Four out of the five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants for the Cross River North senatorial election on Saturday have protested against the irregularities in the election processes and petision the National Working Committee of the party for reconstitution of the primary election list.
The grieved aspirants; Rt. Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, Chief Mrs. Martina Odom, Dr. Mrs. Mary Eru Iji, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ogana Lukpata, spoke on Thursday while briefing news men in Calabar on their displeasure.
Rt. Hon. Barr. Ogana Lukpata who spoke on behalf of his colleagues listed some of their grievances to include the decision to exclude the already ratified and legitimately inaugurated ward and chapter executive from participating in the exercise which in their reconing was intended to give undue advantage to a favoured aspirant over and above the rest of them.
He said,“The list of the national delegates and people living with disabilities were published together on the same document with the statutory delegates on the 29th of August, 2020 several days before the scheduled date of the 3rd of September, 2020 from which the delegates ought to have emerged. They were handpicked without regard to the party constitution and the guidelines”.
“The primary election and appeal panels were all constituted of nominees of the sponsor of a favoured aspirant. Therefore, we do not in all honesty believe that we can get justice from the processes to be conducted by these panels”. He added.
He also said that the three (3) ad-hoc delegates were grossly manipulated as names were handpicked without free, fair and transparent process that they were excluded from the process.
“we are aware that discussions are currently ongoing for the emergence of a consensus candidate. While we are not opposed to consensus building, we are rather taken aback that this can be going on without some aspirants (Rt. Hon. Barr Ogana Lukpat , Chief Mrs. Martina Odom and Dr. Mrs. Mary Eru Iji)being brought to the picture in any way whatsoever. This is definitely unacceptable.’’ He posited.
The aspirant therefore urged the national working committee to reconstitute both the Primary Election and Appeal Panels, giving equal opportunity to all aspirants to make inputs or in such a way as to create a level playing ground.
One of the female aspirants Mrs. Martina Odom said that since the state was gender friendly in its representation, it would be fair for the party to give a female aspirant an opportunity to replace a woman in the National Assembly.
He also appealed to the leadership of the party to give the people of Ukelle II Constituency a chance since they have never had a slot at the National Assembly.