Fresh crisis appears to be threatening the Cross River State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC. The new people who followed the governor to the party are in a hurry to take control of the party, a development that does not seem to sit well with old members.
The governor actually started the move to take over the party’s structures when he decided to convert the PDP secretariat on the Calabar Road to the APC secretariat, abandoning the existing secretariat of the APC.
Some former chieftains of the PDP who are now in the APC with the governor are already saying the old PDP secretariat has become the APC secretariat, while the old party members are still using their own secretariat.
TNN learnt that some local government chairmen who were elected under the platform of the PDP, but who have moved to the APC, are also working towards acquiring new secretariats for themselves.
It was learnt that an internal crisis is already looming. Old members of the party seem to be watching the governor and his men as they try to take over the party’s structures. There are speculations that the governor is angling to plant his men from the ward to state level, whenever the party’s congress holds.
Incidentally, it was the same issue that led to the crisis he faced in the PDP, which eventually resulted in his decision to quit the PDP, when it became clear that he had lost the battle for control of the party’s structures, to the National Assembly members.
Some concerned party leaders who confided in TNN expressed the fear that Ayade’s desire to control the party, not minding what the members he met there think, may further destroy the APC in the state.
It was learnt that the governor plans to bring up all those who failed to secure positions in the PDP from the ward to state level. A party member who confided in TNN said the governor who is now the leader of the party, is not favourably disposed to negotiating those positions with anybody.
The body language of the governor and his public speeches have also confirmed this belief. For example, a few weeks after his defection to the APC, it was his aides that organised the stakeholders meeting the governor held to introduce himself and his followers to the old members.
The state executive of the party neither knew anything about the planning of the meeting which held at the Government House, instead of the party secretariat. And, at the moment, it is not clear which of the two secretariats the party would be conducting its business, even though it is clear that Ayade would prefer to operate from the former PDP secretariat.
Many of the party leaders are not comfortable with developments in the party. They are also not comfortable that the governor was yet to make true, his promise of 500 appointments for old members of the party, into his government.
TNN learnt on Monday that the governor has informed the PDP members that followed him to the APC to also submit names of people to be appointed under the 500 food-on-the –table appointment slots.
The party’s spokesman, Mr Bassey Ita would not want to comment on any of the issues. In response to TNN enquiries, Ita merely said he would not comment because it was too early to begin to talk about crisis in the party.
TNN learnt that the governor is yet to meet with top party leaders of the party on his plans and programmes, apart from the general meeting he had with members who were nominated from the various wards.
Some of the party leaders do not seem to be excited that the governor was coming into the party with the same style he used while in the PDP. Sources within the party said they had expected the governor to hold consultations with the leaders and be properly guided so that the mistakes he made in the PDP could be prevented.