There appears to be no respite for the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, after his failed bid to proclaim himself as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River state. Although his supporters took to
the streets of Calabar on Tuesday 9 October to protest his rejection as the governorship candidate and called for the removal of the national chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, nothing has changed regarding the position of the national leadership of the party on the candidate duly elected as the party's standard bearer for the 2019 governorship election in the state, Senator Owan Enoh.
The decision of Usani to declare himself as governorship candidate after a parallel congress organised by people he hand-picked has continued to attract condemnation and threat to expel him from the party. The minister is seen as a fifth columnist out to destabilize the party for the benefit of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Rising from a meeting they held on Thursday, 11 October, stakeholders of the party in the 18 local government councils in the state issued a 16-point statement on the recent events in the party. The statement dwells extensively on the activities of the minister and Pastor Sylvester Nsa who is the Cross River state commissioner on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Calling on the national leadership of the party “to take appropriate disciplinary measures against him and his cohorts”, the stakeholders recalled that in January this year Usani was suspended by the state working committee of the party over alleged anti-party activities such as summoning meetings and acting on behalf of the party without recourse to the constituted organ and authority of the party.
According to the stakeholders, “out of magnanimity, the current leadership of the party in the state had turned a blind eye to the suspension, thus allowing him to participate in the last primaries of the party without invoking that suspension. Now, he has taken everyone for granted, even acting like a 'bull in a China shop'. We are therefore proceeding to request the National leadership of the party to act on the said document, as that suspension has not been rescinded by the party leadership in Cross River state.”
They also stated that even after the dissolution of their parallel exco by the National Working Committee of the party, the minister, Pastor Sylvester Nsa, Emmanuel Anom, Etim John, Chief Francis Ekpenyong and Charles Asim Ita, have refused to yield to the official pronouncement.
They alleged that the minister and those mentioned earlier “have continued to conduct themselves in defiance of our party constitution, which is harmful to the growth and progress of our party. As if that is not enough, they have with impunity, instituted series of court actions against the party and its representatives without exhausting the internal mechanisms for seeking redress as expressed in the letters of the constitution of our party.”
The party leaders' statement which was read by Dr. Odigha Odigha, decried the alleged formation of parallel party organs in the state by Usani and his group “thereby undermining the authority and decision of the national organs of our great party,” saying he has shown serious disdain for the directives of the party at the highest echelon and has become law unto himself by conducting party primaries, including his own governorship primary where he claimed to have been elected allegedly using cloned fake materials.
Accusing Usani as the only known political collaborator of Governor Ayade, the leaders said he was an adversary and enemy of APC in the state, listing his alleged evident partnerships with the PDP government in Cross River state.
“It is an open secret that Pastor Usani U. Usani has a discreet political pact with Governor Ben Ayade for the governor to serve a second term and hand over to Pastor Usani Usani in 2023. This is clearly evidenced in Usani's political activities which are sponsored by Governor Ayade,” the stakeholders alleged, and called on the national leadership of the party to show him the way out of the party to enable party leaders market the party, since he was not ready to change his unrestrained, unabated and unrepentant posture.
The stakeholders commended other governorship aspirants, High Chief Edem Duke, Prof Etim Nyong and John Upan Odey for accepting the olive branch extended to them by Senator John Owan Enoh and stated that their participation in the primaries brought tremendous political gains to the party in the state.