Judex Okoro, Calabar
Trouble is brewing within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State as prominent members and aspirants for the National Assembly seats, across the 18 local government areas protested against automatic tickets being offered incumbent federal legislators.
The protesters, numbering over 200 party members and some aspirants, marched around some major streets of Calabar before heading to the PDP secretariat at Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar, the state capital.
Those who took part in the protest were the former state chairman of the party, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, immediate past special adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Security Matters, Mr. Jude Ngaji and the immediate past commissioner for New Cities in Ayade’s government, Mr. George Ekpungu.
Aaddressing protesters, the state chairman of the party, Ntufam Edim Inok Edim, said: “The state secretariat had nothing to do with decision to give automatic ticket to National Assembly members. I advise the protesters to write a petition to the national leadership of the party.”
In a statement signed by Okon, Ngaji, and 14 others, they rejected what they described as an attempt by the national leadership of the party to impose candidates on them. They argued it was such an impunity that “railroaded our party into the implosion from which she is yet to recover.”
They said it was appalling that the national leadership of the party took the decision to return all serving members of the National Assembly, to placate them, and insisted that such decision is bound to create more problems for the party in the upcoming election than a solution.
“As bona fide members of the PDP, we are competent and have a right to question the ongoing attempt by the party leadership to deny us the right to participate and be voted for, in a fair, elective contest. Rescinding its decision to grant automatic tickets to all serving members of the National Assembly” as well as “call for a proper democratically-conducted ward congress to elect ad hoc delegates.”