From Fred Itua, Abuja
A group of concerned stakeholders from Cross River State have raised the alarm over an alleged pressure campaign on Senate President Ahmad Lawan by the state governor to scuttle the planned swearing-in of Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as the duly elected Senator for Cross River North.
The group, during a chat with reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, alleged last minute moves by Cross River Governor Ben Ayade to armtwist the Senate leadership to ignore the recent judgment in of the Supreme Court which recognised Jarigbe as the PDP candidate for last year’s senatorial by-election for Cross Rivers North on December 5.
The governor was alleged to have arrived Abuja on on Tuesday, meeting with a powerful political associate of the Senate presidential for preliminary talks on the Cross River North Senate seat.
The leader of the Cross River stakeholders’group, James Ikem, told journalists that the governor may have met with proxies of the Senate President earlier to further drum support for Senator Stephen Odey whose stay in the Senate has since been nullified by the apex court.
‘I speak on behalf of many democrats in the state; we are worried over the turn of events in the case of Cross Rivers North and we want the Senate President to act now and fast,’ Ikem told the press.
‘Stephen Odey, whose Certificate of Return has been nullified, is still being allowed to take part in plenary. It’s an act that desecrates the sanctity of the Senate chamber.
‘The fresh offensive is coming barely 48 hours after the governor was reported to have threatened to dump the PDP over his neglect.’
The group claimed the governor may have reached out to the Senate in a bid to stop the swearing-in of Senator-elect Jarigbe to take his seat in the red chamber,” he said.
According to Ikem, ‘Governor Ayade hurriedly caught a flight to Abuja yesterday, after he received a call asking him to get to Abuja immediately. His trip to Abuja is to afford him the opportunity of seeing the Senate President or, through proxies, reach out to him to stop the swearing In of Hon Jarigbe Agom as Senator for Cross River North. He got a call and was informed of the pressure on the Senate President to do the right thing. He boasted in Calabar before his departure,that he was going to Abuja to stop the swearing-in with everything available to him.
‘Governor Ayade should know that the treasury of Cross Ricer State cannot buy an institution such as the National Assembly. Sen Ahmed Lawan should avoid Ayade and his proxies. The rule of law should prevail. The Senate President should act on the legal advice by the Legal Department of the National Assembly and the recommendations of the Clerk of the National Assembly. The judgment of the Supreme Court is final. Our Institutions should not be desecrated,’ Ikem said on behalf of the state stakeholders.