Many had anticipated that he was coming to declare his 2019 political ambition, either to go for the ticket of the governorship of Cross River state or return to the senate to continue to represent the Central Senatorial District of the state.
But that was not the case on Saturday, when Senator John Owan Enoh met with stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the southern senatorial district of the state.
Even before the meeting began, stakeholders who were approached to comment on the perceived ambition of the senator said he had not declared any ambition so they could not comment on it.
Owan Enoh himself began the meeting by saying there was a lot of anticipation about the meeting and told the stakeholders gathered at the Jorany Hotel conference hall in Calabar that why he had invited them was not what they thought they were expecting hear. He knew the stakeholders thought he was going to declare that night. He said the meeting was to encourage everyone to make APC succeed.
He delved into the crisis rocking the party in the state and said “we are a party that doesn't seem to appreciate the difficulty we face as a party in the state. APC does have a governor in Cross River state so we miss that rallying point a governor represents. I am the only elected member of APC in the entire state, so all eyes are on me.
“In the past, I won all my elections. 2019 will be a defining moment in my politics. Some people who benefit from not winning elections are in APC so they would want the party to remain in perpetual crisis.
“That is how they survive as politicians. There is too much suspicion in the party. The more I try to promote the party, the more the suspicion. I didn't defect because I want to contest governorship election. Let us look at Cross River as one. Let us look at our party as one. We can't win as a divided house. We all should be committed to the success of APC.”
The senator said his desire to promote peace and reconciliation within the party and his large-heartedness made him attend the burial of the late father of the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani Uguru, at Nko at the weekend. He said the situation in Cross River APC was worse than what was happening at the national level.
“APC is the available alternative platform to change governance in Cross River. For the first time in a long while, there will be competitive governorship election in Cross River in 2019. But we can miss that competitiveness if we do not put our house in order. I have been playing different roles since I joined the party. In some cases I got my fingers burnt because I was desperate to have peace in the party. Many in PDP are begging us to get it right so that they can join us. I have in the last few weeks been trying to free up this platform, to make sure the right people get the ticket to contest,” he told the stakeholders.
He said instead of confronting 2019, some people are talking about 2023. “Can you afford another four years of Ayade's government?” he asked and there was a resounding chorus of “No”.
Enoh admitted that there was a parallel exco in the state but assured that “the national leadership of the party will address the crisis in Cross River. “Let us not see others as enemies. I went to Nko because I don't play bad politics. The central senatorial district was the most divided during the congresses. Those who masterminded the crisis are those who don't believe in consensus. We can't continue this way. This game is about friendship and relationship. Let this party remain the alternative platform. I must get involved in making sure we win.”
He said APC in Cross River is one and that there was no R-APC or nPDP in the state, adding that “as we approach 2019, we should avoid things that will make us fail. Everything should be done to resolve the current impasse. Think about the interest of this party. There is plenty of work to do. Collaborate with disenchanted members of PDP in the state to win them over to APC. Challenge yourselves. Let us think about the common interest of APC and Cross River.”
Various stakeholders such as state party elders' forum chairman, Elder (Dr) David Effiong Okon, the state secretary of the party, Bishop Victor Ebong, Maurice Efiwat, Alex Ukam and lots of others also spoke about the urgent need for reconciliation to place the party on the path of victory in 2019.
They suggested that the party's leaders in the state should convene an urgent meeting to resolve the crisis because time was running out as parties' primaries are fast approaching.
Maurice Effiwat assured that nobody was defecting from APC and commended Senator Enoh for his exemplary leadership and urged him to build on it by mobilizing the leaders for an urgent meeting.
“Politics is about give and take. We should be ready to make concession to bring about reconciliation,” he said.