The defection of the deputy Governorship candidate of the of the All Progressive Congress in the 2019 election, Ntufam Ekpo Okon back to the Peoples Democratic Party has been confirmed and fixed for the first week of December but the State Chairman of the APC has downplayed the proposed event saying others with huge political pedigrees are also coming to the APC in the state.
Speaking in an interview with Alphonsus Eba Esq, the Cross River State APC chairman acknowledged that he is aware of the reported resignation of Ntufam Ekpo Okon from the APC with aim to return to the PDP where he Ekpo was once the state chairman of the party.Eba said he had reached out to Ntufam Okon at the initial stage of the planned defection and he tabled his concerns and challenges. Some of those challenges were addressed and Ntufam Okon had the privileged of nominating two members of the current State executive of tplanne, Eba said.
The APC state chairman who has been going round visiting and addressing the differences within the ranks of APC stakeholders in Cross River State, disclosed that when he met with Ntufam Okon, he assured him that he will go nowhere, “but he is doing a different thing now. I wish him well”, Alphonsus said.
Adding, “The truth about the matter is 2023 is not far from now, when people move; we have election to run. Cross River State will see proper election in 2023, it is not going to be carried for PDP again. Now APC is in control and I have declared that we are going to sustain our position of the government house, so let them try and come and challenge us; that’s when we’ll know that they’re strong.”
He declared that the APC in the state remains focus. “We are not worried and we are not boarder, we remain focus”.
“ In fact by next week or there about, you will hear the real people that have also moved in, from PDP to APC and when you compare the substance of people that moved you’ll know the quality.”
“As I speak with you I’m just about visiting a political Elephant that’s about coming into the party and I will hold it to my chest until he comes in. They’re on their own calling me that they’re pleased with what we are doing. So it’s not the one that they are using money to entice them.”
“Our party tried it in Anambra State to entice people with money but it didn’t give us anything, so they are trying to do the mistake we did in Anambra. We have learned very well to allow people on their own come.”
He alleged that somebody may have made promise to Ntufam Okon.His words, “they have promised him Deputy Governor’s seat, somebody else has promised him Senate, which one does he want?”
“ They will meet us in the election. The Senate seat in the South and the deputy governor’s seat will not be what we are going to offer to the South. So we know what to do and we will do it well”. Eba maintained that he did his best to keep Ntufam Okon in the APC,
“Now that he has chosen to go, I don’t cry over spilled milk and the milk that has already expired too can only run your stomach”.
“In my characteristic manner, I feel that I should accord everybody the right to be heard, that’s why I’ve been moving round and I will continue to do what I’m doing.”
“We want to build the party, we want to unite and we are preaching peace and love in achieving all that and we are achieving all that. So, we expect that some people will move, just as people will come in to our party. I am sure that some are persuaded by their personal ambition. I also know that some are persuaded by the circumstances of the moment, including pecuniary motives.
“ I understand very well what Ekpo’s challenges were, although I did my best to see how we could have helped him but since he said that he got a better help from somewhere else; what we are doing as party executives is to make sure that every aggrieved member that have any complaint; we’ll talk to you, what we can address we try to do, the ones we cannot address we take to the leadership (the Governor is the leader of the party), what is beyond me will not be beyond him and what is beyond him will not be beyond the president.”
“We have also noticed some gaps when we came in that the party (APC) had not rewarded their supporters the way it’s supposed to be. So now you have a state chairman that has contact everywhere, we’ll do our best to call on the federal government to help us offload some people that have put so much into the party before we came, let’s have a space, the party has just started doing that now and we expect that they will do more. And I’m happy that there’s a promise to bring in about twenty persons.”
“I’m sure Ekpo was not patience enough, if not he would have been offloaded to address his expectations but wherever he is going to we wish him well”.