By Abasi Ita, Calabar
Growing apprehensions have enveloped the Cross River State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the pendulum gradually tilts toward the candidate of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Sandy Onor as the likely successor to embattled Governor Ben Ayade.
Despite boasting of two Senatorial seats and five House of Representatives slots already in its kitty, the humiliating defeat suffered by Governor Ben Ayade in the Cross River North Senate race where he was roundly beaten by Senator Jarigbe Agom of the PDP across the five local government areas, even after squandering billions of naira in pursuit of the vaulted ambition has ushered in despair and acrimony within the camp of the ruling party in Cross River State.
While Ayade is now on the offensive provoked by the quest to retrieve some diverted cash from polling units coordinators who got a total of five hundred and fifty thousand naira each and at least five million naira from major stakeholders who acted as coordinators in the 54 wards of Cross River North, the APC State Chairman Alphonsus Eba Esq is equally on a vendetta mission against party chieftains for betrayals and anti-party allegations threatening to sack “food on the table appointees” from polling units where APC lost.
Seething with soaring anger expressed through invectives outbursts while briefing media practitioners earlier in the week, Eba poured out venoms against all those behind the deployment of soldiers in the last elections which according to him scuttled the victory of APC in the race against Senator Jarigbe while lashing out at party chieftains for betraying Governor Ben Ayade at the polls despite his huge human capital investment which he stressed has guaranteed them daily meals.
The internal wranglings seem to be compounded by the tidal wave of endorsements revolving around the candidacy of Senator Sandy Onor of the opposition People Democratic Party, PDP, especially this past week
The floodgate of endorsements centered around the charismatic qualities, verifiable credentials, and pragmatic leadership potentials of Senator Sandy Onor was opened by the Cross River Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria PFN when 260 out of 420 officials comprising state, local government, district, and wards executive chapters of the body voted for an outright adoption of the PDP flag bearer as the PFN anointed choice in the governorship election slated for Saturday, March 18
Addressing journalists while unveiling their resolution, State Chairman of PFN Dr. Lawrence Ekwok said the unveiling scenarios in Cross River which has eroded the once enviable glory of the state with attendant hardship and security woe compelled the church to set the agenda for the emergence of the right leadership to rescue the state from the present abysmal predicament..
The reprisal attacks against key clergymen by the state government and its cohorts over the endorsement however failed to deter other political, professional, and religious groups from taking a definite stand on the gubernatorial race which is a make or mar contest for the future of the Cross River, given its precarious state of affairs worsted by the alleged woeful performance of Governor Ben Ayade.
Trailing on the heels of the PFN was the emerging power brokers in the political landscape known as the “Obedient” movement under the auspices of Coalition for Peter Obi in Cross River State.
Conveying their decision via a statement endorsed by 12 coordinators representing members of the Coalition, the group explained that members opted for Senator Onor as the most viable option for the state after a holistic appraisal of the manifestoes, antecedents, and integrity of the two leading contenders for the plumb office.
The statement was signed by Chief Mkposong Erete, Sir Obi Bisong, Peter Orok, Mrs. Myra Benson, Dr. Matthew Ebim, Engr. Fred Obi, Emmanuel Umoh, Calistus Ubiele Princemark Ettah, Paul Njama, Kinie Willie, and Daniel Ofem,
In the same vein, the Coalition of Opposition Political Parties in Cross River, COPP has announced their resolve to queue behind Senator Onor of the PDP in the March 18 governorship election.
A statement issued by COPP and duly signed by Mr. Ntami Esege on behalf of the ground opined that the resolution was driven by the need to project the best available candidate with the capacity and political will needed to rescue the state from the prevalent quagmire