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Ejagam-Ejagam governorship ticket unsettles Cross River APC

From L : Ntufam Ekpo Okon, Sen. Owan Enoh, Ntufam Hilliard Eta and Dr. Matthew Achigbe during APC stakeholders meeting yesterday

By Bassey Bassey

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State is presently reeling in another crisis following revelations that the party's gubernatorial candidate for next year's governorship election in the state, Senator Owan Enoh and his running mate, Ekpo Okon are of the same ethnic stock- Ejagam.

APC stakeholders in the state, especially those from other ethnic stocks, are questioning Enoh's wisdom in picking his kinsman as a runing mate.

The Efiks who are the dominant tribe in Cross River South senatorial zonè where Okon hails from are particularly spitting fire. APC chieftains of Efik extraction are accusing Enoh of taking them for granted and have vowed to frustrate him at the polls.

One of them who pleaded anonymity for the fear of being punished for anti-party activities fumed: "We are bringing Enoh's ethnic irredenstism to the attention of the Efik people and Cross Riverians in general because we feel this obvious insensitivity should be exposed; Cross Riverians should know what is happening in APC.

We dont lack eminently qualified sons and daughters for the exalted position of running mate but Enoh prefers his fellow Ejagam man for the position.He will hear from us, Efiks"

Anger within the party  in the state over Enoh's choice of a fellow Ejagam man as running mate was palpable during Okon's unveiling yesterday. Wearing mournful and crestfallen  mien, many party faithful who graced the event left the venue muttering disappointment.

"The faces you see here are faces of frustration, anger, hunger and poverty; these are the faces Enoh hopes will make him governor",  a party member said.

Keen observers of Cross River politics say APC's Ejagam-Ejagam guber ticket puts in proper context a recent report where Enoh was quoted to have said that he did not need the votes of the Efiks to become governor.

Political analysts posit that the Ejagam-Ejagam ticket and Enoh's alleged dismissive comment about the Efiks not only portray him as a hegemonist but also as someone lacking sensitivity to the diverse nature of Cross River in terms of ethnic configuration.

Essentially, while Senator Enoh is an Ejagam from Etung in Cross River Central Senatorial zone, Okon is from Okoyong, whose ancestry is Ejagham.

Besides the runing mate upheaval, Cross River APC is also embroiled in internal squabbles over perceived hijack of the party by defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Founding party chieftains who describe themselves as "APC landlords" are reportedly not happy that Senator Enoh who is less than a year old in the party has not only appropriated APC structures in Cross River but is now flying its flag for next year's guber election.

In the case of Okon, the "APC landords" describe his emergence as running mate as scandalous and classical example of one reaping where he or she did not sow.

One of the "APC landlords laments: "Just three weeks ago, Okon was locked in contest with Senator Gershon Bassey for the Cross River  South PDP senatorial ticket only for him to jump ship, berthed  in APC overnight  and become Enoh's runing mate after losing to Bassey.

This is unacceptable.The process of taking our party back from strangers will soon be activated."
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