By Efio-Ita Nyok |16 April 2015|8:00am
The Cross River chapter of Nigeria's soon-to-be governing party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the leadership of Mr. Usani Usani, its state chapter chairman is demonstrating an incontrovertible immunity to change.
Yesterday 15 April 2015 at the party Secretariat located at 10 Okoi Arikpo Estate, Marian/Barracks Road, Calabar all hell was let loose as a handful of about forty youths purported to be APC Polling Unit agents in the just concluded Gubernatorial/House of Assembly elections which was conducted on Saturday 11 April, held the Secretariat to a standstill.
The story has it that one Chief Okon Usim, the State Auditor of the said party, is said to have carted away with the sum of N430,000, an amount that was required to pay the party's polling units/ward collation agents for Bakassi L.G.A in the state.
Report has it that these irate youths were organized by one Mr. Okon Ekpo Etim, the APC House of Assembly candidate for Bakassi State constituency, to serve as the party's polling units agents. Some of them worked onshore, while some confessed to working in Wards 1, 2 & 3 which are offshore. They confessed to plying the river route in speed boats without life jackets and had not been paid neither their agent's fee nor their training fee as at press time yesterday.
In the early hours of 11 April while other candidates were given their agent's fee at the party's Secretariat to disburse to their different agents, Mr. Okon Ekpo Etim agents' fee was collected by the state auditor of the APC, Chief Okon Usim who alleged that 'the money was given for the conduct of the elections.' That is to say, before Mr. Etim could arrive the APC party Secretariat, the agent fee had been made away with by the auditor.
Negroid Haven on interviewing Mr. Usim learnt that 'the sum of N430 thousand was collected for the conduct of elections.' And that he in company with another anonymous leader of the party proceeded to Bakassi L.G.A where he allegedly paid the money to the 10 ward chairmen.
Nevertheless, upon closer scrutiny, Negroid Haven learnt that Chief Usim confessed to distributing the 0.4 million naira thus:
*N30,000 to 10 ward chairmen
*N10,000 to women leader
*N10,000 to party secretary
*N100,000 to himself
Chief Usim further asserted that he took it upon himself, despite not being the accredited leader of the party at the L.G.A level, to collect the money on behalf of the L.G.A chairman because the house of assembly candidate for Bakassi state constituency, Mr. Okon Ekpo Etim in company with another leader of the party at Bakassi had engulfed the whooping sum of N4.3million which was meant for the party at Bakassi.
This situation resulted in pandemonium yesterday as it took about 2 divisional police officers and their contingents to manage the chaos. It was about 7pm that the venue of the party Secretariat was deserted when the angry youths and the police contingents including Mr. Okon Ekpo Etim, Chief Okon Usim, etc were asked by a more superior police officer to retire to Atakpa Police station to settle the matter.
It seems the phenomenon of change that is sweeping through the length and breath of the country courtesy of the All Progressives Congress(APC) doesn't have the Cross River state chapter in its itinerary. A situation where party leaders are still unable to manage the greed that the fallen Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) is infamous for, confirms the suspicion that the narrative of change which the APC touts is going to be paradoxical, or at best a lips service.