By Efa Sunday
Some aggrieved members of the Cross River State Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have faulted the outcome of the 25th and 26th of April, 2019 election that produced Comrade Ben Ukpepi as its Chairman.
Summarizing the hiccups into 7-point addressed to the National President and dated 29th of April, 2019, made available to our newsroom by Comrade Eyo Nsa the members call for a dissolution of the entire process, demanding a fresh election be conducted fairly.
Part of concerns raised was the venue of the election, ‘College of Health Technology, Calabar’, which is alleged to be the workplace of Ukpepi.
The letter reads in part; “It was at the Pre-Conference Meeting of 24th April, 2019 at 5pm that Comrade John Ushie, Chairman Cross River State Council of NLC announced that the Congress/elections will be held at the College of Health Technology Calabar. We the undersigned protested because College of Health Technology is the Work place of Comrade Ben Ukpepi.
“The use of this venue will tilt the election in Comrade Ben Ukpepi favour. We urge Comrade John Ushie to fix election at a neutral venue that will afford a level playing field to every candidate. However Comrade John Ushie insisted that the election must be held at our opponents’ home.”
Faulting also the time the election was conducted, they said; “…the worse part of the whole is that the election was held nocturnal between 8pm of Thursday 25th April, 2019 contrary to the 9am directed by the National thereby depleting voters turn out and created un-conducive atmosphere for electoral malpractice.
“Comrade Anthony Benjamin was the Presiding Officer. The election was held at the College of Health Technology between 8pm of Thursday the 25th April, 2019 and 3am of Friday the 26th of April, 2019. The electricity supply was epileptic that at the most critical parts of the Congress, delegates were told to use their mobile phone light to cast their ballot.”
It also alleged malpractice in the number of voters and delegates present during the election, as it states the figures were not tallying.
“At the congress/election, out of 412 delegates only 398 were accredited because of the venue and time of the election as some delegates were reluctant to come out in the night. Curiously the total number of votes cast was 408. This is 10 votes in excess of the 398 total accredited votes.
“For Chairmanship election the following votes were polled:
Comrade Ben Ukpepi – 210 votes
Comrade Eyo-Nsa Itam – 198 votes
“Since each of the Chairmanship candidates has his camp, votes polled for the other elective offices followed same pattern.”
Other issues raised and contained in the letter are;
“The venue of the Congress was hidden till less than 18hours before the Congress
“Operating Unions in the State was not made known to us as required in your guideline
“Comrade Ben Ukpebi’s camp had access to and fro the venue through a secret exit even when there was an instruction that no delegate should leave the hall.
“The ballot paper was designed to cause confusion to their advantage by putting all aspirants for each office in one sheet of ballot papers.”
It is the light of the above concerns they pray the National President wade into the matter for the sake of peace and unit.
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