By Our Reporter
The lingering crisis brewing in the Calabar Municipality All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to gather momentum as critical stakeholders and some top government officials are fighting dirty over the control of the party structure.
This internal fight has led to the factionalisation of the party leadership. While one faction is headed by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Chief Felix Idem the other is led by the Chapter Chairman, Chief Emmanuel Mbora.
The face-off escalated over the weekend with emerging factions deploying new antics intended to outsmart each other in the quest for control of the party machinery in the state capital.
The latest catalyst to the internal wrangling is the arbitrary proclamation of the Local Government Affairs Commissioner as the de facto leader of the party in the local government by his bunch of loyalists which pundits maintained are unknown in the party hierarchy and constitution
Our investigations revealed that the internal wrangling began shortly after the inauguration of the state executive council with three commissioners namely Chief Felix Idem (Local Government Affairs), Effiom Ekaha (Mineral Resource), and Bishop Margaret Ene-Ita (Social Welfare) and the member representing Calabar Municipality State Constituency, Hon. Stanley Nsemo.
These persons on assumption of office, suddenly saw themselves as political leaders and therefore launched a subtle campaign to take over the control of the party structure to remain relevant.
It was learned that their desperation to take over the party machinery using all means led to the kangaroo suspension of a duly elected chapter chairman of the party in the person of Chief Emmanuel Mbora based on trumped-up allegations.
Even as the leadership of the party at the state level waded in and called for reversion of the status quo citing flagrant violation of the party’s constitution in the imbroglio, the quartet of Idem, Ekaha, Ene-Ita and Nsemo have shunned all entreaties insisting that Mbora has been removed.
The stakeholders wondered where Idem and his men were when they toiled day and night and spent their hard-earned resources to ensure the emergence of Governor Bassey Otu even when some of them fighting now were conspicuously missing in the field
Worried by this ugly development, the foundation members of the ruling APC in Calabar Municipality have advised political officeholders from the LGA to tailor their time and resources towards delivering on their assigned schedules as commissioners and lawmakers rather than meddling in the daily affairs of the party warning that such obsession will not be tolerated.
Addressing newsmen in Calabar on Monday, the members under the aegis of Concerned APC Stakeholders in Calabar Municipality observed with dismay that, “The penchant demonstrated by these political opportunists in controlling the party is overheating the polity rather than consolidating on the gains on the ground and reinvigorating the party for future electoral victory.”
According to the coordinator of the group, Sam Etim, “It is saddening that after we toiled and sacrificed significantly in the field to ensure the emergence of Senator Bassey Otu as the governor of our state, some few individuals spearheaded by the commissioner for local government affairs, Chief Victor Idem, is hell-bent on usurping the functions of the party hierarchy and dictating to everyone.
“A few days back Idem and co invited stakeholders to what was supposed to be a get-together to usher in the new year only for his cronies to turn the event into a political gathering where he was proclaimed as the undisputed leader of Calabar Municipal APC caucus against existing norms and conventions of the party. He in turn got up to pronounce a deputy chapter chairman of the party as a new chapter, promising to lead the presumed new exco to the governor for a formal introduction. Is it not madness?”
According to him, “We would resist any attempt from any quarter aimed at undermining the gains recorded by the party in the last election which was attributable to our huge sacrifices and hard work. We, therefore, urged the state governor to nib the tussle in the bud before it escalates beyond redemption.”
Also speaking, another Legacy member of the party, Eteka Tom, disclosed that “Article 21 of APC Constitution is clear and sacrosanct. Only the chapter chairman is empowered to summon any meeting of the party within the local government. Regrettably, our party is being run aground by meddling interlopers with no bearing on the focus of the party.”
Commenting on the issue, a stalwart of the party, Ebong Asikpo, expressed dissatisfaction with the prolonged delay by the relevant top brass of the APC in checkmating the continuous threat posed by government officials to the unity of the party in the state capital.
Asikpo posited: “The state chairman of the party Barr. Alphonsus Eba waded in the other time in his official capacity to settle the fracas. He explained in clear terms that only the party leadership has the prerogative to summon meetings and oversee the routine administration of the party but our appointees and elected government officials have blatantly opted to contravene the constitution of the party flouting the directive of the leadership of the party at the state level.
“The onus is now on the governor to do the needful by calling these people to order before they destroy the height we have taken the party to. If Chief Felix Idem and co want to run the party, they should simply resign and take up positions as party officials once the tenure of the current executive elapses. Otherwise, they should enjoy our sweats and stop rocking the boat.”
Efforts to get the Commissioner of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Chief Felix Idem, to comment on the issue were abortive as his phone line was perpetually off.