Hope Rises for APC In Cross River As Minister Inaugurates First Harmonized Exco In Four Years

Honourable Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy Agba addressing the newly inaugurated caretaker committee. 

For four years, the All Progressives Congress, APC in Cross River State was embroiled in serious crisis leading to its description as a modern day towel of babel. It was a house divided against itself as critical stakeholders and gladiators fought each other for the soul of the party.

The party was sharply divided into three factions ; the "Usani 's faction", loyal to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru, the "Owan-Enoh' s faction", loyal to the former Senator representing the central senatorial district and the "neutral faction" which belongs to neither of the factions.

While the two factions had recognized leaders, the third faction which was not too big like the other two had no leaders. The third faction was comprised of a small group of people who were rather interested in the unity of the party than dividing it to pursue the interests of Usani and Owan-Enoh.

The Caretaker Committee Chairman, Sen. Mathew Mbu Jr. addressing party members at the inauguration 

Both Owan-Enoh and Usani wanted to be Governor in 2019, so to get the party's ticket, they wanted to have absolute control of the party structures in the state. To achieve this, their scheming to undo one another started and metamorphosed into a long legal battle on the authenticity of the factional executives.

Usani, although, a then serving Minister and former State Chairman of the party didn't find favour in the Adams Oshiomhole's led national working committee. While Owan-Enoh, a then serving Senator who defected from the PDP to the party in a sharp contrast had Oshiomhole's backing.

The battle which many had thought would be resolved before the main election in 2019 grew into it with both factions fielding candidates for all the elections; a development which many attributed the poor outing of the party in the elections to.

The success of APC at the centre in 2019 meant that the party was going to have a Minister from the state. While many rooted for their respective factional leaders to be appointed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, others wanted a neutral gladiator to get the slot in other to bring the warrig factions together.

However, the prayers of those who wanted a neutral person was successful as Goddy Jedy Agba, OFR, one of the major financier of the party in the state who didn't identify with any faction was appointed by the President as the Honourable Minister of State for Power.

Shortly after his inauguration, Jedy who understood the leadership vacuum in the party rolled up his sleeves and went into action, holding series of metings with critical stakeholders from all divide to find a lasting solution that will restore peace and unity in the party. His efforts yielded results when both factional Chairmen agreed to step down for a neutral person to be appointed to lead the party.

This agreement gave birth to a high ranking meeting of APC stakeholders from the state at the national secretariat in Abuja. At the meeting, the stakeholders nominated the current Caretaker Chairman, Sen. Mathew MBU Jr. who like Jedy, was neutral during the crisis period as Chairman.

Nevertheless, to further show the strength of unity in the party in recent times, the Honourable Minister on Friday January 22, inaugurated a harmonized caretaker committee comprising of people from all the factions. The development has been applauded as a positive development and a step in the right direction.

Governorship aspirant of the party in 2019, Prof. Etim Nyong at the inauguration 

Speaking while performing the inauguration ceremony on behalf of the national caretaker Chairman in Calabar, the Minister charged the party leaders to always jettison their individual interests to pursue the collective interests of the party.

He said that "I'm very excited by this development today because this is what we have been working to achieve for some time now. Without peace, we can't do anything. I charge you all to put all your efforts in running the affairs of this party.

"As a united family, let's work together to achieve the collective objective of the party which is to win elections. Without winning elections  there will be no point for political party. So, we're here because we want to win elections and to achieve that, we must work as a team".

When contacted to speak on the issue, Sir John Ochala, Chairman of one of the dissolved factions said that the development was a product of sacrifice geared towards repositioning the APC to work as a united family to challenge PDP dominance in the state.

Ochala said that "the court gave us victory but it didn't give us peace. So, when we discussed with our brothers from the other side and they all reasoned with us and agreed to withdraw all their cases from court, we decided to sheath our swords for peace to reign. In the wisdom of the national leadership of the party, they directed that a neutral person that will bring everybody together should be made Chairman and we all accepted because without peace, we can achieve little".

Speaking about the role played by the Minister to restore peace, Ochala said that "the Minister played a fatherly role in uniting the party. He carries everybody along and also call a spade a spade. His doors have been open to everybody. Some people may not agree with his style but from where we are coming from, there's a remarkable progress under his leadership and with the unity we enjoy now, I can tell you that the party is more prepared to takeover power from the PDP".

While appealing to other leaders of the party not to allow their ambition affect the unity of the party again, he said that "I also want to appeal to our leaders whose interests divided the party before to drop their 2023 ambition for neutral people. We all need to make sacrifices for the party to grow stronger".

On his part, Hon. Etim John, Chairman of the other faction advised the new caretaker committee members to always be guided by their consciences in discharging their duties.

According to him, "I thank God that today (Friday February 22) a Caretaker Committee has been Inaugurated. My prayer for them is that they should be guided by their Consciences. I have always preached one indivisible APC. Please, let's remember the message; conscience, an open wound healed by Truth".

Responding on behalf of the newly inaugurated caretaker committee, State Publicity Secretary, Bassey Ita said that "What our reconciliation and harmonization process portends for us as a party is a renewed vigour and strength of unity that will ensure a smooth transition of power from the reactionary conservative PDP to the progressive-inclined APC.

"Members have been upbeat to get victory at all cost and the peace and reconciliation process they intend to explore for the desired victory".

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