Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River People’s Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants in the northern senatorial by-election have raised the alarm over plots by state executive committee to manipulate the processes.
The PDP has been embroiled in a tussle over who controls the structures of the party from ward to state levels, leading to factions and in-fighting in the last couple of months between Governor Ben Ayade and some critical stakeholders.
The aspirants, including Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency, Martina Odom, Mary Iji and Ogana Lukpata, in a letter, dated September 1 and addressed to PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, protested the skewed selection of ad hoc delegates and injections of unqualified names as statutory delegates and removal of qualified persons from the delegates’ list.
Besides, the four aspirants out of five in the race for PDP primary slated for September 5, decried the exclusion of already-ratified and legitimately inaugurated ward and chapter executives from participating in the forthcoming exercise, adding that such move is intended to give undue advantage to a favoured aspirant over and above the rest of them.
Commending the NWC for the successful conduct of and eventual ratification of the ward and chapter executive congresses, the aggrieved aspirants expressed worry at the attempt to deliberately manipulate the other remaining critical processes leading to the eventual primary election.
According to them, the purported list of ad hoc and statutory delegates, said to have been handpicked and being displayed by the state executive, is against the provisions of our party constitution.
Pointing out that the primary election and appeal panels are all constituted of nominees of the sponsor of a favoured aspirant, they said the primary election cannot be free and fair as they cannot get justice if such is allowed to stand.
On the issue of consensus candidate, they averred that they are not against it but maintained it cannot go on without bringing the aspirants into the picture, adding that all processes should be inclusive, peaceful and transparent.