By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
The Senate Leader, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba, on Tuesday demanded for total cancellation of the just concluded Cross River Central senatorial primaries, saying the exercise was fraught with irregularities.
Ndoma-Egba had lost the last Sunday contest to Hon. John Owan Enoh, in his bid to secure the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to run in the next year general elections.
Owan Enoh, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation polled 217 votes to defeat the senate leader who scored 37 votes.
But, in a petition dated December 8, 2014, addressed to the People’s Democratic Party, National Assembly, State Electoral Appeal Panel, Ndoma-Egba, detailed how the primary was fraught with irregularities, arguing that officials flouted the provisions of the electoral laws which was supposed to guide the exercise.
According to Ndoma-Egba, “The exercise was fundamentally and fatally flawed as it fell short of the minimum integrity for an electoral process. The exercise was in complete disregard of the PDP’s guidelines for primary election in the following: the delegates list; accreditation, violent atmosphere, non-display of sensitive materials and non delegates voting.
“The list of delegates used for the primaries was not made public. This was imperative as two lists were in circulation,” he added.
On the accreditation process, Ndoma-Egba claimed that the Chairman of Etung Local Government Council, Dr. Inok Ebak, the Chairman of PDP, Etung Chapter, Barr. Chris Mbu Ogar, Colonel P. A. M Ogar and other unidentified Etung indigenes hijacked “the whole accreditation process.
“They brandished a delegate’s list which was not made public. My agent, Hon. Ernest Irek protested vehemently but was shouted down. My agent tried to impress on them that there was a list that had INEC approval but they resisted.
“My agent drew their attention to section 28 (c) of the PDP’s guidelines which explicitly states that the number of delegates accredited shall be publicly announced and entered on the appropriate form designed for that purpose before commencement of the election. This was not done. This provision of the guidelines is mandatory,” he wrote.
The Senate Leader further contended that there was unprecedented violence in the senatorial district primary, adding that, “militants had been imported from outside the state and had, indeed, killed one Friday Ajaghe in Obubra Local Government Area the day before. The whole area had become so militarised that delegates were outnumbered by gunmen.”
He claimed about 152 delegates from the district “were kept incommunicado, they were eventually bussed to the venue.
“Accreditation that was to start at 8:00am and end at 12:00 noon did not start until about 2:30pm, well beyond the stipulated time. This act alone should have rendered the whole exercise null and void.
Also, the Senate Leader faulted the announcement of Ambassador Mark Egbe as a candidate in the poll and the allocation of 20 votes to him. He was emphatic that Egbe did not even participate in the primary.
“Given these, I totally reject the outcome of the purported primaries for the district and therefore, pray this distinguished panel to cancel the primaries. I trust you to give this appeal your dispassionate
Also in a related development, the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Mike Igini, rejected the process of picking candidates by political parties in the state, and described them as “far below the standards of 2011 and this is not encouraging.”
“It must be clearly stated that delegates list for party primaries is akin to the national voters register for the purpose of party internal elections that should be available for the scrutiny of participants prior to election.
“It’s strange that list of delegates election equivalent of voters register that should ordinarily comprise of elected ad hoc and statutory delegates for the various elections, that ought to be made available to all stakeholder including INEC has been a matter of conjecture and work in process.”