Several individuals, members of political support groups loyal to Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, remain daggers drawn over a N15 million cash gift, tossed their way by the governor, in appreciation of their respective support roles during the last elections.
Investigations by www.calitown.com revealed that trouble began shortly after a widely broadcast message, over the weekend, invited the support groups to a meeting with the governor. The invitation also came with a subtle instruction that a list of support groups be drawn up.
Between 170 to 300 support groups are said to have been pencilled down initially, with the number miraculously rising to almost 800, less than 24 hours after. Lebo Lebo, the governor’s former Special Assistant on the Garment Factory, saddled with the responsibility of handing out cash payments of between N30,000 to N10,000 to verified groups, sources say, disagreed with the list of close to 800 groups, electing to honour payments to an initial 170 groups. His decision is said to have angered some support groups, who vehemently insisted that Lebo had deliberately ignored them for personal reasons and pecuniary gains.
We also gathered that at a point, to douse rising tension, instructions were issued from Government House that “all should be carried along”, instructions that appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as some support group members were instead fingered by others and driven away by soldiers, drafted in to maintain peace and order.
This situation is better captured in a terse message published online, incidentally by another former aide of the governor, Mike Abuo. He wrote, “today kangaroo groups with phoney and funny names with arranged participants are given the front role and the real workers teargassed, flogged and prevented/denied entrance.”
Angered too by teargassing and flogging, a video was discreetly shot of an exchange between soldiers and support group members and sent to www.calitown.com
We were however informed just before press time that the situation is likely to be reviewed, even though it was sounded out too that several groups and members will not be accommodated.
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