…Warns Jarigbe against dragging NWC into disrepute
…Court has final say – Jarigbe
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Tuesday, cleared the air on the seeming controversy elicited by last week conduct of its primary election to select a candidate to vie for the Cross River North Senatorial bye-election slated for October 31.
Consistent with media reports, the party affirmed the candidature of Dr. Steve Odey as the validly elected candidate to fly the flag of the party during the election.
This is even as the party cautioned Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, a member representing the Ogoja/Yala federal constituency and one of the aspirants at the primary election, to stop forthwith from dragging its national leadership into disrepute.
Hon. Jarigbe had accused the NWC of partisanship during the exercise, insisted that he and not Dr. Odey won the delegate election.
Addressing newsmen at the PDP national secretariat, Abuja, spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan dismissed Jarigbe’s allegation, stressing that the emergence of Odey conformed to electoral guidelines and conduct.
The text of the conference read: “The attention of the National Working Committee, NWC, of our great party has been drawn to misleading comments by one of the aspirants in the recently conducted Cross River North Senatorial District primary election, Hon. Jarigbe-Agom Jarigbe, wherein, he made spurious allegations against the NWC over his failure at the exercise.
“Ordinarily, the NWC should not honour such a reckless and irresponsible allegation with a response, but being a responsive leadership, the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, in the interest of the teeming members and supporters of our party in Cross River state, has decided to put the record straight.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Cross River North Senatorial District election was duly conducted by a five-man electoral panel, with a comprehensive delegates list issued by the party.
“At the end of the exercise, a majority report by three members of the electoral panel, signed by the Chairman, Secretary and a member of the committee, indicated that three aspirants; Hon. Jarigbe and two others were in attendance along with INEC officials and security agencies at the time of accreditation of delegates.
“The report also contained the accreditation of agents of the aspirants, one of whom represented Hon. Jarigbe.
“However, according to the report, during voting, Hon. Jarigbe and two other aspirants, namely Mr. Lupkata Nicholas and Mrs. Mary Eru staged a walk-out, having been part of the exercise from the beginning.
“The majority report indicated that at the end of the exercise, which was abandoned by Hon. Jarigbe, an aspirant, Dr. Steve Odey scored 450 votes to defeat Hon. Jarigbe, who scored 90 votes.
“On the 7th of September, the Chief Returning Officer, Hon. Taleb Tebite, in returning Dr. Steve Odey as winner, also submitted to the national secretariat, the delegate list used for accreditation, ballot papers, (used and unused); original result sheets, certified true copies of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC report from Cross River state as well as the police report, as required.
“On the other hand, two members of the committee submitted a minority report to the national secretariat in which they presented the name of Hon. Jarigbe as winner with 381 votes,” adding that “the minority report submitted by the two members did not contain the original party result sheets as approved by the party electoral guidelines. It did not also contain the used and unused ballot papers as required for authentication.”
The publicity scribe further noted that “the report of the appeal panel indicated that there was no appeal against the report submitted by the Chief Returning Officer and accordingly approved the congress as conducted and the election of Dr. Steve Odey, as candidate of our party, adding that “the decision of the NWC in accepting the election of Dr. Steve Odey is therefore completely in compliance with the constitution and the extant guidelines made thereunder.”
The NWC, therefore, cautions Hon. Jarigbe “to desist from such unwarranted attempt to bring our party to disrepute, which is frowned at by the constitution of the PDP,” it warned.
Meanwhile Hon. Jarigbe has reacted to the party’s warning, saying the court has the final say on the matter.
“We say the party is supreme, so whatever they say is in line with the “supremacy” of the party. For me, I am waiting for the courts, as we have already secured a court order and served INEC. “Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium, ” he said.
Expressing shock at the position of the party, the lawmaker added:
“I am surprised that they are choosing what to respond to. The issue of murder that I addressed was totally ignored. Human life doesn’t matter to Kola. He was more interested in the senate seat and victory for the governor. The young man that was killed was a member of PDP and I expect the party to show some concern to the family. It’s very unfortunate. What are our values??? We are in a democracy. Party administration is not regimental,” he maintained.