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Protesters reject Cross River PDP guber primaries

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Cross River State governor Professor Ben Ayade

Protesters demanding the outright cancellation of Cross Rivers governorship primary have stormed the headquarters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abuja, insisting that the right things must be done.

The protesters said the primary election, which had Governor Ben Ayade as the sole candidate, should have, on the grounds that the second candidate, who was cleared and issued a certificate of clearance for the primary, Hon. Emmanuel Ibeshi, but intriguingly excluded from the exercise 24 hours to the election, been allowed to contest.

This is just as a crisis has hit the Lagos State chapter of PDP over Lagos Central Senatorial seat for the 2019 election, in which four aspirants are jostling for the ticket, including Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, who is also the General Secretary, Lagos Elders Council, Mr. Kolawole Vaughan and two others.

The agitations started over an unpopular aspirant whose name was illegally and fraudulently submitted to the PDP national secretariat in Abuja.

In a letter addressed by PDP Lagos Central to the National Chairman Abuja, and Lagos State Chairman of PDP, Ikeja, signed by all the LGA chairmen of the Senatorial District, and dated October 8, 2018, Chief Onitiri’s name was forwarded as the consensus candidate for the seat.

Part of the letter read: “We the undersigned leaders in Lagos Central Senatorial District wish to inform you that we have unanimously selected Chief Adesunbo David Onitiri as the consensus candidate for the Lagos Central Senatorial.

“After proper review of the shoddy election process which was poorly organised and failed two attempts at the primary, the leaders in Lagos Central took this decision in view of our readiness to present our candidate for the general election in 2019.

“We have reviewed the credentials of the four aspirants as regards their integrity.

We have come to the conclusion that Chief Adesunbo David Onitiri is the most qualified, most credible and most competent. Grateful for your kind consideration and positive action on our request.”

Similarly, protesters from Cross River State bore several placards with inscriptions such as “Who sold PDP mandate to Ayade should step aside,” “Let the people choose their leader through transparent primaries,”

“Don’t impose Ayade on Cross River State,” and “Give us Ibeshi or lose Cross River State,” among others.

The protesters under the aegis of Cross River State PDP Support Group, in a protest letter addressed to PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, condemned the exclusion of Ibeshi from the primaries.

In the letter signed by the group’s Coordinator, Comrade Ken Bassey, Publicity Secretary, Efiom Atoe and Secretary, Cletus Agbor respectively, called on PDP National Working Committee to order a fresh primary election immediately to correct the “anomaly.”

They described the exclusion of Ibeshi from the primaries as an “unfortunate development that has caused a lot of anxiety and disappointment among party members, supporters and electorate in the state, who view the action as a return to the culture of impunity and imposition and undemocratic tendencies.”

While urging the party to do the right thing, the protesters declared: “This is capable of causing the party to lose a state it has held for 20 years of our current democracy. Whatever the consideration, is it worth losing Cross River State?

“We are calling on the NWC to urgently correct this anomaly by cancelling the recently conducted gubernatorial primaries in Cross River State and ordering a fresh and inclusive primaries as was the case in the just concluded PDP presidential primaries in Port Harcourt.”


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