Dr. Julius Okputu, a House of Representatives aspirant for the February 26, 2022 legislative by-election for the Ogoja/Yala federal constituency has rejected reports of a consensus candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The by-elections which include one for Akpabuyo State constituency are necessitated by vacancies arising from the swearing in of the former Representative, Jarigbe Agom as a Senator in September 2021 and in the case of Akpabuyo, the death of the State lawmaker, Elizabeth Ironbar in October 2021.
A news report shared to journalists by the publicity secretary-elect of the APC in Cross River, Erasmus Ekpang suggested that the former State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji was selected as a consensus candidate.
“APC leadership in Cross River State insist on consensus method for nomination of its flag bearer as stakeholders adopts Chief Jude Ogbeche Ngaji from Yala one State Constituency,” the report read, adding that: “The state chairman-elect Alphonsus Ogar Eba Esq while declaring the position of the party in a meeting at his Abuja residence that lasted over 5 hours, disclosed that several stakeholders were consulted before arriving at the decision.”
Mr. Bassey Ekpo was also said to be affirmed as the consensus candidate for the Akpabuyo State constituency. According to that story, Mr. Okputu excused himself midway while another aspirant, Henry Onwe accepted the decision having stayed until the end.
But, Okputu told CrossRiverWatch that he left the meeting as soon as it started because he sensed some “deception.”
He wondered why the party will want to talk consensus after he had consulted widely.
“Nobody is looking at that moral arc, it is terrible. I consulted across every nook and cranny,” Okputu said disclosing that his resume shocked the screening panel.
“As soon as I stepped into the screening and they saw my resume they asked me if I want to go for this, I should take a bow and go,” he said.
The meeting happened after the screening exercise which Mr. Okputu insisted that he left early. “If you check, you won’t see me in the pictures.”
When asked if he will participate on Tuesday’s primaries, he said, “yes, I will be there.”
However, according to the story, three members of the House of Representatives in Cross River – Legor Idagbo (Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwarra federal constituency), Mike Etaba (Obubra/Etung federal constituency) and Alex Egbonna (Yakurr/Abi federal constituency) were asked to reach out to Mr. Okputu to seek the best way of cushioning and consolation.
APC ZERO IN ON JUDE NGAJI FOR OGOJA/YALA FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY
…reiterate earlier position on Bassey…
Others present at the meeting aside Onwe and Ngaji were the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Martins Orim; Senior Special Adviser on Political Affairs to the Governor, Peter Ojie and former lawmaker, Tom Agi.
A party stalwart who spoke to CrossRiverWatch on condition of anonymity said asides democratic tenets, Okputu may be unhappy because the initial conversation was that the Governor, Ben Ayade had said he has no favorite.
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