CROSPIL IS SET FOR BURIAL BY GOVERNOR BENEDICT AYADE

OPINION:

CROSPIL IS SET FOR BURIAL BY GOVERNOR BENEDICT AYADE

By Missang Oyama

Gov.-Prof.-Ben-Ayade.
Gov.-Prof.-Ben-Ayade.

“I must state very clearly that I’m a stakeholder in the Cross River project. The gigantic billboard on a building in State Housing Estate facing Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar with the inscription: “CONSTRUCTION AND FABRICATION ACADEMY OF WEST AFRICA” ignited my interest in the subject matter under review. The history and governance-style of Governor Benedict Ayade with regards to white elephant projects coined from ostentatious, high-sounding and bogus nomenclatures elicited my curiosity to undertake this investigation.

Evidently, his grandiloquence has often ended as pipe dreams and empty promises. Of course, the much talked about Superhighway, Deep Seaport, Spaghetti Flyover, Cali Vegas, magniloquent annual budget captions among others are ample examples of his extravagant promises and fanciful hopes.

Cross River State Property Development and Investment Limited (CROSPIL) is the state-owned real estate company which has become less than a shadow of itself under the current administration of Governor Benedict Ayade. Ostensibly, the governor is the architect of the prevailing wreckage in CROSPIL at this time. Senator Ayade has shown from the inception of his administration in 2015 that he was not on a mission to improve the fortunes of one of the oldest publicly-owned business enterprises in the state.

CROSPIL is a duly registered company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and operates as a legal entity under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). This presupposes that the operations of the company must be guided by the provisions of this extant law under a well constituted board of directors. Unfortunately, since he took over the reins of power in the state on 29th May, 2015, Governor Benedict Ayade has not deemed it necessary to comply with the law by constituting the board of CROSPIL. In the eyes of the law, the board is the preferred channel to interface with the governor on the activities and operations of the company.

Having jettisoned the idea of a constituted board in line with the provisions of the law, the governor has since chosen to use his whims and discretion to commandeer the properties of CROSPIL for other purposes without recourse to its mandate and ownership structure. From the tempers and disposition of the governor, one is under no illusion about his complete lack of a development agenda for the company in spite of the glaring challenges of housing in the state.

Recent actions of the governor have clearly shown that he is determined to acquire, usurp or completely run the housing company aground. His flagrant abuse of procedures and mindless disregard to the law are antithetical to the disposition of a lawyer that he is. Governor Benedict Ayade has demonstrated that he is a man without peers in the school of land grabbing and destruction of longstanding legacies bequeathed to the state by successive administrations from the era of Late Brig. General UJ Esuene.

CROSPIL was established with the name South Eastern Housing Corporation, Edict NO 14 of 1969 under the military administration of Late Brig. General UJ Esuene. The South Eastern Housing Corporation Edict was amended in 1972 and was further statutorily amended in 1977.

It was under the administration of His Excellency, Chief Clement D. Ebri between 1991 and 1993 that the corporation was registered as a limited liability company. The idea for this transmutation was driven by the vision, commitment and desire of the state government at the time to improve the socioeconomic wellbeing of the people through the provision of affordable housing with the collaborative efforts of the private sector and other stakeholders in the real estate sector in the country. The state government holds a larger percentage of equity in the company.

The Corporate Headquarters of CROSPIL which was commissioned on 18th April, 1975 is located at NO.1 Bishop Maynagh Avenue, State Housing Estate, Calabar. It warehouses more 5000 lands and housing documents for the state government, private organizations and individuals. The headquarters is a unique office building with six courtyards within the premises and well landscaped scenery. This beautiful edifice is now the latest attraction of Governor Benedict Ayade in his land grabbing escapades and destructive tendencies.

CROSPIL is the administrator of major housing estates in the state including, the Premier Housing Estate (State Housing Estate), Phase 1, 2 and 3 of Federal Housing Estate, Ikot Ansa, Calabar, State Housing Estate in Ikom, Orange Resort Estate, Akpabuyo, CROSPIL Housing Estate, Abakpa, Ogoja among others.

The company holds Global Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for all its properties across the state. CROSPIL issues Deed of Sub-Lease to buyers on purchase of any of its properties. The Deed of Sub-Lease is then registered with the State Lands Registry which eventually makes it a legal instrument. By its mandate and business model, the company acquires, builds and sell properties, engages in site and services for its clients, issues title documents and search reports to buyers and prospective buyers of its properties.

With the collapse of the Geographic Information System (GIS) that was digitalized by former Governor Liyel Imoke, CROSPIL is now the only place to get complete and reliable information about land and housing matters in the state. Apparently, it serves the purpose of Land Registry in the state. CROSPIL is playing the invaluable role of chief custodian of Cross River State historical relics and sacred memorials in lands and real estate.

Again, with the innumerable cases in courts on properties and housing matters, lawyers and litigants go to CROSPIL to cross-check facts and obtain documented evidence to back up their claims. The company is the reservoir of public documents on landed properties and housing that must be kept for generations unborn. It is indeed a one-stop shop for lands and housing matters in Cross River State at this time.

It should be noted that the CROSPIL Headquarters that Governor Benedict Ayade is hell-bent to acquire or demolish is a fixed asset of a limited liability company. It follows therefore that this asset is a critical balance sheet item of the company. The acquisition of such an asset cannot be done by a mere executive fiat. This would amount to reckless abuse of power and impunity.

It would be recalled that when former Governor Liyel Imoke acquired a particular CROSPIL building for the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC), he followed the due process and statutory procedure. The agreed sum of twenty five million naira (N25, 000,000) was fully paid by the state government before the property was acquired.

In recent weeks, against all safety measures in this COVID-19 pandemic era, Governor Ayade has continued to visit the CROSPIL Head Quarters. He invades the premises with a long convoy of more than 30 cars and a retinue of his aides and security details in preparation for this mindless acquisition under the pretext of establishing the Construction and Fabrication Academy of West Africa. The governor who has gained the notoriety of demolishing or destroying without rebuilding or reconstruction is at it again.

St Margaret Hospital, Calabar, Odukpani Junction, Government Guest House, Obudu and The Mangroves across the Marina are just few examples of Governor Benedict Ayade’s unhealthy and unconscionable penchant for destroying the relics of the state without replacement. These legacies were bequeathed to the state and successive administrations had maintained and sustained them before the emergence of Governor Ayade. He has now set his unflinching gaze at CROSPIL Head Quarters to either grab or destroy and abandon as usual.

Cross Riverians from all walks of life must unite across party and ethnic lines without primordial sentiments to resist this inglorious escapade of a destructive governor who is set out to plunge the state into an unprecedented disaster. Ayade is determined to bury CROSPIL. Staff salaries have not been paid for the past six months, no subvention from the government and imprest is not being given.

On 2nd September, 2019, the governor appeared at the CROSPIL Head Quarters and gave the staff 7days notice to quit. As a follow up to that notice, on Wednesday 18th September, 2019, thugs suspected to have been sponsored by the state government invaded the premises of the company at about 7pm and demolished the parameter fence separating CROSPIL Head Quarters building from other adjoining properties. Cross Riverians must arise to redeem the times because the days are evil.

The destruction of CROSPIL will be the straw that would throw the state into an endless abyss of confusion. This will come with dire implications and grave consequences for the entire state. The danger is that all the title documents of property owners in the state will be lost. Just imagine that scenario!

The fundamental questions that a discerning mind would find extremely galling are: why should the Construction and Fabrication Academy of West Africa be sited at the Premier Housing Estate? Are there no other locations? Is there any law from the State House of Assembly that empowers the governor to establish the institution? Why should we be talking of another technical institution in the state when CRUTECH, Calabar and ITM, Ugep are so grossly underfunded and ill equipped?

“Obviously, the idea of the proposed Construction and Fabrication Academy of West Africa is not only ill advised, it is at best a smokescreen. It is either borne out of the unquenchable greed to grab and acquire another choice property in the state or to destroy and abandon. The entire idea was conceived in bad fate.”

Cross Riverians must know that if the assets of CROSPIL are depleted below its share capital, then the company will be liquidated. The implication is that the state will not benefit from any housing funds from anywhere if CROSPIL is liquidated.

The ideal thing is for the governor to elevate the equity shareholding capacity of the company, constitute the board of directors and empower the company to step up to the plate and play its onerous role in providing affordable housing to the good people of the state and other Nigerians.” “CROSPIL is a goldmine that must not be allowed to die. It is actually one of those windows we have to create sustainable jobs and shore up our IGR in the state if properly harnessed.

Governor Benedict Ayade must not be allowed to bury CROSPIL.

Missang Oyama is a Concerned Cross Riverian and a Stickler for Rational Governance. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., @MissangOyama05.

"IGNORE USANI AND AYADE", SEN OWAN-ENOH URGES ELECTORATES IN CROSS RIVER STATE

"IGNORE USANI AND AYADE", SEN OWAN-ENOH URGES ELECTORATES IN CROSS RIVER STATE

Gov.-Ben-Ayade-with-Pastor-Usani-Usani-Minister-for-Niger-Delta-Affairs

BY: NSA GILL

The Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River Stat, Sen John Owan-Enoh has urged electorates in the State to ignore the antics of Pastor Usani Usani, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs as well as the antics of the State governor, senator Ben Ayade in the build-up to the general elections.

According to Owan-Enoh, the duo of Usani and Ayade are gripped with fears over the growing acceptability of Sen. Owan-Enoh across the State as APC governorship candidate for the March 2nd elections.

A press statement signed by spokesman for his campaign organisation, Dan Amor noted that the attention of Sen. John Owan Enoh Governorship Campaign Organization has been drawn to the sponsored scroll message on some national television stations to the effect that an Appeal Court in Calabar has insisted that Pastor Usani U. Usani remained the APC candidate in the state.

"There was no such thing as Usani being the APC candidate in Cross River State".

"The script is a fabrication by Usani and Gov. Benedict Ayade to distract the APC in the State due to the looming presence of Sen. John Owan Enoh, its one and only governorship candidate in Cross River State".

It maintains that "Usani has never been declared a candidate in Cross River State as far as the current political transition is concerned. Usani is a spoiler employed by Ayade to distract the APC and its candidates in the state in order for him to have a smooth sail to a second term despite his obvious lack of performance and failure to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people."

The statement further noted that "Usani knows that he is not a candidate in this year's governorship election. That is why he has not resigned his appointment as a minister a few weeks to the election despite the constitutional provision that any appointee running an election must resign his/her appointment 30 days before the election."

It claimed that Gov. Ayade of the PDP may have promised Usani "to play the role of a spoiler so that if he (Ayade) wins, he would nominate Usani for another ministerial appointment." The statement explained that "the substance of the case is very clear. In the count down to the party's primaries last year, the National Working Committee of the APC sent a delegation of seven members to conduct Direct Primaries for the party in Cross River State as stipulated in its constitution."

"Usani refused to participate in that exercise. Rather, he went and formed a faction of the party which conducted an illegal primary and declared himself a winner. But the primary conducted by the National Working Committee of the party had already produced Sen. John Owan Enoh as the candidate of the party in Cross River State".

"Usani went and procured judgment from the Bwari Abuja High Court seeking the declaration of the Etim John faction to which he belongs as the authentic party exco in the state. He also approached the Federal High Court Apo Abuja to declare him the candidate of the party in Cross River State. The Apo High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Olukayode Adeniyi dismissed his case but rather declared Sen. John Owan Enoh as the governorship candidate of the party in Cross River State. Still dancing to the drumbeat of Ayade, his sponsor, Usani again, approached the Federal High Court Calabar which asked INEC to recognise the Etim John faction of the party in the state. But this cannot stand in law as the Federal High Courts in Abuja and Calabar, respectively, are courts of coordinate or concurrent jurisdictions, meaning they have equal powers and none can override the order".

"Usani, therefore, ran to the Appeal Court in Abuja but on sensing that he would lose the case as usual, he quickly sought the withdrawal of the case from the Appeal Court. Meanwhile, the APC had filed an application with the Appeal Court in Calabar. The Appeal Court in Calabar today issued an order asking parties to the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the matter. What this means is that Sen. Owan Enoh to whom the party had handed its flag at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on December 28, 2018, as its standard bearer and listed by INEC as the candidate of the party in Cross River State, remains its candidate until the determination of the matter."

But Usani and Ayade quickly rushed to pay for scroll message on national television stations misinforming Nigerians that Appeal Court had insisted Usani was the candidate of APC in Cross River State. When and where was he declared a candidate in the first place? Both the Bwari Federal High Court and the Calabar Federal High Court didn't mention candidates in their judgments. The only court that mentioned candidates is the Apo Abuja Federal High Court, which dismissed Usani's case because his application was filled with irregularities, forgeries and perjury. The court stated clearly that Usani is not a candidate and declared Sen. Owan Enoh as APC candidate in Cross River State. So, where did Usani get his candidacy from?"

The APC/Sen. John Owan Enoh Governorship Campaign appealed to media houses in the country to obtain a copy of court orders or judgments and study same with convincing evidence before running any scroll message on this matter or be prepared to face litigation from our legal team. Nigeria must be made governable by law!"

Ndoma-Egba earns vital endorsements for his return bid to Senate

Ndoma-Egba earns vital endorsements for his return bid to Senate

Sen.-Victor-Ndoma-Egba-SAN

By Nsa Gill 

The bid by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, to be re-elected into the Senate of Nigeria’s National Assembly where he was last the Senate Leader between 2011 to 2015 has received vital support across communities and groups as well as individuals.

According to one of the renowned political figure in the state Elder Chief Bolaji Anani who gave his endorsement for Ndoma-Egba’s return bid, “we made a mistake in 2015 when we halted his good representation and service in 2015. With this opportunity in 2019, from Abi local government area, I am assuring you on behalf of my people that we will correct our mistake by returning you back by voting for you and your party.”

Elder Anani, who is a former National Financial Secretary of the PDP was one of the prominent personalities that throng venue of the town hall meetings which Ndoma-Egba held across the six local government areas that makes up the Cross River State Central Senatorial district.

Anani’s endorsement was vital being that he is a political ally to the former governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imoke who was known to be the mastermind that halted Ndoma-Egba in 2015.

Another vital endorsement came from the people of Akparabong community where Ndoma-Egba hails from. Community leaders, youth leaders, and women leaders unanimously endorsed his candidature with a plan to join mass movement rally scheduled for Saturday 12th January in Ikom town, to be organized by the Coalition of Support Groups for Senator Ndoma-Egba (COSUGS).

The Deputy Director General of the group Engr. Jerome Egbe disclosed that the plan one million man rally has already been made known to the candidate during a recent courtesy call on him.

Egbe recalled one of the advice given to the people during his just concluded town hall meanings, saying he urged the people “to neglect sentiments and support candidates who can easily negotiate opportunities for them”.

He disclosed that people of the central senatorial district of Cross River State have, at various engagement sessions, restated their preference to have Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba return to represent them in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Firstly, all through the just concluded festive Christmas season, countless prominent individuals and groups trooped, almost ceaselessly, to his country home in Ikom town where he spent the Christmas and New Year receiving them and dispensing gifts and food items.

Prompted by this overwhelming show of support and solidarity, Senator Ndoma-Egba was spurred to embark on visitations to the six local government areas of Abi, Yakurr, Obubra, Ikom, Etung and Boki that make up the senatorial districts.

These visits took the form of Town Hall meetings where the traditional rulers, community leaders, political stakeholders across partisan divides, women and youths were all in attendance in massive numbers across all the local government areas visited from January 2nd to 4th, 2019.

The interactions afforded the people an opportunity to appreciate the past record of performance of Senator Ndoma-Egba during his initial three-term stint in the Senate between 2003-2015 where he rose to the enviable position of Senate Leader while also reminding him about some critical projects that were immediately abandoned by the Government as a result of his not being there to continue his development-oriented legislation and advocacy.

The record of performance under reference here included successfully sponsoring over 37 bills into Acts of the National Assembly including enactments with far-reaching public impacts like the Pensions Amendment Act, Freedom of Information Act, etc.

Also referenced were the over 358 employments into the Federal Service; the over 700 scholarship awards to Cross River State students in tertiary institutions; the over 16,000 beneficiaries of the free computer training program and berthing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Ikom Centre.

The people also appreciated the fact that his position and personality had reintegrated Cross River State into the mainstream of national politics.

Furthermore, the many completed/on-going projects littered across the six local government areas including water supply schemes (e.g in Usumutong, Idomi, Mkpani, Iyamoyong, Akparabong, Opu, Bendeghe-Ekiem, Wula); roads (Ikom-Ajassor-Mfum Highway, Ikom-Agbokim), schools (e.g in Ediba, Ugep, Ogada, Abankang, Ikom, Nsofang, Etomi, Wula); health facilities (in Ofumbongha-Yala, Akparabong, Ogep-Osokom); electricity (in Adjijinkpor, Akparabong); erosion and flood control works (Ediba, Ugep, Apiapum, Akam, Akparabong, Ajassor, Irruan, Kakwagom); security (renovation of Ikom Police Barracks, commencement of work on Itigidi Police Station/Barracks); ICT Resource Centres, etc were identified.

The Senator has also assisted people with over 500 car gifts and helped over 3000 start-ups with items like cassava processing machines, hair-dressing equipment, grass mowers, etc.

The people also pointed to the Edor Surface Water Scheme, Ikom-Etomi-Agbokim, Ikom Specialist Hospital, Irruan Irrigation Dam, Bahumono Ring Road in Abi LGA, Faculty of Law, University of Calabar etc, as projects that need to be completed urgently because of their potential to catalyze the socioeconomic development of the area.

For Senator Ndoma-Egba, it was ample time to intimate the people of his desire to contest the forthcoming senatorial elections on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He thanked the various audiences for the show of love and goodwill to him and his family. He assured them he will run his campaign based on facts and issues, beginning with his past record of service in the Senate and the NDDC where he is the Board Chairman.

He noted that such record is already in the public domain and has been copiously and positively referenced. He pointed to the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari, who despite the low voter support he had in Cross River State in 2015, has demonstrated such love and affection for the State by ensuring the ongoing rehabilitation of the Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja Highway, award of the reconstruction of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Highway, the many strategic appointments of Cross Riverians including the Head of Service of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation, Chief of Naval Staff, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chairman of NDDC Board, DG of the Women Development Centre, etc, as a major inspiration. He enjoined all to reciprocate this love by overwhelmingly voting back President Buhari and all the candidates of the APC in the coming elections.

He observed that it is only in so doing that Central Senatorial District and indeed Cross River State can be reintegrated into the mainstream of Nigerian politics with attendant humongous benefits. Across the board, there was an immense outpouring of passionate commitments to support the reelection of President Buhari, Senator Ndoma-Egba and all the APC candidates.

For the Senator, the common refrain was “ VICTOR IS THE ONE WE KNOW” and to many, his re-election is taken as a community project but what Ndoma-Egba wants from the electorates is the support that sweeps across and extends to all the candidates of the APC in the 2019 elections.

Why Cross River Northern Senatorial district electorate will vote APC

Why Cross River Northern Senatorial district electorate will vote APC

Paramount Ruler of Obudu LGA Utti J D Agba with Council members and two sons honoured by the traditional council

By: Nsa Gill

All Progressive Congress is kicking off its campaigns for the 2019 elections in Cross River State from the Northern Senatorial district of the state.

The campaigns according to official information from the campaign organisation, is taking the format of town hall meetings with a single wrap-up rally for each senatorial district.

The Northern Senatorial district is where the incumbent governor of the State, Senator Ben Ayade is a native. Politically he is of the Peoples’ Democratic Party- PDP, a party that has governed the state from 1999 to date. However, the APC is confident it will achieve the record of being the first opposition party in the State to defeat a seating government.

The confidence of APC is not far-fetched. According to Senator John Owan-Enoh, the governorship candidate of the APC in the state, “when you have a chance to get elected into office, and you wish to have another tenure. What you do is to tell the electorates what you did in the first chance you got.”

“What has the incumbent governor done in the state?” Owan-Enoh asked and equally proffered answers, saying, “the incumbent governor has eroded all the good things that Cross River State was known. Good governance, clean environment, tourism infrastructure, due process in government contracts, virile civil service. I can mention many more things which the current government in the state has taken a detour from the developmental track which was laid by previous administration.”

“The governor of Cross River State was quoted as saying that he has no reason to campaign because he does not have opposition in the state. That is a lie. The real reason he does not want to campaign is that he has nothing to show across the state for the last four years.”

“In our years in the PDP, after every four years, during elections, we toured the entire 18 local government areas in the state and, in each local government, we indicate what we did within those four years. Also, we will indicate what we are going to do when we get elected back. Don’t accept the lies from the administration; it is a lying administration,” he alleged.

Adding, “four years ago, as a state, the governor had to depend on zoning to get him to government house. If he wants to be re-elected, it should be achievements and not zoning that can get him there. It is an insult on the state and its people for a governor having the advantage of all the resources coming to the state to development the state and to showcase your achievement, but because you have done nothing, after four years, you still make recourse to zoning, what an insult. We must resist that insult as a state.”

History has it that in 1999, it was Donald Duke from the southern part of the State that emerged governor out of a contest with other contenders across the three senatorial districts in the state. Duke got re-elected for a second term in office in 2003, unarguably by the record of performance.

He was succeeded by Senator Liyel Imoke from the central senatorial district of the State, four years after in 2007. Imoke, like Duke, faced a contest from contenders across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Even though his tenure was checkered, as his election was annulled by a court verdict twice, but he won the fresh elections that were ordered by the courts and equally won a second term, which he completed in 2015.

Political pundits believe he won his election by merit and record of performance over his challengers, across all the senatorial districts. However, by the end of Imoke's eight years tenure of two terms, sentiments became high that his successor should come from the northern part of the state.

For the first time in the State, merit was not as significant as the argument of zoning to the Northern part of the State. Eventually, Senator Ben Ayade emerged from a guided process midwived by the powers that be at the time in the state.

Other contenders, mostly from the same northern senatorial district were out-smarted by intrigues and split-entrenched interests.

The 2019 elections is another opportunity for the electorates in the State to decide, and issues for consideration has been brought up before the people by entrenched interests.

The APC is accusing the PDP in the state of trying to make zoning a factor in 2019 as a cover-up to non-performance, and the PDP on their part is not shying away from the discussion, insisting that since Duke and Imoke did two terms, Ayade should be allowed to do two-terms as well.

Indications are high that zoning and tribal sentiments which the PDP is trying to draw advantage from will not fly, Ntufam Ekpo Okon,running mate in the APC governorship ticket said. He was speaking during an audience, he granted a private Radio station in the state.

His words, "there is growing evidence of the need to rescue the State from a clear exhibition of mediocracy, quackery and infantilization in the actions and inactions of the Ayade’s administration."

The APC has a stronger political machinery and structure in the state then other opposition political parties and the flag bearer of the APC, Senator John Owan-Enoh and his running mate, Ntufam Ekpo Okon are very strong political gladiators in the State, over time, their reach, as well as contacts and popularity, are across the state, analysts maintained.

Indications that the APC may win the northern part of the state at the polls was evident when recently, one of the chieftains of the APC in the State, Hon. Paul Adah from the northern part of the State was honoured with the traditional title named, UNWA-USHIE, the highest honour to any son or daughter that had used the privileged of their position in public office to help their people and the community.

The Obudu Traditional Council of Chiefs conferred the honour. “Why was Governor Ben Ayade, also a son of Obudu not on the honours' list?” That was the question on the lips of many onlookers.

Instead, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu was honoured alongside the APC chieftain.

The Director General of the APC Campaign Organisation in the state, Sir Maurice Effiwatt, who was a guest at the event, remarked that “the absence of the incumbent governor, Senator Ben Ayade in the list of honorees, is evidence to many that the people of the North were Ayade hails from, have spoken regarding his poor level of performance in his area and across the state”.

Hon. Paul Adah, one of the honourees, on his part said “Governor Ben Ayade, clearly is our son, but at the same time, our people are exposed and knowledgeable. They have eyes and can see. They have experience different administrations by former governors in the state at various times, and it is the administration of the state by their son, Ben Ayade that have brought decay to infrastructure in the area.”

He counted the pains of Northern Cross River people against their son Governor Ayade of the PDP and why they will vote for the APC as a credible alternative to rescue the state, bring back better days and take us to the next level to align with the APC government at the federal level.

According to him, “Obudu Ranch Resort has been run aground by their own Son, Ben Ayade. Former Governor Donald Duke from the southern part came and made Obudu a truly international tourists’ delight with high standards of service and infrastructure. Duke also initiated the Obudu International mountain race in the resort but from the first year in office of Ayade, not only was the resort ran aground, he cancelled the sporting fiesta.”

“Former governor Liyel Imoke added to the Obudu mountain race by introducing the children and Media race to it as well as improved on equipping the Bebi Air-strip in Obanliku, all of that Ayade has neglected.”

“The roads in the area were maintained when the government could not immediately do reconstruction. Ayade came and scrapped the roads in the name of reconstruction and abandon same with attendant health hazard following the dusty nature of the exposed earth surface. Accidents occur on the damaged roads and people leaving along the roadsides, cannot have a decent living and environment in their homes”.

“The power supply from the national grip to Obudu main town and continue rural electrification programme of state government into communities has been stopped by Ayade’s administration. He claimed to establish a power plant in Obudu, but it was a diesel engine power generating power plant which was refurbished and brought in. Few days after the installation and commissioning, the plant has not worked nor provide any power supply”.

“There is a catalogue of things which the people of the north have seen and experienced, and they have been able to compare and contrast to know who their brother truly is. Is it the one with your best interest as a people and a community or the one that has not shown interest in the people and the community but only mentions the heritage he shares with you?”

“I want to say that the vote from the north will shock many that thought APC may perform very well in the north because of Ben Ayade. The people of northern Cross River will vote APC, and you will see it from the first elections of February 16th before the elections of March 2,” he concluded.

APC Crisis in Cross River: Niger Delta Minister Usani, in midst of the storms

APC Crisis in Cross River: Niger Delta Minister Usani, in midst of the storms

Usani Uguru Usani Minister for Niger Delta

BY: Nsa Gill        Calabar

Indications that the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani may have been amongst the masterminds that led to the aborted ward congresses last Saturday in Cross River State has emerged.

Even though a few stakeholders had mentioned his name along with two other party officials at the national level as those who have allegedly formed an albatross to transparent and due process in the conduct of the exercise in the state, Usani, dammed stakeholders and very senior members of the party as he went ahead to hold a controversial congress in his political ward.

Stakeholders in a meeting on Saturday evening after the congress could not hold earlier in the day, insisted that the exercise can only hold through due process and transparent conduct of any committee saddled with such responsibility.

They unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the committee and further resolved that the NWC of APC should set up a new committee to conduct the congress for the state.

In defiance, the Minister went ahead, at the back of an agreement reached by the stakeholders and held a lone congress in his home political ward at Abanankpai in Nko, Yakurr local government on Sunday, a day after the aborted ward congresses across the 196 wards in the state.

A video making rounds on some social media platforms shows the Minister, Usani amidst tight security in his wards at Abanankpai in Nko, Yakurr local government, addressing the gathering after a young man had announced a purported list of party ward executives that was arrived at by consensus.

“We have held our ward congress without any problems nor violence and anybody that comes here to attack us, it means he is not our party member”, Usani said in the video.

The controversial ward congress conducted by the minister will be the only or lone- congress in the state as there was no other, except an alleged list of persons loyal to the minister and purported to have been “arrived at by a consensus”.

Speaking on the aborted ward congress, Mr. Venatius Ikem, one of the senior party members at the stakeholders meeting argued that “APC congress in the state was postponed due to suspicions that the Leader of the party, Usani Usani, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs may have compromised the congress committee led by Dr. Stan Ekezie who on arrival acted in a suspicious manner”.

Vena said the National Vice Chairman of the party South-south Ntufam Hilliard Eta, Senator Owan Enoh and some members of the party upon a tip-off got to the hotel premises where the organizing committee members were lodged and demanded the inspection of the congress materials to ensure they were intact.

At the hotel some pre-prepared lists that were suspected to be on hand to compromise the committee and use as congress results for a congress which had not yet held were seized.

The seized materials were seen in a member's car in the premises of the hotel, not with the committee though but as members were able to insist on a proper stakeholders' meeting which later held at the party secretariat on Saturday evening.”

Speaking to newsmen the National Vice Chairman, South-South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta regretted the situation they were facing in the state.

According to him, Stakeholders meeting was to hold by 8.am and many critical stakeholders and privileged Cross Riverians including, former Governor Clement Ebri, Senator Owan Enoh, Chief Okoi Obono Obla, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong and himself among others went to the state secretariat and waited for hours without any information from the committee.

He also revealed that upon a tip-off, they got to know the hotel the committee members were lodging and some party officials were caught with materials believed to be the congress forms for the elections, already filled with names of unknown persons.

Eta condemned the act and described it as “fraudulent and unacceptable by any standard”.

He regretted that the outgoing national chairman, Chief John Oyegun is leaving the party in such fractured state where there are crisis across state chapters in the country.

His words, “It was our expectation that we will be improving on the processes of 2014, having spent about 4 years that we would have, as a party added value to the processes, but what we have found today is that the party that was handed over to chief Oyegun has actually fallen on bad times. And having been a keen watcher of the political history of Nigeria I can tell you that this was what we use to see in PDP.”

He also pointed accusing finger at the National Organising Secretary of the party, Senator Osita Ezunasor for being behind those that were sent to Cross River State to carry out a hatchet job to suit “some selfish interests”.

On his own path, Chief Clement Ebri, a former governor of Cross River state and board of trustees’ member of the party, condemned the national leadership for “not living up to expectation in promoting due process and transparency”.

He explained that up to the eve of congresses, forms meant for aspirants who had paid money to the designated bank accounts were yet to be issued to many of them. According to him, “some party officials were alleged to have hoarded the forms and trying to manipulate a very simple process”.

He called on the committee to do what is expected of them to avoid ugly experience as recorded in Rivers State where blood was shed during a pre-congress meeting.

A state chapter executive and the Vice Chairman, Cross River Central senatorial district of APC, Mr Cletus Obun on Monday said the indefinite suspension ward congresses in the state remains in force. According to him, the congresses, which were to hold last Saturday in the state, were suspended indefinitely following confusions that arose about the alleged bias of the Congress Committee chairman, Dr Stan Ekezie.The congress materials had been put in custody of the Commissioner of Police.

Obun told reporters in Calabar on Monday that “It is a demand from Cross River State that came as a resolution of all stakeholders in the state and it was unanimous that a vote of no confidence be passed on him (Ekezie) and the committee. As well as on the national leadership of the party and that no congresses should hold in Cross River State until the national convention is held.

He explained that “Cross River would only lose the appearance of new executive in the wards, in the local governments and state. The constitution provides for that lacuna. We believe that a new leadership at the national level would help the party in the state to reap the 2019 elections."

"Rather than see this as a negation that would thwart the success of the party, it is indeed a cleaning surgery that is required. We are not going to take Panadol for hernia. It kills the pain but temporarily. We want a permanent solution and that is a surgical operation of Cross River APC and that is to wipe the leadership from top to bottom."

“I am going to be a beneficiary if I remain in office as a Vice Chairman, but it would do this party no good, if we have to keep a perfidious leadership that is antithetical to the aims and objectives of the party and the intent and purpose for which the party was formed and the prospects and potential that this party holds for 2019. Therefore in summary, this party has resolved in Cross River State that the suspension of the conduct of the congresses in Cross River State remains in force”.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mohammed Inuwa Hafiz in his reaction to allegations that the Police may have released the congress materials entrusted on them for safe custody by stakeholders reacted thus: “The stakeholders agreed amongst themselves after their disagreement on Saturday that they will not entrust the congress materials to any of them and brought them to the Police.

“They handed over the materials to the area commander in his office. Even in the night (Sunday) and even after 12 mid night (Monday), up to the time I am talking to you, the area commander has not told me that he has released the materials to anybody, he cannot release the materials without my instruction,” he emphasized.

The CP further said “We prevented blood bath on Saturday and if not for the quick intervention of the Police, what we would have heard today would have been devastating. We thank God for the Police quick intervention.

“What is being alleged by some of them is becoming evident now that some people just wanted to sideline others and we are not politicians, so we are not into their games, ours is to maintain law and order.”

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