By Aplefe Ojong
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ad-hoc Ward Congresses to pick delegates that will vote at the party’s primaries that will elect the party’s flag bearers in all the elective positions from the state to the federal levels were carried out throughout the country last Saturday.
In Cross River State, CrossRiverWatch discovered that the election which did not take place in most parts of the state due to violence and late arrival of materials were later conducted on Sunday mostly in the central and northern senatorial districts.
The Sunday election also did not take place without high level of rancor, including the attempt to use fake ballot papers by some political hoodlums, ballot boxes snatching and beating of political opponents.
Attempts by each of the political groups within the party with interest for the eventual emergence of one aspirant or the other as candidate in a position of ambition, let each political lining in the state to employ all count of intrigues and political maneuvering to be able to have their followers and sympathizers as Ward Delegates for the 594 slots of the state from 198 political Wards of Cross River State.
In Obudu Local Government Area with the highest numbers of governorship aspirants from the Northern Senatorial District of the state, CrossRiverWatch gathered that in Begiading Ward, the three candidates were shared on the basis of Kutiang/Begiaba, Ohong/Kutia and Betukwel/Igwo, but that the female candidate of Betukwel/Igwo remained unresolved as we are told that the Commissioner representing Cross River State in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Hon. Paul Adah is said to have insisted that it is either his candidate or nobody, and that all efforts by the DPO of Obudu to mediate proved abortive. It could not be confirmed as at press time whether the logjam had been resolved.
In the Utugwang part of Obudu, sources informed CrossRiverWatch that based on selfishness and the desire to reduce his perceived enemy to a position of political irrelevance, one political leader in the area attempted to change the names of two out of the three candidates, for not belonging to his camp, without realizing the fact that the two candidates were actually the candidates of the man he claimed to be working for, thereby putting him on collision course with the principal.
At the Central Senatorial District, we gathered that some political thugs/hoodlums brought in from Abuja by a sitting lawmaker were arrested with two AK47 rifles, a pump action and a locally made pistol.
Ballot papers were said to have been snatched at Obubra, while at Itigidi the headquarter of Abi Local Government Area, home town of Governor Imoke, the immediate past Chief of Staff, Dr Alex Egbonna was allegedly shot at by those opposed to his House of Representatives ambition and his stance on who become the next governor of Cross River State, but that the bullet missed him and injured a nearby person.
Competent sources also informed CrossRiverWatch that it was not an easy day for the “third wise man” of Cross River who of recent decided to abandoned his gubernatorial ambition for senatorial position which before now was seen as divinely mandated.
As we gathered, he was seriously manhandled by some youths and political thugs who used the occasion as an opportunity to pay back the man they referred to as selfish and self-centered in his own coins, just as the state Chairman of PDP was allegedly driven away from the party’s Secretariat by unknown political hoodlums.
Though the state PDP Chairman, Ntufam John Okon is said to have told some newsmen (not CrossRiverWatch) that the ward delegates election went smoothly and peaceful as planned, it was actually a smokescreen to mask the unfulfilled ambition and desire which the ward delegates election brought to the leadership of the party in the state.
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