Tension has gripped Cross River State Chapter of PDP as Supreme Court is set to deliver ruling on the authenticity of various elective congresses for wards and local government chapters held by Governor Ben Ayade and National Assembly members factions.
The state chchapte has been factionalised into home front led by Ayade and Abuja front led by some NASS members, subsequently leading to parallel congresses that produced parallel wards and local government chapter executives.
However, the NWC through a letter signed by Col. Austin Akobundu (rted) and dated April 26, 2020, had ratified the authentic list for ward and local government executives for all the 196 wards and 18 local government councils after giving a careful consideration of the reports of the Electoral Committee and the Appeal Panel, the National Working Committee.
But trouble started again when two delegates’ lists emerged ahead of Cross River northern senatorial district primaries.
And suspecting foul play, Rt Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency and one of the senatorisl aspirants then, approached the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt division, in suit no. FHC/PH/CS/125/2020, to ask for declarations touching on the validity of which list was to be used at the primariy election.
The suit was filed in Port Harcourt because the courts where on vacation at that time, and the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court had the jurisdiction to hear matters from Cross River State during the period of the courts’ vacation.
The court granted Hon Jarigbe’s reliefs, as it found that, the lists of delegates presented by him were the ones authenticated by INEC and approved by the National Organising Secretary of PDP.
The judgment was appealed against, and the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt affirmed the decision of the lower Court.
Not satisfied, Ayade faction and state PDP leadership went to Supreme Court and the Court had fixed ruling on the matter tomorrow, January 6, 2021.
However, investigations revealed that some critical stakeholders have relocated to Abuja to be part of history just as some of them have gone into hiding for fear of the outcome of the ruling.
At the party secretariat at Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar, the office was a shadow of itself as key officers were not around just as a few staff seen there expressed worry at the outcome of the court case.
One of the security person, who spoke off record, said: “Honestly, I am afraid of tomorrow’s judgement because I dont know which faction would win and what would be the fate of the party in the state after the ruling.
“You can see this has affected us so much that the party has been neglected and no welfare even during this last Christmass season because we don’t know where to go so you wouldn’t be tagged a traitor.”
Some of the stakeholders, who don’t want their names in print, admitted that they are worried and at a loss as to which direction the judgement would flow, adding they they would rather wait for tomorrow and then later align.
A top government official, said:”I would be surprised if the ruling goes in our favour ( that is Ayade’s faction) because we had lost at both High Court and Appeal. So, it would be miraculous if we scale the final hurdle. To me it means God is really in our favour.
“But if it comes otherwise, then we should take it and move on as one family while I expect those who took the matter in the first instance to come back home and we start building the party.”
Another stakeholder, Ntufam John Egbe, 62, said the Supreme Court would finally settle all contestations in the party, but admitted that the wound would take time to heal.
Egbe, from Abi chapter of PDP, said: “Since March the issue of who are the authentic party executive Committee members at ward and local government chapter would be over by tomorrow after the Supreme Court ruling. We played ourselves into court matter and therefore should be prepared to accept the verdict and do the right thing next time.”