By Efa Sunday
Some aggrieved contestants of the just concluded Cross River Northern Festival (NorthFest) pageant have called for the sum of NGN500,000 to be paid to each of them as compensation.
The contestants, numbering about a dozen said they had been tricked by the secretary of the NorthFest pageant subcommittee, Mr. Noel Ugbong and described his post event press briefing as a “scam.”
They had stormed the secretariat of the Association of Cross River Online Journalists last week Wednesday claiming they had been informed by Mr. Ugbong, who addressed journalists 24 hours earlier, to join him for a press briefing.
“First of all, we all have a general group chat where he relays information, few days ago, he posted on the group that we were all meant to have a press conference regarding the NorthFest and that briefing was to hold on Wednesday 31st of October, which is today, only for us to come here today and realized that the conference was already held yesterday (Tuesday), without letting us know that there were changes made,” said the leader of the female contestants, Miss Christabel King.
The leader of the male contestants, Ayim JohnPaul claimed that those who would have emerged were sidelined by Mr. Ugbong.
Ayim who said the main pageant was inconclusive, accused Mr. Ugbong of using,”his power to sideline a lot of persons who were supposed to be involved, by giving someone the King and queen.”
On the proposed briefing, Ayim averred that: “We now had a message on our WhatsApp page informing us about a meeting slated for Wednesday, but we are greatly surprised to hear that he came and assembled with choice persons yesterday.” This, he said had made the exercise “preposterous.”
The group accused Mr. Ugbong of coercing them into voting despite pleas that the contest should be re-scheduled.
They therefore called on the state government and the organisers of the pageant to cancel the pageant or, “refund to each of of us a negotiable sum of NGN500,000 (five hundred thousand Naira), for damages suffered and time wasted between today Wednesday 31st October 2018 and 24th November, 2018, or watch us demonstrate on a protest.”
Mr. Ugbong had, in the company of the controversial king and queen, Mr. Patrick-Joseph Adie and Miss Lifu Yorkyshor Lifu said the contestants were crying foul because they lost out in a process which was determined by themselves.
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