Supporters and officials of the Cross River State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have lamented that they operate from individual offices, since the party does not have a secretariat in Calabar, the state capital.
They warned that it is demeaning for party officials to roam with sensitive party files and documents and keep some in politicians’ offices and homes, saying such can be very dangerous for the party.
Before the defection of Governor Benedict Ayade from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APC on 20 May 2021, the party had two big Secretariats belonging to the two factions which had torn the party apart before Ayade arrived. One which appeared to be the ‘authentic’ one was on Barracks Road opposite the 13 Brigade of Nigerian Army Barracks, Calabar, while the other, equally a one-storey duplex thought to belong to a rival faction, was on Marian Road Calabar.
Later, when the national headquarters of APC successfully collapsed the two rival factions into one following the announcement of a caretaker committee headed by Senator Matthew Mbu jr, the committee refused to operate from any of the two secretariats and consequently rented another duplex on Marian Road.
Less than one month when Ayade defected with some of his aides, he confiscated the massive property on Murtala Mohammed highway Calabar used by the PDP over the years and unilaterally renamed it APC state Secretariat, hoisted the APC flags and changed the colour of the building to that of APC. He also stationed an Armoured Personnel Carrier to scare away PDP intruders.
Since neither the APC nor PDP can access the property now due to court injunction, APC, therefore, has no office whereas PDP has since acquired a new property for its use.
Expressing anger, a stalwart of APC in the state, Ekpenyong Ene from Calabar South said: “This could be the irony of the century; that a party in government has no roof over its head. What nature of leadership would that translate to? Where are the party’s documents kept? Where are party transactions done? Where do the officials converge to carry out their official responsibilities? Where do they receive top party leaders like the state Governor, Deputy Governor, or National Leaders should they decide to visit the Party Secretariats? Where do they receive and direct mails or better still what is the party’s mailing address in the state?”
He said it was almost embarrassing that the party administration is run in a phantom office.
Reports alleged that the last time the Barr. Alphonsus Ogar Eba led state executive committee attempted to make use of the Murtala Mohammed office incurred the wrath of the PDP in the state who moved for the enforcement of an initial court order stopping the APC from the attempt.
Findings also indicated that it was learnt that the Marian Road Secretariat which was occupied by the Caretaker Committee has been retrieved from the party by the landlord as the party failed to renew the rent since they could not meet the initial agreement with the landlord for the year.
Ene lamented that they have a sitting governor in the party but lacking basic necessities.