Reactions have continued to trail the release of authentic list of wards and local government are executive committee members in Cross River state.
While the stakeholders including National Assembly members, founding fathers of the party, former elected and appointed members as well as former council chairman and councillors have hailed the new list and the directive from the national body, saying it meets the people’s expectations, the state party leadership allegedly supporting Governor Ben Ayade’s faction, have expressed dismay at the list, describing it as hogwash.
The national leadership of the party had in a letter dated April 26, 2020 and signed by the national organising secretary, Col Austin Akobundu (retd), released the approved authentic list for ward and local government executives for all the 196 wards and 18 local government councils.
According to the statement, the approval of the National Working Committee, NWC, on behalf of National Executive Committee, NEC, was as a result of the successful conduct of the ward and local government congresses held in the state on March 7, 2020 and March 21, 2020 respectively and after careful consideration of the reports of the electoral committee and appeal panel.
The statement further directed the state party chairman, Ntufam Edim Inok Edim, to inaugurate the new executive officers in accordance with the provisions of section 65 of the party constitution as amended in 2017.
According to the stakeholders, who have coalesced into Movement for the Restoration of Cross River PDP, (MFTROCR), said the national leadership decision would breadth new lease of life into the party as those elected are the real party men and women who understands the party politics and have worked for the party at various levels before now.
The group’s spokesperson, Comrade Raymond Takom, said he wonders why some people should kick against the newly-released ward and local government executives that was duly signed by the party’s national organising secretary even when those complaining now conducted the congresses.
Takon said: ‘What the party has done by releasing authentic list of wards and local government chapters executives and duly signed by the national organising secretary is worthy of commendation and emulation. The list sent to the governor and state party chairmen is a reflection of what happened during the congresses.
‘’In the first place, the committee members that conducted the wards and local government congresses were all nominated by the Governor who is the leader of the party in the state. No stakeholder had a hand in the congresses and so the list is a reflection of what they forwarded to Abuja. I think the national leadership must have looked into it and ensured that all key stakeholders’ interests were all accommodated. Thus, the authentic list as they stated in the letter.
‘’The only thing we did was to ensure that there was a contest in virtually all the positions to prove that we are democratic. So anybody who feels he lost out should wait for another time. We also insist that any attempt to tinker with the list would be resisted.’’
But reacting, one of the members of the state executive committee and die-hard loyalist of Governor Ben Ayade who don’t want to be named in print for fear of being molested, said the party chairman, Ntufam Edim Inok and some top government officials are still studying the list to know how many governor’s men made the list at last.
According to him, they have put calls across to the national leadership and registered their displeasure against the list as it does not reflect what transpired in the field while they are still waiting for their response.
He admitted that the list has totally disorganised the political structure in the state as all interests groups seem to have been represented in the new ward and local government excos, adding ‘’if the list stands, then there is a big trouble for the Governor, who wanted all his men on the exco in contrasts to what we have now.’’
For quite a while now, there has been no love lost between Governor Ben Ayade and some members of the National Assembly and pioneer members who contributed to the success of the party in the past twenty years over who takes control of party structures.