The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Cross River State led by Dame Senator Florence Ita-Giwa on Thursday, had an exhaustive meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, and strongly appealed for the return of the position of the National Women Leader back the state.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the state Chairman of the Party in Cross River State, Barr Alphonsus Ogar Eba, said a letter has been written to the leader of the party, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and noted that they have received assurance from the national chairman that the issues would be amicably resolved.
Eba also called members of the party in the state to remain calm, noting that the state governor, Sen Prince Bassey Otu, has been fully briefed and has cut short his holiday to return to the country and he is on top of the situation.
He Eba, said: “We the leadership of the Cross River State All Progressives Congress, APC, make our stand known on the purported move by some party chieftains to take away the National Women Leader position from Cross River State to Edo and Delta States.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) the National Working Committee, NWC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, came out and against due process for the Office of APC National Women Leader, which hitherto was occupied by Dr Mrs Betta Edu, was purportedly zoned to Edo State with Absolute disregard to Article 31.5 of APC Constitution, which is our guiding rules.
“But in a civilized democracy aggrieved persons can only channel their grievances through the appropriate quarters.
“Today, we have come to the National Chairman to inform him of this infraction and we have also written to Mr President to say that the National Women Leader position is commonly shared between Cross River and Akwa-Ibom. Edo and Delta presently have an NWC position, which is the National Publicity Secretary.
“You cannot take our position to over-rate us and overenriching Edo State, and by the grace of God the National Chairman of our party has assured us and asked us to be patient that this matter will be resolved.
“Our Governor is leaving his holiday and vacation to return back so that we can resolve this issue, we don’t want trouble, and Cross River State is the only APC State in the entire South-South, we are providing leadership, and we are using this opportunity to appeal to every Cross Riverian that this matter would be resolved amicably.
“They are comparing the in comparables; Government position has nothing to do with party position, it is the APC Constitution that guides the issue of zoning, it is the Nigerian Constitution that guides issues of ministerial appointment. Most States in the South-South have had two ministers we are only lucky that for the first time Cross River State now have two ministers and we are thankful to Mr President who found them worthy.
“But this cannot take the place of our rightful entitlement and I have explained you are taking woman leadership from Cross River and Akwa-Ibom to add to Edo and Delta that have National Publicity Secretary and Assistant Treasurer and other NWC positions, it’s like ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, and this is a party of equity and justice and injustice cannot stand, and we trust in the principles of Mr President, he would not allow this to happen.”
It will would be recalled that a delegation of Cross River Stakeholders, led by the indomitable Dame Senator Florence Ita Giwa, were on a solidarity visit to the National Chairman of the APC, HE Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.
The purpose of the visit was to address the ongoing saga involving the ceding of the office of National Women Leader of the party reserved for Cross River and Akwa Ibom to Edo state. The delegation maintained that, after the elevation of Dr. Betta Edu to the office of Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the president had approved that another Cross Riverian in the person of Hon Dr Mrs Stella Odey Ekpo should replace her. But the state was arm twisted and the office zoned to Edo State without due process and the name of Dr Stella Odey Ekpo was replaced with Dr Mary Alile Alele. This, they believed, is an infraction and an attempt to deprive Cross River state of its right and as stakeholders, they were there to ensure that justice is served.
In the delegation were other notable stakeholders of the party and top government functionaries of Cross River State along with the State Chairman of APC, Cross River State, Barr. Alphonsus Ogar Eba, the Senator representing the Central Senatorial District, Sen. Williams Eteng Jones and the chief of staff to the governor of Cross River State, Hon. Emmanuel Ironbar.
Others include, member representing Ikom /Boki federal constituency, Hon. Victor Abang, High Chief Higgins Peters, honourable Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Dr. Helen Isamoh Egodo, Honourable Commissioner for Information, Hon Erasmus Ekpang, former Commissioner for LG Affairs, Hon. Stella Odey, Chief Victor Effiom Ekpo, High Chief Tony Undiandeye and others.