C’River aggrieved PDP chairmanship aspirants demands refund of N6.9m
Who Were Denied Participation in the Just Concluded Local Government Elections in Cross River State Demand Refund of Money Paid for Intent Form from the State Party Chairman Ntufam Edim Inok as approved by His Excellency Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade Governor of Cross River State.
A group of aggrieved PDP aspirants in the just concluded local government elections in Cross River have demand the immediate refund of N6.9million being payment for intent form and administrative charges from PDP State Chairman, Mr Edim Inok, after they were denied screening and unjustly dropped from the contest.
The 11 Aggrieved aspirants who cut across some of the 18 Local government areas in the state, said they paid for intent form in 2017 at the cost of N600,000.00 each, and paid N30,000.00 each for Administrative charges as well but were neither issued with the form nor allowed to take part in the screening and primary process.
The said aggrieved aspirants are John Orim, John Ojeka, Bassey Effiong Bassey, Irom Bassey Okey, Okoi Okorn Obeten, Bernard Iso, Philip Etim Bassey, Amba Onen Neji, Edem Ironbar, Eyo-Nsa Eyo-ita and Asinya Ekpe Ntan.
Mr John Ojeka, who spoke on behalf of the group, accused the state PDP Chairman, Ntufam Edim Inok of making selective refund to some aspirants who also bought the intent forms.
Ojeka explained that after the purchase of the form, the election was later suspended by the state government in 2017.
According to the Aggrieved Chairmanship Aspirants, when the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission announced a new timetable for the conduct of the elections in January, they also expressed their readiness to take part in the process, having paid for forms earlier, but were denied the opportunity.
“To our greatest surprise, the party came out with an authentic list of 18 local government Chairmen candidates and they were just shut out completely without any information.
“Furthermore, the party thereby directed the 18 shortlisted names to proceed to their respective local Government areas for affirmation.
“The screening took place on February 2nd, 2020. And when they got there, they were denied screening for no reason based on the fact that their names were not shortlisted in the porputed authentic list.
“On March 23rd, 2020, we had a reconciliatory meeting with the committee set up by Governor Ben Ayade to iron out all areas of grievances,” he said.
Ojeka said the committee was headed by Rep. Eta Mbora as Chairman, who represents Calabar Municipality/Odukpani Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Mrs Uduak Akiba as Secretary, and Rep. Legor Idagbor as Member and Rep. Mike Etaba as member.
The committee came up with a communique reached at the end of the reconciliatory meeting which the Chairman Rt. Hon. Eta Mbora forwarded to His Excellency for his perusal and necessary action.
The prayers of the aggrieved aspirants as contained in the communique to His Excellency, include.
1. All Chairmanship Aspirants who paid for intent form of N600,000.00 and Administrative charge of N30,000.00 should be refunded.
2. The Aggrieved aspirants resolve that His Excellency Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade should consider them for some viable political appointments in the state based on their sacrifices, commitments and loyalty to His Excellency and the party.
3. The aggrieved aspirants requested that they should be given 30% of all appointments in their respective local Government Councils to enable them settle their supporters.
4. The aggrieved aspirants requested that the local government reconciliation committee chairman Rt. Hon. Eta Mbora should seek the indulgence of Gov. Benedict Ayade m, who is the leader of party in the state to have briefing with them on the way forward.
After waiting for months without response to the communique, the aggrieved aspirants met again and agreed to notify Gov. Ayade on certain issues in the party regarding refunds of intent form and the manner at which the state party chairman was going about the process.
Ojeka further explained that after the meeting, they conveyed the outcome to the Governor through writing in a letter dated May 14, 2020. And that the Governor minuted the said letter on the 1st of June, 2020 to the State PDP Chairman, directing him to refund their money to them but to no avail.
The aggrieved aspirants added that the local Government Election which later held on May 30th 2020, the aggrieved Chairmanship aspirants said they all went out massively with their supporters as party faithfuls & supported the party candidates to victory.
He later said that other aggrieved party members who also paid for the said forms too are currently in court challenging the selection process, but the 11 of them decided to toe the line of alternative dispute resolution by using internal mechanism to settle the matter barring in mind the supremacy of the party as party faithfuls.
The aggrieved PDP Chairmanship Aspirants in a press conference with our reporters expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that those of them who chosed the line of peaceful resolution were now been taken for granted by the Party.
They are now calling on His Excellency the Governor, Speaker CRHA, and other Stakeholders of the party to intervene by further directing the state Chairman of PDP again to refund their money accordingly after ignoring the earlier directives by His Excellency Sir. Ben Ayade.
When contacted on phone, the State Chairman of PDP, Inok, said he was not aware of the matter.
“I want to know the petitioners, tell them to come and collect the money let me see, tell them they are not serious.