By CrossRiverWatch Admin
Facts are gradually emerging on what are some of the reasons behind the dramatic withdrawal of support for Governor Ayade by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, in the legal tussle between the governor and Joe Agi, SAN at the Supreme Court.
The PDP took many by surprise at the Supreme Court on Tuesday when Counsel to the party, Mr. N. Ibegbulam told the panel of five judges led by Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour that is was throwing its support behind an appeal by Mr. Joe Agi, SAN against the governor.
Yala born Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi who was runner up to Governor Ayade in the December 8, 2014 PDP primaries in Cross River State, has insisted since then that Ayade falsified his age and was not qualified to stand for election while the governor has continued to deny.
Agi insists that Governor Ayade had deposed to three affidavits on oaths with three conflicting dates and wants the court to disqualify the governor and nullify his election.
Parties closed their pleadings in the appeal pending before the Supreme Court on Tuesday with the governor’s party, PDP telling the apex court that it was conceding to the appeal by Agi that Ayade violated the party’s electoral guidelines, and wants the court to apply Article 14b and Article 15 sub 2.
While addressing the court, N. Ibegbulam said, “My Lords, after due consideration, we apply to concede to this appeal and consequently apply to withdraw the 1st respondent’s brief of argument dated May 17.
“We urge your lordships to find merit in the appeal and apply Article 14(b) and 15(2) of the PDP Electoral Guidelines which disqualifies any candidate that gives false age declaration.”
Findings by CrossRiverWatch indicate that not a few big wigs in the PDP are very unhappy with governor Ayade who they accuse of planning to decamp to APC.
CrossRiverWatch spoke with several members of PDP both at the national and state level who sounded very bitter with the governor and somewhat boastful about the development at the Supreme Court.
A chieftain of PDP in Cross River state who pleaded not to be named for fear of possible consequences told this reporter that: “What our new leader is doing is not good at all I must confess. Just to even run our secretariat in Calabar has become a problem and he does not feel concerned. Paying staff salary is now a problem lingering for months. Meetings cannot hold. Stakeholders do not meet and the structure is disorganized.
“Every day its APC and Buhari. Nobody says you should not support the President but be mindful of your responsibilities to the party that brought you to power. Maybe this will make him have a rethink. If he wants to decamp to APC, he can now go.”
Another member of the party who is a federal legislator told CrossRiverWatch that “The governor has become too aloof with the party. This conspiracy seem to have caught up with him. There are quite a good number of leaders of the party who are not happy with him and they discuss it with us once in a while but there is very little we can do because he does not listen. His body language speaks clearly about where he thinks his political future lies. I just wish him well in his bid to handle the consequences of this new direction of the party.”
A former Cross River state chairman of the party who also pleaded not to be named said, he had issues with the way the governor has been treating the party since he took office.
“I cannot say that all has been well with the party since Ayade took over. There is a lot that is not going right. I am particularly miffed by the way the governor has been treating the party. He is the leader of the party but he is not giving us the leadership that is expected of him. There are minimum standards that the party had built before that the governor has failed to build on.
“The last time at the convention in Port Harcourt, there were attempts to block him by some governors who all now feel that he has one of his leg in APC but the situation was brought under control. There is a lot that is wrong. The turn of events is unfortunate, nevertheless, this is a family affair and I know we will deal with it amicably.”
A top official of the party who spoke to CrossRiverWatch in Abuja was of the opinion that the law, rather than the politics of the matter should be considered. “Well, I do not have the authority to speak on the matter. Secondly, the matter is sub judice and it is public knowledge that I am not supposed to speak on a matter that is in court. But if you ask me, I will say we should not politicize this matter. If the leadership of our party is convinced that electoral guidelines were violated by any of our members either before or after elections, the most responsible thing to do as a party is to accept it particularly when those involved are both members of our party.
“The best way to ensure a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere in the party is to ensure that issues like this among our members are resolved in the best interest of justice and that is what is informing the position of the party in the matter in question. There is nothing to politicize. There is no conspiracy against anyone. The law is there and how can you conspire against what has been presented before the court? There is evidence before the court and the court in its wisdom will deliver judgment as scheduled then the party can make an official statement.”
Several officials that were contacted in government house, Calabar were all unwilling to comment on the matter. None of them wanted to be quoted.
Most of them were however very optimistic that the governor will overcome this travails which they described as ‘conspiracy against the governor”.
The Supreme Court has fixed December 9 for judgment on the appeal.
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