From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An aide to the Cross River State Governor and Director-General of Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Mr Alphonsus Eba, on Monday accused Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike of being responsible for the internal crisis that has engulfed the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The Director General, who accused the Rivers governor of stocking the flame of the crisis, described his actions as inimical to the overall unity and interest of the party.
The party in the state has been engulfed in a crisis that has led to parallel congresses, which have produced factional wards and local government chapter executives loyal to Governor Ayade on the one hand and some National Assembly members on the other hand.
The conflict further deepened with two members of the party laying claim to the Cross River North Senatorial Election held on December 5, 2020.
The two members are Senator Stephen Odey, the current occupant of the senatorial seat, and Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, who was declared by the court as the rightful candidate of the party for the senatorial seat.
To worsen the situation, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued Certificates of Return to both Senator Odey, who was declared winner of the December 5, 2020 bye-election, and Hon Jarigbe, following the judgment of the court.
Briefing reporters in Abuja on Monday, Mr Eba blamed Governor Wike for the party’s crisis in the state.
‘There is one big man once you cross the river to the other side, Rivers. I am sure we call him the Governor-General of PDP,’ Eba stated.
”He is very respected and dogged governor of the state, I am sure he has some scores to settle with the governor of the state.
”In politics, a man who wants the party to be united must see to the unity of the party because Cross River is a sovereign state like Rivers State and we expect that he should not stoke the fire in the state, because he is one man whom we respect very much in the PDP as our leader because he has fought a lot of battles for us.
”Recently, he was in Edo State to help us get that very big victory; so, he is highly respected. We call on him to sheathe his sword. This is not the time for settlement of scores in Cross River State, the aide said.
Eba equally faulted the electoral body for issueing a Certificate of Return to Hon Jarigbe.
According to him, the right of appeal had not been exhausted before the INEC rushed to issue the certificate to Jarigbe.
Eba said the electoral body ought not to have issued the certificate to Jarigbe since the issue of the jurisdiction of the court was being challenged
On the judgment of the Supreme Court, Mr Eba said that the court did not touch on the substantive issues raised by the appellants but based its decision on the preliminary objections filed by the respondents.
The judgment of the court delivered on January 6, 2021, was in respect of the appeal marked SC/CV/838/2020 filed by People’s Democratic Party and Col Austin Akobundu vs Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the said judgment, a five member panel of justices led by Justice Mary Odili unanimously dismissed the appeal for being an academic exercise.
Justice Tijani Abubakar delivered the led judgment that had the support of his brother Justices, Ejembi Eko and Mohammed Garba Samuel Oseji.
Eba clarified that the Supreme Court judgment did not touch on the issue of the delegates list used for the conduct of the December 5, 2020, bye-election, but on the party candidacy for the Cross River North senatorial seat.