By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The South-south zone of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has directed its Cross River State chapter to investigate the allegation that some members of the state executive committee, and some leaders of the party were comprising the parties opposition role by accepting patronage in form of contract awards, and cash from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration led by Governor Ben Ayade.
National Vice Chairman of the party, Chief Hilliard Eta, announced the directive at the weekend in Calabar, the state capital, during a meeting between the zonal leaders, and stakeholders of the APC in the state.
At the meeting, a chieftain of the party and one time Chairman of Obubra Local Government Area, Pastor Chris Obase, had complained that some members of the leadership of the party in the state were receiving various forms of patronage from the PDP-led administration.
Obase, who had asked for an investigation of the allegation, said the reception of contracts by some leaders of the APC in the state was a signpost to anti-party activities, and an indication that some persons were already working against the success of the APC in the state in 2019.
Reacting to the allegation, Eta stated that such an allegation was very weighty, and would not be swept under the carpet because such acts amount, if proven, would be termed as the height of anti-party activities.
Eta stated that, as one of the leaders of the APC from the state, he has been personally approached with offer of contracts by the Ayade’s administration, but he bluntly rejected the offer because he cannot engage in such act of enriching himself at the expense of his integrity , which he noted was also the apex of anti-party activities.
Eta, therefore, directed the state working committee of the APC to investigate the allegation in order to prove its veracity or otherwise.
Leaders of the APC in the zone, stakeholders, and members of the party who were present at the event which held at Etaval Hotel unanimously endorsed the decision of the zone of the party to investigate the allegation.
Also, at the meeting of the zonal leadership of the party directed the APC in the state to institute a matter in court challenging the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) for allegedly refusing to conduct local government elections despite a subsisting court judgment from the High Court in Calabar, which stated that it was illegal for Heads of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) , to function in the stead of elected local government chairmen and other elected officials.
Reacting to complaints from members that it was obvious that the Ayade administration was not prepared to hold council polls until 2020, the zonal vice chairman said it was high time the APC in the state should no longer fold its arms and allow the PDP-led administration toy with the future of the people of the state, especially those at the grassroots level.
Eta observed that the Supreme Court has already ruled that local government areas should be led by elected leaders as provided by the 1999 constitution as amended.
Earlier in the year, the CROSIEC has announced that it would conduct local government elections last June, but it postponed the elections on the basis that INEC was embarking on the continuous voter registration exercise.
However, since the INEC ended the registration exercise in July, the CROSIEC has not announced a new date, a development that is fuelling speculation that the elections would hold in November; which the electoral commission has vehemently denied saying it was yet to announce a new date.