Congress: Ayade, PDP stakeholders, NASS caucus opt for consensus


Tomorrow’s Cross River State Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be mere formality, as all warring factions in the state have opted for a consensus after a year of jaw-jaw.

For over a year, Governor Ben Ayade and the state party executives, led by the Caretaker Chairman, Ntufam Edim Inok, have been at daggers drawn with members of the National Assembly caucus from the state and founding members of the party over who controls the party structure in the state ahead of 2023 elections.

Hence, the August 8, 2020 scheduled state congress could not hold as tension and fear of insecurity was high and was subsequently shifted to August 15, 2020 by the NWC in a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan.

He said the NWC of the PDP had postponed the state congress in Cross River State by one week.

In view of this, the Ayade team and that of the National Assembly caucus and the PDP stakeholders have been meeting to arrive at a consensus. one of the National Assembly caucus members, Senator Gershom Bassey, representing Cross River South Senatorial, in a telephone interview yesterday, said: “Our position is quite clear. We congratulate the NWC and the party generally for successfully conducting the ward and chapter congresses and of course the officers have emerged out of that process and they are working and duly sworn in.

“The state congress is now the next step. The governor, who is the leader of the party, has opted that instead of going for a contest in the field, we should have a consensus arrangement to avoid friction. Right now, we are in the process of speaking with His Excellency in order to achieve consensus. Of course, you know that even if we achieve consensus, we will still go to the field and test but we are now in the process of talking and we are trying to achieve consensus and that is our position.

“We, in the National Assembly, caucus are prepared to work with His Excellency to achieve a fair consensus that is fair to us and fair to other stakeholders.

Reacting to speculations that the ward and chapter results of the congresses earlier approved by the NWC and the officers sworn in have been jettisoned, Bassey said, “I am not aware that the ward and chapter results have been jettisoned. As of now, it stands.”

Also, on allegation that the National Assembly Caucus and the governor’s group have bribed the NWC, he said: “Sorry, I am not aware. The NWC has been very fair and very firm and transparent in the conduct of the ward and chapter congresses. So, I am not aware. They have not behaved like people who have been induced in anyway. As far as we are concerned, we have not induced anybody in the NWC of the party.”

He debunked allegations that the entire fight is because of personal ambition of some people and 2023, saying, “somebody had once said that a week is a long time in politics and to me, three years is an eternity in politics and anybody who starts to plan for 2023 contest in 2020 is wasting his time because there are so many variables and I think that all the players in the governor’s level and the National Assembly are very experienced politicians, it is not about 2023.”

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