Some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State under the auspices of ‘Legacy and Foundational Members’ have berated the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, and the state party chairman, Alphonsus Ogar Esq, over what they described as sidelining of old party members in favour of new entrants.
The group called on the governor to carry old APC members along in the scheme of things rather than excluding them from appointments, even when they were the ones who suffered over the years to keep the party together before Ayade defected to APC alongside his supporters.
At an extraordinary meeting convened by the group held in Calabar on Tuesday, a chieftain of the party, Barr. Eteng E. Eteng, who read the resolutions of the aggrieved party, said, “Despite our excitement, enthusiasm, and open arms following our expectations, our spirit have been dampened due to current trend of events.
“We have not been considered for party positions nor benefits from the wards, local government chapters, states and National level of our party”.
Also, in an interview with LEADERSHIP in Calabar, convener of the meeting/former chairman of Odukpani LGA in the state, Barr. Ekpo Nsa, lamented how old party members, who toiled to keep APC together until Governor Ayade defected to the party, have been marginalised, calling on the state governor to correct the anomaly.
In his words, Ekpo-Nsa said, “We have been relegated and excluded in the schemes and politics of the party. We have been treated with contempt and we feel it’s time for our dear governor and party Exco to be aware of our grievance as we prepare for the forthcoming 2023 elections.
“Our party the APC performed poorly in the just-concluded Akpabuyo, Ogoja/Yala federal constituency by-elections. Because we lack grassroot support from our members at the grassroot and internal party inclusiveness and cohesion is not there.
“From the existing party register, those who recently defected to APC constitute about 10% of registered APC members in Cross River State.
“The neglect and exclusion of legacy and foundational members from the affairs of the party would portend serious danger of failure to the party as evident in the last by-elections in the state.
“100% of key positions of the party from ward to national levels are occupied by only those who defected to the party with His Excellency, the state governor.
“Where is the justice and equity In this situation, where those who built a house, made it attractive with painful labour and financial burden have been wantonly removed from same house.”.
The resolutions signed by 11 members of APC Legacy group urged the state governor, Prof. Ayade to initiate a meeting whereby dialogue can be explored to address the grievances of the group for proper positioning of the party ahead of 2023 election.
Other demands made by the group include appointments to fill existing vacancies at state Exco as well as vacancies resulting from resignation of those who intend to contest primaries and elections in the forthcoming party primaries and 2023 general election.
“Equal ratio and support should be given to Legacy and Foundational members to contest in the forthcoming elections with those who defected recently with the governor”, the resolution maintained.