By Jonathan Ugbal
A gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River, Mr. John Upan Odey has said tuay there was no gubernatorial primaries conducted in the state.
Odey in a statement signed by the spokesman of his campaign team, Mr. Inyali Peter issued Wednesday in Calabar, accused a factional candidate of the party, Senator John Owan-Enoh of bribing ward and chapter leaders of the party with the sum of NGN100,000 to agree that there was a primary election conducted in the state.
Describing the exercise that threw up Mr. Owan-Enoh as a “mirage,” said that after a review of the processes leading up to the primaries which saw materials hijacked in fifteen local government areas out of the eighteen that make up the state, he has completely rejected the results and dissociate himself it.
Odey who said results were filled in people’s houses and hotels, also alleged that the party’s leadership in the state and the south south zone were all part of the plot. He, however urged his supporters to remain calm as the next line of action is being prepared.
The statement read: “We want to draw the attention of the national leadership of the All Progressive Congress, APC and all relevant organs of the party to the mirage that transpired in Cross River on Sunday and Monday in the name of primary election to elect a governorship candidate that will fly the party’s flag in 2019.
“Cross River was listed as one of the states that APC will hold governorship primaries on Sunday, September 30th. But while materials were released and all necessary arrangements made in other States, materials were not seen in Cross River till about 4:30pm. By this time, some states had already concluded their primaries and results were in the Media.
“Before we even got to know members of the primary committee sent to Cross River were in Calabar, the state capital with the materials, everything about their coming was shrouded in secrecy as planned by the compromised National Vice Chairman, South South, Ntufam Hilliard Eta in connivance with the state executive members.
“The state Chairman, Dr. Mathew Achigbe only announced the arrival of the committee with the materials after three other aspirants, High Chief Edem Duke, Prof. Etim Nyong and John Upan Odey (represented) had briefed the press over suspicion that another aspirant, Senator John Owan Enoh would use Eta and Achigbe to hijack the materials. It was after the briefing that John Upan Odey received text message at about 3:57PM inviting me for a stakeholder meeting by 4:pm.
“Hurriedly, we attended the meeting and we agreed that materials should be handed over to the Police for custody as it was already too late to continue with exercise. However, to our greatest surprise, people started filling results sheets that Sunday night. They released materials to a few wards in the central and southern senatorial districts on Monday but the materials for the entire northern senatorial district where I come from were hijacked by Owan-Enoh.
“Out of the 18 local government areas in Cross River State, materials for more than 15 were hijacked and results filled in hotels and people’s houses. Some places, Owan-Enoh is paying ward and chapter leaders N100,000 to support the tissues of lies that Congress held in the state.
“We are surprised that those who claimed they have all the money and were on ground could be scared of going to the field to test their popularity and acceptability amongst party faithfuls. If they don’t have confidence in winning a free and fair internal contest, is it the general election that they would win an incumbent?
“We want to state emphatically that there was no governorship primary in Cross River State. What happened was unfortunate, illegal and impunity of the highest level to say the least. The whole process was mar with irregularities, hijacking of materials and massive rigging. The results flying around are product of illegality and would not stand.
“It is a big shame that APC which has anti corruption as it focal points has been reduced to a commercial tool where suspected looters come to launder their loots in Cross River State. Most of the APC leaders have already comprised because of the bribes they have collected from Owan-Enoh to rig the election for him.
“After due review of the whole process, John Upan Odey completely rejects the results and disassociate himself from whatever thing that happened that day. For fairness and equity, we urge the national leadership of the party to cancel the primaries and order a fresh one where people of integrity will be sent to conduct. Failure to do this, we will have no option than to challenge this illegality in court.
“We urge all our supporters to remain calm and law abiding as we prepare for our next line of action.”
Mr. Owan-Enoh had emerged as winner of the primaries held on Monday while another primaries held on Sunday had produced Niger Delta Affairs minister, Usani Usani as winner.
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