The opposition All Progressives Congress, APC in Cross River State have had plenty opportunities to win many election in the State but has failed because of the ever recurring mistake of fielding the wrong candidates believing that anybody will win them the election.
The first golden opportunity APC had was in 2016 during the Yakur 11 rerun election. Yakur11 is the state constituency of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Usani Uguru and former Governor, Chief Clement Ebri.
Chief Ebri and Usani are two heavyweights that winning a state constituency election shouldn’t have been a problem. Ebri is a household name in Cross River politics that’s highly respected across party lines while Usani on the other hand, a then serving Minister is a fierce Politician who many believe have mastered the tricks of winning election.
With all these credentials, the juggernauts failed to deliver the constituency to APC due largely to the choice of candidate in that election. The candidate divided opinion among loyalists of the former Minister and his former Boss, Chief Ebri. This division affected the commitment of party faithfuls who didn’t actually worked for the party or anybody at all.
There have been series of other examples where the ground was very soft as it is today for the APC to win the northern senatorial district election but because of the strange politics of “anybody APC presents will win the election”, a party that boast of many of the who is who in Cross River State have been limited to just one win.
The success of the party in the only win; ,Yakur/Abi federal constituency won by Chief Alex Egbonna should ordinarily serve as a guide going forward but some members are still trying to play the old style of thinking that even if an inanimate object is presented against anybody by the PDP, APC will win.
The crisis brewing in PDP today is also giving the APC ‘anybody’ politicians the hope that whether the right candidate is fielded or not, the party will coast home to victory.
This is not true. Only the right candidate will win APC the northern senatorial district election not anybody.
Even if the PDP continue as a divided party into the election, if APC fails to field the right candidate, they’ll not get the right results.
It will even be dangerous for any party at all not just APC to rely on the crisis brewing in PDP to decide who fly the party’s flag. PDP has mastered the act of reconciliation. In 204/2015, it was like PDP will explode in the state but few days to election, they closed rank and delivered the party 100%.
Even before the 2019 general election, many had predicted that, from the national to states, the party was going into extinction but this wasn’t the case as it returned even stronger to challenge APC for the top seat in the country.
APC especially in the state is still learning the mastery of reconciliation. This is why the party has remained divided for more than three years. No doubt, there are encouraging signs that the party is walking stoutly towards returning as one, but it has taken just too long for the leaders of the party to realise that the time for ego fight is over, now the party needs to be winning election.
Who then is a right candidate?
The right candidate for the next northern senatorial district bye-election should be someone in the mold of Chief Alex Egbonna. A proven performer, a grassroot mobilizer, someone whose impact is still fresh and still being felt by the people, someone with network, popularity and acceptability across party lines and above all, a candidate with the resources for the election.
Going by these credentials, only one aspirant in APC fits perfectly and that’s, Prof. Zana Akpagu.
Prof. Akpagu, the incumbent Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar is the only person going into the election that his name ring bell across every local government in the north, the state and beyond. He has touched more lives than any other in person in the last four and half years from the zone. His popularity and acceptability is across all divides. He is a thorough breed grassroot mobilizer and above the par performer.
What he has done in the past few years place him way ahead of everybody who has indicated interest in all the political parties not just the APC. In terms of job creation and community development, nobody has done it better than him. Many families who hitherto were struggling to put food on their tables are today feeding other families courtesy of him.
Despite the fact that the PDP is engrossed in a bitter fisticuff, the northern senatorial district is where the Governor comes from and nobody can undermine the power of the Governor. Therefore, if APC has serious interest in winning the election then it must put forth it best and see winning election to be more important than frivolities expressed by some who may not be truly interested in seeing the party win.
APC can’t afford to repeat the politics of anybody can win election and expect anything other than a resounding defeat. Nobody except Alex Egbonna would have been able to win the Abi/Yakur federal constituency for APC and as it stance today, nobody other than Prof. Akpagu may be able to win APC the Senate election.
With Egbonna success, the choice of Akpagu should be an easy and unanimous one but only time shall tell whether the party is truly interested in winning election.