By Elijah Ugani
Angry members and supporters of the ruling PDP in Cross River numbering in their thousands have flooded the streets of Obudu calling on the leadership of the party in Calabar and Abuja to make sure materials meant for the party primaries to elect the party’s flag bearer for the State House of Assembly election come 2015, are immediately made available to them to vote like other LGAs or face dire consequences.
Delegates kept vigil since yesterday morning waiting for the electoral materials but up till the time of filing this report, materials were yet to arrive Obudu while speculations are rife that the materials have been hijacked by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Jude Ngaji and Oko Inaku, the returning officer for the LGA.
The protesters marched to drop a protest letter at the residence of the LG Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ugbe and proceeded to do same at the office of the Directorate of State Security, DSS and later to the Divisional Police Headquarters in Obudu.
Some of the adhoc delegates who waited in vain to vote expressed palpable anger and promised that nothing will make progress in the LGA unless they are able get their electoral materials and exercise their right to vote like other delegates have done in other LGAs.
One of the delegates, Prince Ishado Ushie while speaking to CrossRiverWatch said: “We are supposed to have conducted an election yesterday but we didn’t see the materials. I am one of the delegates that is supposed to vote for a candidate of my choice, which is my right and somebody is sitting down there in Calabar to deny me of my franchise and that we will not take kindly. The number of persons as you can see for yourself here is more than five thousand men and women. We want our materials sent to Obudu immediately. If we don’t see the materials, we will do the alternative. PDP is not the only party in Nigeria. We will take the alternative and leave the party for them and it will be very devastating for PDP and if this trend continues, before PDP will have its way in Cross River again, it will take many years to come.”
Another delegate, Mr. Emma Ayeni who also spoke with CrossRiverWatch said: “We are here in our numbers. We have been waiting for our materials since yesterday and we couldn’t see our materials. Thank God that we have good leaders, because the way we wanted to go about it. We wanted to create a serious scene in Obudu, but because of our leaders, the leaders we have, most especially our very senior leader, Barrister Venatius Ikem who told us not to go to that level, we would have caused something that the whole country and the whole world would have heard of. As I speak with you, we have been going round Obudu demonstrating, going round, they say we should do it peacefully, but we want to promise you, I am speaking with all amount of seriousness, we want to promise you that if materials for Obudu are not seen, if they don’t give us our materials in Obudu, what will happen in this Obudu will shake the whole world. People should be allowed to exercise their franchise; they should not deprive us of exercising our franchise. Everybody has a right to chose who he wants to lead him, so no one should be disenfranchised. Our materials must get to Obudu. If the materials are not in Obudu latest by tomorrow, we will create something in Obudu.”
Asinde Emmanuel, another delegate from Urban Ward 2 told CrossRiverWatch that: “As I speak with you, we waited like other local governments who waited to collect their materials for their primaries, in Obudu, we waited till this moment as I speak with you, we have not seen our materials, we have not laid our hands on our materials. Our materials have been taken somewhere else which we don’t know. Those who think they have the power to appoint whoever they want have hijacked our materials. We want our materials, and if we cannot get our materials, Obudu should be prepared for war, and when I mean war, I mean total war! I mean total war! And those who are in possession of our materials will never know peace in this Obudu except our materials are given to us, except our materials are handed over to us, except the proper thing is done, because we are living in a democratic society. We are living in a society where the popular will of the people count. Tell the world that Obudu has been disenfranchised. Tell the world that those who are in charge of our materials are afraid of coming down to contest election. Tell the world that those who claim to be in charge are afraid of coming to their homeland to contest election. If they are on the ground like they claim, why don’t they come down and show their popularity? If they are popular, why are they running away?” He queried.
All attempts to reach the PDP State spokesman to comment on the matter were not successful as calls to his phones were not taken.
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