate for the 2019 election in Cross River State.
Recently, the party during stakeholders meeting in Calabar unanimously adopted the direct primaries option in electing candidates for the next elections.
A lot of politicking has been going on among the rank and file of the APC ahead of the primaries.
While the party seem to have less problem in choosing its flag bearers for other positions, the choice of who becomes the governorship candidate is threatening to further scatter the big bunch of broom that many have argued has never really bounded together.
The looming crisis would have been averted if some APC leaders have cleared their minds of their self-seeking hypocrisy against the northern senatorial district of the State.
It’s now an open secret that there’s a well planned coup by some APC leaders to deprive and deny the North the governorship ticket which should ordinarily belong to the zone in lieu of the APC zoning formula.
In fact, it appears those behind the coup have concluded plans to completely cutoff the zone from the party.
Let me explain!
Prior to when APC was formed in 2013, the leaders of the party at the time sat and agreed that party positions should be shared among the three senatorial districts in the state.
Prominent amongst the positions are the State Chairman of the party, Secretary and the deputy State Chairman.
The Chairman was initially zoned to the Southern Senatorial District, Secretary Central and Deputy, North.
However, because of the inability of the party to harmonize interests, the state leaders couldn’t manage the situation hence the directive from the National Secretariat that the then Governor of Rivers State and leader of the party in the South South, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi should step in and set up an exco for the state.
Amaechi after series of meetings invited leaders of the party to Port Harcourt and Pastor Usani Usani from the Central senatorial district, against the rule of play, was made the state Chairman of the party.
Those who were in the meeting said Usani’s profile as the only former governorship candidate in the delegation gave him an edge over others who had interest in the position.
That particular decision changed the zoning arrangement.
The Southern senatorial district which was supposed to have the state Chairman now took the state Secretary while the North retained the deputy Chairman.
It was for the loss of the state Chairmanship position that made stakeholders settle for the South to have the National Vice Chairman, South South when it was zoned to Cross River.
One thing is certain, without zoning, Cross River APC wouldn’t have had the national Vice Chairmanship position because the chapter hadn’t the wherewithal at the time to challenge any South South state for the position.
Financially and contact-wise, the state wouldn’t have been able to challenge for instance, Bayelsa that had former Governor Timipre Sylva as the leader at the time or Amaechi who was Rivers incumbent Governor for the position.
Invariably, the state was aided by zoning to have the position.
Similarly, prior to the 2015 general elections, leaders of the party met again and agreed that since Cross River north was the only senatorial district at the time to produce Governor, the party governorship ticket should be zoned there.
Even though people from other senatorial districts had interest, zoning played in and Mr. Odey Ochicha from the North emerged as the first governorship candidate of APC in Cross River state.
Despite APC not having the caliber of persons it has now, the party came second to the PDP in that election.
In 2015, when APC won the Presidential election, the state Chairman, Dr. Usani was appointed the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
Since the party cannot be left without a leader, his deputy, Sir John Ochala assumed office in Acting capacity; waiting for the Central to nominate who to complete the tenure of the Minister.
Unfortunately, the Central couldn’t agree on who to succeed Usani as several interests continually scuttled every attempt made to elect a substantive Chairman.
Gradually, what started as Central crisis degenerated into state crisis.
Ochala stayed so long in acting capacity because the central failed to do the right thing at the right time.
For the records, it’s worthy of note that at no time did the North ever contemplated keeping the state Chairmanship position.
All the hitches faced in electing a substantive Chairman was from the Central. In fact, the former Acting Chairman has even returned in the current exco as deputy.
This underscores the fact that he never contemplated scuttling the zoning arrangement by staying for over a year as Acting Chairman.
Perhaps, only people who have been in leadership position before, where they dish out orders will understand the humility and sacrifice Ochala has shown by retuning to deputize the current Chairman, Dr. Mathew Achigbe after staying as Acting Chairman.
After the expiration of the first tenure of party executives, the National Secretariat directed that the subsisting zoning arrangement of the party should be maintained in filing all elective positions and so it was.
Central retained the Chairmanship, South, Secretary and National Vice Chairman but the North has only been given deputy.
The governorship ticket is about to be taken way from the zone.
While other zones have been graciously allowed to enjoy their eight years zoning template operated by APC, some people are working tirelessly to ensure that the North is deprived of the governorship ticket that was zoned to them in 2014.
Why are some APC leaders so bent on taking what belongs to others?
Is the North less a senatorial district to others?
One of the very shocking lie some of these leaders have constantly told is that there’s no zoning in Cross River APC.
I’ve challenged them to tell Cross Riverians how only the Central struggled for Chairmanship position of the party or why only the South fought for the National Vice Chairmanship (South South), but none has said anything.
Isn’t it hypocrisy for people to say there’s no zoning in APC when just few months ago, the party used zoning to fill all positions from Ward to National level?
Isn’t it hypocrisy that the very beneficiaries of zoning are the ones shouting on top their voices today that there’s no zoning in APC?
Even the National Chairman of the party and other National Working Committee members are all products of zoning.
Why are people now saying different thing?
Is Cross River APC operating independently from the National?
In defence of their no zoning campaign to protect their self-serving interest, some have lied that the governorship zoning arrangement is of PDP.
Are these people for real?
Have they forgotten that between APC and PDP, APC was the first to have a governorship candidate from the North?
Now tell me, if truly they’re sincere, where were they when APC zoned the governorship to the North in 2014 when the signs were clear that PDP too would field someone from the zone?
Are they just realizing now that the formula was of the PDP?
Some surreptitiously defend their argument that since the incumbent Governor has not performed as expected, the APC ticket should be taken away from the North.
Is Governor Ben Ayade now an APC Governor?
So it’s justifiable not to use PDP zoning formula in choosing APC candidate but very correct to use PDP performance to draw conclusion that nobody is good enough in APC from the North to fly the party governorship flag in 2019?
If there’s any zone that is not qualified to seek governorship now, it’s the Central.
In fact, if the Central believe the choice they foisted on us in 2015 was a mistake then what they should do honorably is to apologize and not to seek our votes.
It’s a slap on our collective sensibility for the very people who fought dirty in 2015 that it’s either Ayade or nobody to turn back now and present themselves as Messiah.
Ayade is the product of their struggle, therefore, they cannot in all ramification exonerate themselves from his failure or success.
In fact, he’s as bad or as good as they make him.
Besides, if they want to steal the APC ticket from the North because they think Governor Ayade has performed poorly, then the Central should first relinquish the Chairmanship position to other zones for poor performance in the party also.
If the central had led APC well right from when the zone had the chairmanship position, the party wouldn’t have been wallowing in crisis the way it is today.
Nevertheless, it’s a common practice all over Nigeria that a zone that has the party chairman cannot have Presidential or governorship candidate.
Why are people not talking about this?
Why the desperation?
Is it good for the Central to keep the chairmanship and governorship ticket?
The South can even be excused if they insist that the APC ticket should leave North to them because the Chairmanship was taken from them to Central.
But already, they’ve a powerful National Vice Chairman (South-South) who is wielding so much powers under the Oshiomhole administration.
I strongly believe they will prefer to wait for the North for four more years than Central for 8 years.
It is even more painful when you see some of these APC leaders lying that there’s no zoning as if everybody in the North is unreasonable.
Politics world over is all about dialogue, negotiation, persuasion and concession.
If for any reason, the party feels a northern candidate would not have a good outing in 2019 (which is even not true because without the quality of people in APC now, the party came second in 2015 meaning now it can come first easily), all stakeholders would have been called for negotiation to agree on what is best for the party which I believe would still result in the North producing the candidate.
However, it’s not too late. They said there’s nobody from the North that has money to buy APC governorship form.
Young vibrant John Upan Odey has taken them all by surprise. He has acquired his form.
The party can stop the lies and hypocrisy to do the right thing.
To end the trust of Cross Riverians, the leadership of the party must call those who are embarrassing themselves and the party with petty lies that there’s no zoning in APC to order.
Cross Riverians are very much abreast of the zoning formula in APC because they follow the party activities and believe that it is the best platform that will produce who would rescue the state from our present nightmare.
Like constant leaderhsip says “the very first job of a leader is to inspire trust. Trust is the single most essential element to our ability to deliver extraordinary results in an enduring way.
Trust is integral to building high-performance because it enables an organization to work as it should; it’s the first defense against dysfunction and the first step towards delivering better outcomes”.
People should know that according to Bob Bennett “For every good reason there is to lie, there’s a better reason to tell the truth “.
Trust in the words of Stephen Covey is the glue of life. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationship”.
If APC wants to maintain a good relationship with majority of Cross Riverians to enable them trust the party with their votes to deliver better outcome in 2019, then fairness and justice should guide the party in electing the next governorship candidate of the party.
It shouldn’t be about the senatorial district that has aspirants with the largest pocket but about the right thing.
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