By Andy Esiet, Calabar
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River state has set up a seven man committee to prune down its governorship aspirants.
So far APC has nine aspirants in the race and they are a very close friend of Governor Ben Ayade and a business associate, Mr. Chris Agara, Senator John Owan Enoh who represented Central in the Senate and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor. Usani Usani, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong jnr; the Chairman of the Ben Akak Foundation, Mr. Ben Akak, former Senator Bassey Otu of Cross River South senatorial, the former Commissioner for Rural Transformation, Mr. Edem Okon Effiom, the former Special Adviser, Department of Public Transport, Mr. Edem Effiom Ekong, former deputy governorship aspirant, Chief Ogban Ebock and an Oil and Gas businessman, Mr. Nsa Ekpenyong
Based on party directives, none of the aspirants has bought the governorship form yet as the party is encouraging them to come out with one consensus candidate.
A statement on May 3 by the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang “as a follow up to the commitment of our great Party towards achieving an all inclusive, transparent, fair and democratic process that will lead to the emergence of an acceptable governorship candidate of our party and strengthened by the resolution of all the governorship aspirants in its meeting of 26th April, 2022 wherein they mandated the party to purchase only one nomination form and drive a transparent process at arriving at victory for the Party, the State Chairman has approved the constitution of a special Ad-hoc Committee to interface with all aspirants for the office of governor and prune down the number in each Senatorial district to two persons”.
He said that the seven members committee which is headed by Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN as Chairman and Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa as Secretary will be inaugurated on May 4 and “will commence its meeting immediately after inauguration with all aspirants who are expected to present themselves with relevant credentials and evidence of up to date financial membership of the party in tandem with Article 9. 3 of the party’s 2022 constitution”.
Ekpang said the Committee is expected to submit its report by 12:00 noon on Friday May 6 and “there shall also be a State Caucus meeting that will hold on Saturday (May 7) by 7:00pm at Perigrino hall, Governor’s Lodge to be attended by only State Caucus members as stipulated in Article 12. 10 of the March 2022 amended Constitution of the Party”.
In the meantime, he said all aspirants are enjoined to continue consultations with the State Executive Committee of the Party and various Statutory Local Government Areas caucuses that have been in existence including the recently co-opted members as “the Party wishes to once again assure all aspirants of a level playing field and they are kindly requested to play by the rules” .
Ekpang had earlier given the indication that the on the issue of consensus,”we have not decided on anything yet. It may be direct primaries”.