By Jonathan Ugbal
There is an ongoing drama in the Cross River State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the party announced a 24 hours window for the sale of intents form for the forthcoming local government elections.
A document signed by the state chairman and publicity secretary, Amaga Odo and circulated on social media on Thursday directed interested aspirants to purchase intent forms on Friday (today), fill and submit by Saturday (tomorrow).
But, the sales stopped halfway on Friday with sources saying over 70 people had paid for councillorship intent forms which costs N100,000 (USD278).
“I travelled from the northern part of the state down here and I was told they have stopped selling intent forms after almost 50 councillorship aspirants from the south and central bought it,” an aspirant from Ogoja told CrossRiverWatch.
As at 6:00pm local time (5:00PM GMT) over 30 aspirants were still at the state secretariat of the party located just after the National Industrial Court in Calabar.
Another aspirant from Obudu (names withheld) said that they are confused as some who were on their way to Calabar have turned back with the party leadership in the local government telling them to pause as the Governor is said to have complained about the cost of the intent forms.
“Councillorship is N100,000 and Chairmanship is about N600,000 (USD1,667) and I am hearing that the Governor was complaining about the price but I am ready to pay if they say so,” the aspirant said.
But, the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) is yet to announce a new date for the elections after announcing a postponement due to the Continuous Voters Registration exercise of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) earlier in the year.
However, the PDP’s document which carried a tight timetable put October 27 and 28 as dates for the return of intent forms.
October 30 and 31 are for appeals, while the screened applicants will be published on October 31.
November 1 and 2 was slated for sale of nomination forms while congress for ad-hoc delegates and councillorship primaries is scheduled for November 3 with appeal slated for November 4.
Chairmanship primaries was slated for November 6, with appeals slated for November 7 and re-run elections to hold on November 9.
However, a statement signed by the publicity secretary and distributed later on Friday said the earlier document was only a draft submitted to the party leadership in the state.
The statement informed members that “Information making rounds of the Local Government elections is incorrect as the time-table displayed was a proposal to the leadership of the party which is yet to be approved.”
It also urge members to discontinue campaigns and gatherings as “CROSIEC, charged with conducting Local Government Elections has not come up with time-table to that effect.”