Cross River: Amidst tension, PDP postpones state congress
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
As the battle on who controls the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structure in Cross River state rages uncontrollably, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has postponed the State Congress which was billed for Saturday, August 8, 2020.
Gov Ben Ayade and some National Assembly members from the state are at daggers drawn. The bone of contention is mainly who should be the State Chairman of the party. While the Governor is believed to support Alphonsus Eba as Chairman, some National Assembly members are said to prefer the former national publicity secretary, Venatius Ikem.
Two different lists of cleared candidates and delegates had been in circulation since Thursday to prove the depth of controversy surrounding the exercise. While the first list has names of three candidates including Venatius Ikem, Alphonsus Eba and Frank Adah who were said to have been cleared to contest for the chairmanship seat, the second list has the name of Alphonsus Eba as a sole cleared candidate.
Surprisingly, both lists were signed by the party national organising secretary, Col Austin Akobundu (rted), with the emblem of the party visibly stamped.
As the political atmosphere became charged with both camps fully ready for a showdown, the police warned on Saturday morning against breakdown of law and order, saying it would deal with anyone who would foment trouble.
The uncertainty surrounding the State congress may have forced the PDP national leadership to postpone the election. A press statement signed by the national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has postponed the State Congress in Cross River State by one week.
“The NWC, after due consultations and in exercise of its powers under the PDP constitution, postponed the Cross River State Congress from the earlier scheduled date of Saturday, August 8, 2020 to Saturday, August 15, 2020. The postponement is sequel to demands of exigencies of party administration.
“All critical stakeholders, elders, leaders as well as teeming members and supporters of our great party, particularly in Cross River State, are to be guided accordingly.”