A seeming desperate bid by Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to pocket the structures of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state is plunging the party into a crisis.
The state congress of the party that was billed for Saturday was postponed.
Members of the National Assembly from the state on the platform of the party have threatened to defect to rival All Progressive Congress (APC) if Ayade presses on with his seeming ambitious plot to control the recruitment process of the party for 2023.
There is a worrisome cold war between Ayade and his predecessor, Liyel Imoke as well as some founding members of PDP over who produces the next state chairman of the party.
Ayade and some of his loyalists are busy lobbying the national secretariat for their preferred candidates in the pending state party congress.
Ayade wants to take charge of the party structures from ward to state levels, thereby pitching him against those that brought him to Government House in 2015.
The governor who wants to return to the senate in 2023, wants the state’s Director General of Due Process, Alphonsus Eba, for the PDP state chairmanship. But, the federal legislators from the state are behind the former PDP National Publicity Secretary and two-time commissioner, Venatius Ikem, for the slot.
While Eba has been Ayade’s aide and a dependable ally right from when he was a senator till date, Imoke is piqued that the governor has discreetly dismantled not only the PDP family, but the party structures put in place by successive leaders.
This development has made the party that was once impregnable in the state, a laughing stock and susceptible to defeat by opposition, APC, as witnessed in the by-election for Abi/Yakurr House of Representatives election.
Allowing the governor to install his crony, Eba, as a party chairman, will spell doom for them as the governor has consistently reneged on all agreements and all entreaties as was the case in the just-concluded meeting ward and local government congresses.
Disturbingly, a consultative meeting between the governor and the federal lawmakers in Calabar does not seem to have produced any truce among the contending factions.
Former Governor Imoke is calling on all party members to unite and work as one family rather than engaging in infighting.
In a statement signed by him, he notes that there has been seeming dispute and differences in the last few months following the last election and in the build-up to the party congress.
According to him, it has been the tradition of the party to manage and resolve disputes, believing strongly that this one is no different from all the others.