Cross River state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has called for an end to factionalization in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ayade spoke at an integration dinner with APC stakeholders held at Dorchester Hall, Spar Mall, Calabar.
The governor at the occasion reconciled feuding members of the party who publicly embraced one another.
The event witnessed a gathering of several APC bigwigs from the state including the party’s candidate in the 2019 gubernatorial election, Senator Owan Enoh, former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, former Senator Majority leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, APC state Chairman, Dr.Mathew Tawo Mbu.
Others included two former Senators that represented Cross River South in the Senate, Senators Florence Ita Giwa and Prince Bassey Otu; member representing Abi/ Yakurr in the House of Representatives, Alex Egbona; immediate past vice-chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zana Akpagu, Chief Ekpo Okon, among others.
Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, some members of the state executive council, and House of Assembly members, including Speaker Eteng Williams Jones, were also in attendance.
According to the governor, “the only way the APC in Cross River State can prosper is if we put the past behind us and create a new focus, a new opportunity that will guarantee every one of us to sit on the same table.”
He assured me that he will not play politics of former or current APC.
The governor then pleaded: “Let’s therefore, put an end to the factions in APC. I want to see senator Owan Eno, I want to see pastor Usani cooperate, I want to see Alex Egbona, I want many more people to embrace one another. I want to see Ita Giwa, I want to see Senator Bassey Otu, I want to see Senator Ndoma Egba and Dr. Mathew Mbu embrace themselves. Let us put an end to the fracas.”
He noted that by his defection and judging from the array of APC chieftains present at the event, his former party, the PDP was dead and buried in Cross River because “anyone who is not here is nowhere”.
Several party stalwarts at the integration dinner hailed the governor’s movement to the ruling party, describing it as strategic, timely, and in the interest of the state.
Dr. Mbu said, “This is a great victory for all of us and it’s only the beginning. What I see that lies ahead of us is far greater than what we are seeing here now. We are sure that our leader and Governor will take Cross River State to a different level”.
On his part, Senator Ndoma-Egba lauded the governor’s decision to leave the PDP, describing his former party as “someone’s personal estate”.
“Your Excellency, welcome to a political party. You just left somebody’s personal estate to a political party. As a state, we are too weak and too vulnerable to be in opposition”, he said.
While congratulating Ayade on his defection, Pastor Usani urged him, as a leader of the party in the state and the entire south-south, not to be hasty in taking decisions concerning the APC.
In his remark, Senator Eno called for the closing of ranks in the party, saying whatever differences that had existed in the Cross River APC were over.
He told the governor that his name will be written in the sands of time for positive reasons.