Judex Okoro, Calabar
The ruling PDP and APC aspirants have discreetly rolled off campaigns following INEC’s declaration of Cross River Northern senatorial seat vacant.
Following the death of Senator Rose Oko, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye, had on May 21, 2020 announced plans to conduct a nine-day by-election across seven states of the federation including Cross River Northern senatorial zone.
Sources close to both parties’ secretariat revealed that since the announcement the leadership has been holding series of discreet meetings to fine tune strategies on how to capture the coveted seat.
The parties are said to be sacred stiff that the plethora of aspirants and their credentials are giving them concern as primaries may further divide them and affect their chances at the poll.
The sources further revealed that aspirants have been transversing the nooks and crannies of the district lobbying for support ahead of the primaries.
The stakeholders also are not left out as they have been having nocturnal meetings to push for their preferred candidate.
Checks from the parties’ secretariat showed that over fifteen aspirants have indicated interest for the by-election and each of them mobilising its support groups in readiness for primary election.
Some of the contenders include Prof Zana Akpagu, the incumbent Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar, Mr Wabily Nyiam, former senatorial aspirant, Mr Fidelis Egoro and Jude Ngaji all of APC, Mrs Martina Odom, Stephen Odey, Joe Agi, Dr Julius Okputu and Ogana Lukpata all of PDP.
Speaking, a senior citizen from the zone, Mr Emmanuel Ogar, said this will be an opportunity for both parties to once again test its electoral strength.
Ogar, which hails from Obudu, and claims he is no more into active politics, said if the PDP does nor get it right on the issue of the local government elelction and the pending state chairmanship ir would be a minus for them and may affect their electoral chances just as the same if APC fails to out its act together on the ir leadership tussle.
According to him, but parties have a chance of clinching the seat if politocs is played according to the rules of the game.
He said:” This would be the most interesting election after 2019 general election considering the calibre of aspirants so far. However, it is good for the zone as that would make the parties filed quality candidates.
“The best option for parties is to do the right thing and allow party members to select who they want through primaries. Any attempt to hijack or manipulate the process would spell doom for the party. I urge them to be transparent and respect the rules of party politicking,” he stated.