Tuesday, 25 October 2011

C’R 2012 guber: PDP chieftains at war overmembership cards

Cold war is brewing within the Cross River
State chapter of the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP), as some chieftains are said to
be fighting dirty over who controls and takes
custody the membership cards.
Daily Sun investigations revealed that the
leadership of the party has been factionalised
into two following moves by Ambassador Soni
Abang, Nigeria’s envoy to Mali, to contest
against the incumbent, Governor Liyel Imoke,
in the pending 2012 governorship race.
It was learnt that since the rumour started
making the rounds that Ambassador Abang,
the former PDP state chairman, was gearing
up to throw his hat into the ring, there had
been subterranean moves to ease out his
supporters from the party before the
congresses to possibly pave way for the
incumbent’s smooth sail.
Daily Sun further learnt that the just-
concluded party revalidation and registration
exercise was a case in point as it was skewed to
exclude some diehard loyalists and chieftains
of the party perceived to be sympathetic to
Chief Abang’s ambition.
Across the state, an authoritative source
confided in Daily Sun that from Bakassi to
Bekwarra local government areas, some
powerful forces were said to have remote-
controlled the exercise in such a way as to
discreetly de-register “opponents,”
Ambassador Soni Abang’s supporters by
handing over the registration materials to
only trusted “allies” and keeping the party
register and cards away from them.
Attesting to the plots to ease out some people
from the party, the former legal adviser and
secretary of PDP in the state, Mr. Ogar
Ndoma Egodo, in an exclusive interview with
Daily Sun at his office in Calabar, said the
caucus leadership across the state had devised
a means to de-register some party members
because they were alleged to be supporting
Abang or are his close associates in the name
of playing politics.
Egodo, who was the immediate past chairman
of Ikom Local Government Area, disclosed
that “moves to shut out some stakeholders on
the pretext of protecting Imoke’s mandate
for 2012 would only aggravate internal
wrangling, acrimony, breed distrust among
the leadership, which ultimately could cause
mass defection of dissatisfied members who
would want to exercise their right to choose
who they want.”
Expressing anger at the turn of events, the
former council boss said, “my caucus leader
decided to de-register me by not allowing me
access to the party card and the register; he
handed over the cards to a former councillor
who knows next to nothing about the
workings of the party just because I attended
new yam festival with Ambassador Abang
and his sister’s wedding ceremony at Iso
Bendeghe. So, automatically I am a public
enemy and should be excluded from the party
I suffered to build in my Ikom chapter.”
Questioning whether it was a crime to support
another aspirant within the same party, he
lashed out at caucus leaders, describing them
as “overzealous personages and sycophants
who are all out to deceive the incumbent under
the guise of being loyal to the throne.
“And presently,” he continued, “we are now
being haunted, intimidated and arrested by
security operatives on the charge of illegal
possession of party membership card,” adding
“I doubt whether I will be alive till next year to
even witness the election because of my
support for another aspirant.”
Egodo, however, advised party leadership to
ensure that everybody was given a level-
playing ground rather than dissipating
energy haunting enemies that did not exist as
such could be counter-productive.
But denying any moves to de-register or arrest
party members, the leader of Ikom caucus of
PDP, Mr. Bassey Okim, in a telephone
interview told Daily Sun that everybody who
needed to be registered had done so in their
wards and wondered why insinuations of plots
to exclude members when the party leadership
warned all and sundry to come out because the
party was a big family that welcomed all.
The former special adviser to Governor Liyel
Imoke on security and present special adviser
on legal matters said, “after the first set of
PDP membership registration, some
supporters of our opponent decided to print
fake cards and buy fake registers. So, opinion
leaders in my local government area decided to
lodge complain with the police to avoid breach
of peace and the matter is still being
investigated and some of the boys have left
the town for fear of arrest.”

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