by crossriverwatch admin
Cross River State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is enmeshed in serious crisis following the allegations of bribe and imposition of candidates by some political leaders of the state against the State Chairman of the party Ntufam John Okon for the forthcoming local government election.
But in a swift reaction, the state party chairman, Ntufam Okon debunked the allegations, saying that it was those who felt that they had lost out in the mock primaries conducted to nominate candidates for the party in the September council polls that were embarking on cheap blackmail.
Some political leaders and elders of the PDP had accused the party chairman of collecting huge sums of money ranging from N1m to N5m from some of the serving local government chairmen with the promise that they would be re-elected for second tenure.
Specifically, Ntufam Okon was accused of collecting N1m every month from the Akamkpa local government area alongside award of contract from the chairman, Ntufam Denis Nkiri for his re-election and had been pleading with Governor Liyel Imoke to allow Nkiri to return.
The party leaders further alleged that when it was clear that the chairman was not going to have his way going by the zoning arrangement of political positions in the state, he resorted to imposing one Barrister Joseph Itotup who the accusers felt did not come from the ward that was supposed to produce the next chairman of the council.
Besides, Ntufam Okon was accused of attempting to impose a candidate for the party in some other council areas including Obubra for the September election against the wishes of the people.
But reacting to the allegations, the party chairman told crossriverwatch that he lacked the constitutional right to impose any candidate on the people, though he said that the outgoing chairman of Akamkpa apart from being one of the most humble and respectful gentleman, had by all standard performed creditably to qualify for a second tenure.
He said, “The second term issue in Cross River has been there and as the father, we have not asked anybody to go for second term. Through the constitution, he (Nkiri) has the right to go for a second term, but the party leadership had said that if you know you have the consensus, go ahead.
“Though, he (Nkiri) would have won the election but he stepped aside. The chairman of my council has no resources to be giving me N1m or any money at all,” he said.
The party chairman who also debunked the allegation that he was benefiting from contracts from the chairmen said that he as a retired career civil servant had never sought for or received any contract adding that what was said to be the problem in the party had been addressed by party caucuses and elders.
“There is no crisis; it is a matter of interest and people jostling for position. It is natural,” he stated.
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