Again for the second time in less than four years, a parallel executive may have emerged in the just concluded congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State.
In 2014 the party had produced Mathew Achigbe as Chairman but another faction emerged with Etim John as Chairman. In 2015 Achigbe died in a ghastly motor accident and John Ochalla emerged as his successor but the divide in the party continued as Etim John insisted he was the Chairman until 2021 that Senator Mathew Mbu was appointed the new caretaker Chairman.
But with the decamping of Governor Ben Ayade in May 20, 2021 from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, the game changed as there was need to reorganize the party and produce a new leadership in the state executive.
After much intrigues and horse trading, the party’s congress produced two leadership with Ayade’s Aide Alphonsus Eba emerging the new APC State Party Chairman in a congress that was organised at the Brigadier U. J. Esuene stadium under tight security as major roads leading to the stadium were cordoned off and traffic diverted.
On the other hand, another faction of the APC said to have held a parallel congress at the party’s secretariat along Marian road, Mr. Egbeji John (Jallo) and Chief Francis Ekpenyong were said to have emerged as Chairman and Secretary.
The congress at the stadium which was well attended had the state party leader, Governor Ayade, former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa and many others produced the former Director General Due Process in the Prof. Ben Ayade’s led-administration, Mr.. Alphonsus Eba, alias Okadigbo as the new state party chairman for the APC in the State.
While Mr. Eka Williams, from the central senatorial district emerged as state deputy chairman of the APC.
In his post election speech, Eba pledged not to betray the confidence reposed in him stressing he was a political orphan with no one to speak for him until Ayade, who he described as his political father came and liberated him, saying “today we are plugging the 46KVA volt into the socket. My emergence is not to be a leader of the party but a servant.
“Political evangelism commences today.The target is to win souls for the By-election in Ogoja. Our major assignment now is to ensure that we take over the Pregriegno house in 2023. APC has Come to stay in Cross River State in the next 20 to 30 years. The only magic is love and Unity”.
The congress which ended up in a consensus (voice vote) was devoid of any rancour or violence with the delegates jubilating and chanting songs of victory and oneness and pictures taken at street corners of the stadium.
On the other hand, a factional group said, “following a consensus by critical stakeholders of the party, EgbeJi John OGON ( Jallo) has emerged as the state chairman of the APC Cross River state. Others on the Exco list include: Secretary: Cheif Francis Ekpeyong, Publicity secretary: Iso Bassey Edim”.
In a video made available to Pillar Today, the factional state chairman, Mr. Egbeji said, “we thank God for the weather, we thank God for our people that have come from far and wide to attend this state congress of 2021. The congress was well attended and by the grace of God I have emerged as the state chairman. This is a huge progress and a huge success that the party itself has come back to the owners.
“This Congress today is remarkable because it is a consensus congress. I emerged out of a consensus from critical stakeholders consolidating believing that I Egbeji will be able to lead this party to a greater future. I promise that I will lead this party to win election in 2023”.