By Sylvia Etta in Calabar/John Ushie in Abuja
They are indications that the National Working Committee of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in a dramatic twist this afternoon may have cancelled results of the November 1, 2014 Local Government Ad hoc Delegates Congresses in three states including Cross River State.
It will be recalled that the LG Ward congresses have sharply divided the party in Cross River State and led to the announcement of the suspension of ten members of the party over allegations of corrupting the congresses.
Some members of the party in the state also dragged the party to an Abuja High Court seeking an injunction barring the party from accepting any other result apart from the ones returned by the national electoral officers who came to state to conduct the congresses.
The party filed an objection to the suit and the court yesterday deferred ruling on the objection to an undisclosed date.
But despite the pending suit, CrossRiverWatch gathered that some members of the NWC having come under intense pressure from lobbyists and the state governor have decided to cancel the congresses and conduct fresh exercise in the state as a middle ground to abating the divisions that have resulted from the congresses in the state.
Intense lobbying by both factions of the party have continued since the crises began with numerous unverified allegations of multi million Naira bribes leveled against national officers of the party including the national chairman.
The state governor along with the state PDP Chairman and other state party exco had practically relocated to Abuja for over two weeks in a bid to continue lobbying the national officers of the party to change the delegate list they say was favorable to the Ndoma Egba/Jedy Agba faction of the party.
When CrossRiverWatch contacted some members of the PDP National Working Committee over the development, they said they are not aware of any meeting of the committee were the LG congresses in three states were canceled.
Mr. Olisah Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, while responding to CrossRiverWatch enquiries about the development in a text message said he was in a meeting and will get back to us. As at the time of filing this report, he had not gotten back.
But a member of the NWC who spoke to CrossRiverWatch from Abuja on phone on condition that he will not be named, said: “The crises arising from the congresses in three states are actually giving the national headquarters a lot of problems. It’s difficult to leave things the way they are. The party feels that the feuding parties should be given a second chance to test their popularity. So we in the national are not accused of instigating intractable crises in these states, the NWC has thought it wise to ask these states, including your state, Cross River to return to the field on Monday November 24, 2014. If you are strong and you are a winner, you will win anytime and I think the parties who have clean hands should have nothing to worry about. We are just trying to make sure we are seen to be transparent enough and fair to everyone.”
Governor Imoke who was also in Abuja today to continue the lobby was said to have jetted out immediately to the US for medical treatment after succeeding in convincing the NWC to reschedule the congresses.
But some members of the party in Cross River state say they are worried about the outcome of the rerun. They expressed concern that the decision of the NWC to cancel congresses that the government and the party in the state described as free and fair even in the face of a pending suit could be a prelude to anarchy.
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