PDP chieftain gives reasons Gov. Ayade wants LG polls conducted after five years
BY: Our Admin
Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and currently a candidate to the position of the State Chairman of the party in Cross River State, Venatius Ikem has given reasons he believes made the State Governor Prof. Ben Ayade to give the nod for elections to be conducted into positions of Chairmen and Councillors in the 18 local government councils in the state.
The elections were due since December 2016 and efforts to conduct the elections has suffered several postponements and suspension, the last suspension being on March 28th but the State Independent electoral Commission came out with a new notice of election on the 22nd of May and fixed the election for May 30th.
The notice announcing the election date, though dated May 22, was actually made public of May 25th living only 4 days for political parties and their candidates to campaign before the election on 30th May. Leading opposition party in the state, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has declared their unwillingness to participate in the polls.
The APC state chairman, Sir John Ochalla clearly stated that “the APC Cross River State will not be part of the charade on Saturday.” He noted that “the processes leading to the conduct of the election have been fraught with gross irregularities and deliberate subversion of basic constitutional requirements guiding conduct of an election.”
Adding; “Giving a two to three days’ notice for the conduct of an election of this magnitude is not only ridiculous but very irresponsible.”
A PDP Chieftain, Venatius Ikem also faulted the manner in which the local government elections is being suddenly fixed by the same governor who he alleged as being responsible for the delay in conducting the election in the past five years.
Venatius asked rhetorically, “Why is Ayade finally organizing local government Elections after so much manipulation for 5 years? He needs to legitimize the Grand larceny.”
He alleged that in recent times, the governor had succeeded to get the State House of Assembly to pass a resolution which the governor used in circumventing the NFIC rules to withdraw billions of naira from local government funds which in deed is illegal and unlawful.
According to him the only body so empower to give approval to the governor to make withdrawals from local government funds is the legislature at the local government level.
He alleged, “I am aware that Ayade will take note and ensure that the first assignment of the "elected Councils" will be to ratify his illegality.”
“The second and more immediate is the Senatorial bye elections in Cross River North senatorial district.”
He explained, “Smarting from a deficit of delegates count after the concluded Congresses, Ayade desperately needs additional delegates which only the newly elected councils can provide. He hopes that an additional 64 delegates from the chairmen vice Chairmen and 54 councillors in the north will make up for his defeat in the congresses. As advised by his friends in the National Working Committee, to use his office as Governor and find creative ways to make up the shortfall because cancellation of the results of the Congresses has been foreclosed. That in addition to councillors, he can buy over the new party executives, who are delegates with Appointment to the Councils. The implementation of which has seen a sudden rush, with 4 days’ notice to conduct Local Government Elections and the collation of names of the new Party executives for onward transmission to Calabar for soon to be made appointments into the local Governments”.
The third reason he noted is “the legal imbroglio: The acting Chief Judge is expected to vacate office in the first week of June having spent a most uneventful tenure indeed, no thanks to COVID-19! The spectre of Justice Ekpeme taking over as substantive Chief judge gives him cause to lose even more sleep and for no reason that anyone can understand except himself. How this present acting CJ will resolve all issues relating to the conduct of the elections before his departure is only in his imagination.”
Adding, “With the absurdities that are coming with the hastily organized elections will come several legal issues in addition to those already mounting. The need to quicken the process before the eventual departure of his selected acting Chief Judge became a matter of urgent state importance.”
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Asu Okang in reaction asked for an hour to read through the statement from the PDP chieftain before giving informed response. Two hours after was did not respond to calls nor SMS sent to his phone.