By Jonathan Ugbal
The Gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Cross River State, Mr. Eyo Ekpo has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are spending huge sums in a bid to win the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections at all cost.
Ekpo took to Twitter on Friday evening to make his allegation even as he wondered why the parties were been desperate.
He wrote: “The way APC and PDP are spending mind-boggling sums of money on elections, polling units particularly, I’m wondering whether they’ve actually read INEC’s Rules and Regulations and voting procedures,” adding that: “Desperation seems to be at stratospheric levels.”
The way APC and PDP are spending mind-boggling sums of money on elections, polling units particularly, I’m wondering whether they’ve actually read INEC’s Rules and Regulations and voting procedures.
Desperation seems to be at stratospheric levels.
— Eyo (@eyooekpo) February 22, 2019
Meanwhile, sources in the Gubernatorial campaign teams of the APC and PDP told CrossRiverWatch that both parties may spend a combined .5million Naira in all polling units as disbursed last week.
The PDP is said to have shared over NGN300,000 to polling units while the APC shared about NGN200,000, allegations that both parties denied.
One of the Guber campaign directors of the APC in the State who pleaded anonymity told this reporter that the APC was only spending NGN20,000 per polling booth while the PDP was spending NGN350,000.
Meanwhile, an aide to Governor Ben Ayade who is also in the campaign council denied claims they paid up to NGN350,000.
“Yes, we shared money but not NGN350,000. The money was for mobilisation, for aides to be able to mobilize people and vote,” the aide told this reporter in Calabar on Friday morning and pleaded not to be named.
And, the move by Mr. Ayade to pay salaries on the eve of the elections has been described as an attempt for vote buying which one of his spokesman said was a lie as the Governor always paid salaries “on or before the 25th of each month.”
He claimed the salaries was to “reduce voter’s apathy, by aiding their transportation to travel and vote.”
Also, the PDP Guber campaign council chairman, Mr. Efiok Cobham in a statement on Friday claimed the APC in the State had received NGN2.5 billion to prosecute the elections.
A statement signed by him claimed that: “It is now crystal clear to all that APC is fake, not on ground, desperate and afraid of defeat. APC is the opposite of what it pretends to be or how else can one describe a party that claims to be an agent of change and fighting corruption but is currently neck deep in monumental electoral thievery? APC ‘s evil mechanizations in Cross River will fail because Cross Riverians have since made up their minds to go with the PDP which represents hope.
“We appeal to INEC to assert its independence and remain steadfast in its avowed commitment to protecting the sanctity of the ballot box. They should resist every inducement and intimidation that the APC would subject it to.”
The statement further berated the APC for trying to pollute the sane political atmosphere in Cross River state by introducing monetary inducement into the electoral process.
“Cross Riverians are politically sophisticated and the level of electoral education here is excellent but the APC, aware of its utter hopelessness in the state, is working hard to pollute the system. Cross Riverians should beware of APC’s antics.
“Ignore the APC and its desperation, don’t allow them to pollute you.Go out there tomorrow and vote Atiku and all PDP candidates en mass.We must reclaim our country from these buccaneers.”
In a related development, trouble was brewing at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) area office in Obudu as at press time where the Electoral Officer who presided over the rescheduled elections last week has been changed with the new EO said to have tampered with the list of augmented ad-hoc staff.
Residents had complained that their names were removed and replaced with those who “came from Calabar in four coaster buses” sponsored by the redeployed EO. And, upon resumption of the current EO, all lists were cancelled under pretense that they were added by the lady who is said to have been redeployed following pressure by the PDP in Obudu.
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