A faction of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State has rejected the recent Supreme Court judgment on ward and chapter executives in the state. Some members of the National Assembly and party stakeholders had been at loggerheads with the state governor and PDP caretaker executives over the authentic list of ward and chapter executives, which the Supreme Court decided in favour of the National Assembly members and other stakeholders.
Irked by this judgment, some PDP members drawn from Akamkpa Ward in Odukpani Local Government Area and the state’s Local Government Chairmen’s Forum said they stand by list from the governor’s team, saying that the National Assembly members should be called to order and stop causing division among party members.
A party stalwart, Mr. Victor Ekpo, gave the warning yesterday at Akpap- Okoyong Ward headquarters of Akamkpa in Odukpani council when some members in the list that won at the Supreme Court came to denounce their membership and pledged loyalty to the governor, Senator Ben Ayade. Ekpo, who is also the Managing Director of the state’s Water Board Limited, said some members of the National Assembly have been causing rift in Akamkpa Ward with their so-called authentic list, which recently won them judgment at the Supreme Court.
He said the only list recognised by Akamkpa Ward is the list from the state governor, noting that the Ayi Etim Effiom-led exco remains the only exco of Akamkpa Ward and asked the national chairman of PDP and the National Working Committee (NWC) to take note. He further stated that the governor’s list is the only solution for peace to remain in Akamkpa Ward.
He said; “We heard that some persons went to Abuja to truncate what we did as a ward, trying to cause serious problems and crises in Akamkpa Ward and we are standing here as the people of Akamkpa Ward to say to them: You may have judgment from the Supreme Court, you may have from appeal court, but you will remain there with your court judgment. What we are saying as the people of Akamkpa Ward is that Ayi Etim Effiom’s executive remains and will forever remain the executive of Akamkpa Ward. If they have a list, their list and their executive should be in Abuja, not here in Akamkpa Ward.
“I am speaking as a party stalwart, a man who fought and conquered this ward for PDP. I want to draw the attention of the national chairman and the NWC of the PDP to this fact. If you want PDP to exist in Akamkpa Ward, Effiom is the solution, no other name.”
Ekpo further noted, “the National Assembly members that emerged, who could not pay delegates for their second term, should not come and cause chaos in Akamkpa Ward. We remain one united, strong PDP. I want to also sound a warning: this National Assembly people, please, you have tried to divide us, we don’t want them again.”
While addressing the repentant members from the authentic list, Ekpo said; “We are here from our busy schedules to welcome those of you that your names were wrongly included in this list.
“Some of you are here to tender your apologies that you were mentioned as ward chairman, woman leader on this so-called authentic list. We want to welcome you back to the party once again and we want to forgive you and assure you that nobody will sit in the United Kingdom, in Abuja and form ward executives for you.
“You are all leaders in your various polling units. You sat down here, you brought names to us and these names become super authentic and nobody will gather anywhere to do authentic list. You don’t have anything called authentic, so we hereby abolish anything called authentic list from the National Assembly and we are here to say that it is only Senator Ben Ayade’s list that stands.”
In the same vein, a Special Adviser on Public Affairs to Ayade, Eyo Ita, tasked the people not to allow any division amongst them.
According to Ita; “The idea is for one family to work together for the success of this party, for the success of Akamkpa Ward and to work together for the success of our digital governor. We have never fought before, probably we have disagreed, but as God will have it, we are here as brothers and sisters of this ward.
“We want you to have confidence in yourself, the governor, Senator Ben Ayade and have confidence in the party called PDP. Forget about those noise you are hearing; they are mere distractions. PDP is a family.”
Similarly, the Local Government Chairmen’s Forum in the state called on the party’s NWC to discipline erring members of the National Assembly for taking the party to court over the issue of ward and chapter executives.
Speaking on behalf of the forum, secretary of the group and Executive Chairman of Ogoja Local Government Area, Hon. Emmanuel Ishabor, said that it was the same boat that took some of the National Assembly members to where they are today politically, which they are now trying to sink, saying it was not acceptable.
WHILE reacting, however, a youth leader in Odukpani, Ededet Nya said, “it is not for them to claim that they have pulled out of the ward and Chapter executives as approved by the NWC of the PDP and confirmed by the Supreme Court judgment.
“The NWC, in the list signed by the National Organising Secretary of PDP Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd), clearly showed that the April 26 list is the authentic list while that of April 27 by the state government is fake. The people of Akamkpa Ward in Odukpani claiming to be relying on the governor’s should not waste their time crying over spilled milk. They should join forces with the party and move on. The Supreme Court judgment is final.”
A chieftain of PDP, who pleaded anonymity, also described the so-called pull out from the list as confirmed by the Supreme Court, as a long-concluded matter, adding, “it is total garbage for them to make such claims. What is on ground now is the law and not sentiment. People should come together for the growth of the party rather than engaging in divisive act.”
The genesis of the matter is the ward and chapter primaries that PDP NWC recognised and authenticated as the genuine list that the party should use for all its primaries. For months, controversy had trailed the ward and chapter executives fully endorsed by the party’s NWC through a letter dated April 26 and signed by its National Organising Secretary, saying any other list like the one dated April 27 is fake.
The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, presided over by Justice I. M. Sani, went ahead to affirm the list and barred the NWC from altering the March 7 and 21, 2020 Ward and Chapter executives’ lists for the PDP Cross River North Senatorial September 5 primary. The same list was approved by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The appeal court judgment had awarded the Cross River North Senatorial by-election to Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and certificate of return given to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while that of Dr. Stephen Odey was withdrawn based on the April 26 list.
However, the matter is now at the Supreme Court to determine the judgment of the Appeal Court that declared Jarigbe winner based on the April 26 list as approved by the party’s NWC and confirmed by the High Court in Port Harcourt and the Supreme Court.
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