By Jonathan Ugbal
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River may be far from over as Niger Delta Affairs minister, Pastor Usani Usani and the Senator representing the central senatorial district, John Owan-Enoh have emerged candidates of the party in two parallel primaries held Sunday and Monday in the state respectively.
Mr. Usani, emerged as the winner of the primaries conducted on Sunday by the faction of the party led by Etim John scoring 47, 313 votes.
The results were announced at the collation center of the Mr. John’s factional secretariat on Monday by the Chairman of the Gubernatorial Election Committee, Mr Emmanuel Annom who said Usani, having scored the highest number of votes in the primaries was declared the winner and the governorship candidate of the party for the 2019 general elections in the state.
Senator Owan-Enoh polled 1,486 votes; Professor Etim Nyong scored 1,168 votes; John Upan Odey got 1,099 votes while former culture and tourism minister, Edem Duke garnered 1, 322 votes.
“The primaries were conducted in all the 196 wards of the state and Pastor Usani Uguru Usani emerged winner by pulling 47, 313 votes,” Anom said.
Usani, whom according to the results won in all the 18 local government areas assured of good governance, if elected governor next year while speaking with journalists shortly after his emergence as candidate.
But, on Monday, the seven man committee constituted by the National Working Committee of the party led by Ali Magaji conducted the primaries of the Mr. Matthew Achigbe led faction which Mr. Owan-Enoh, emerged the governorship candidate of the APC having scored 82, 272 votes to beat the other four other aspirants.
The collation center was the Ikot Ansa town hall in Calabar and the result was announced on Tuesday morning at about 1:48AM.
Mr. Duke came second polling 7,367 votes while Professor Nyong came third with 5,786 votes.
Mr. Odey followed with 3,892 votes Mr. Usani was fifth having garnered 1,778 votes.
The APC in the state had adopted direct primaries across the 196 political wards in the state.
And, Magaji in his remarks described the primaries as a family affair while urging all members of the party to support the winner of the exercise to be able to emerge victorious in the general elections next year.
According to him there was no victor or vanquished, and called on that all members be united reports The NigerianEye.
Owan-Enoh expressed delight at his emergence after a painstaking process, saying the proper thing was done and promised working towards getting members of the party to function as a united family, as the party’s interest was greater than any individual’s interest.
The lawmaker promised to reach out to all Cross Riverians to provide a better alternative to them even as he expressed confidence that the APC would win the state next year.
A total of 106, 212 voters were accredited. There were 101, 095 valid votes, 117 invalid votes, while 111, 212 votes were cast in the election.
Meanwhile, CrossRiverWatch gathered that other aspirants have kicked against both congresses especially the one conducted by the Achigbe’s faction which is said to be more authentic.
DailyTrust Newspapers reports that Mr. Duke through his media aide, Joe Odey alleged that there were no primaries in much of the state because materials for the election were reportedly hijacked by Senator Owan-Enoh’s sponsored thugs with the full knowledge of the party leaders.
He said that election materials were only sent to towns in the state which are strongholds of Owan-Enoh, including Ikom, Etung and Boki local government areas of the state.
“I put it to you on good authority that the remaining 15 local government areas did not see a single sheet of ballot paper. Yet, they will announce results for all 18 local government areas so as to declare Senator Owan-Enoh as winner.”
Duke’s media aide said except for Mr. Usani, “who singlehandedly did his own congress yesterday (Sunday), the other three candidates namely, Edem Duke, John Odey and Professor Eyo Etim Nyong hold that there was no guber primary in the state.”
Duke and Nyong had on Sunday accused the National Vice Chairman of the party, Hilliard Eta of favoring one aspirant, an allegation which Mr. Eta had denied.
Eta later told newsmen that the election was well conducted and a winner had to emerge as the party’s flag bearer.
Also, sources in the camp of Mr. Upan Odey say he will soon issue a statement condemning the exercise.
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