The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Working Committee (NWC), said it was not involved in the conduct of the party’s primary election by the Committee set up for the Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, gave the clarification at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan said that the attention of the NWC had been drawn to misleading comments by one of the aspirants in the primary, Mr Jarigbe-Agom Jarigbe, wherein he made spurious allegations against the NWC.
He said that ordinarily, the NWC should not honour such a “reckless and irresponsible allegation” with a response.
Ologbondiyan said that being a responsive leadership, Mr Uche Secondus-led NWC in the interest of the teeming members and supporters of PDP in Cross River state, had decided to put the record straight.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Cross River North Senatorial District election was duly conducted by a five-man electoral panel, with a comprehensive delegates list issued by the party.
“At the end of the exercise, a majority report by three members of the electoral panel, signed by the Chairman, Secretary and a member of the committee was sent to the NWC.
“The report indicates that three aspirants: Mr Jarigbe and two others were in attendance along with INEC officials and security agencies at the time of accreditation of delegates,’’ he said.
Ologbondiyan noted that the report also contained the accreditation of agents of the aspirants, one of whom represented Jarigbe.
“However, according to the report, during voting, Jarigbe and two other aspirants, Mr Lupkata Nicholas and Mrs Mary Eru, staged a walk-out, having been part of the exercise from the beginning.
“The majority report indicated that at the end of the exercise, which was abandoned by Jarigbe, an aspirant, Dr Stephen Odey scored 450 votes to defeat Jarigbe, who scored 90 votes.”
“On Sept. 7, the Chief Returning Officer, Mr Taleb Tebite, returned Odey as winner and also submitted to the national secretariat the delegates list used for accreditation, ballot papers, (used and unused).
“He also submitted original result sheets, Certified True Copies (CTC), of INEC report from Cross River state and the police report, as required,’’ he said.
Ologbondiyan said that on the other hand, two members of the committee submitted a minority report to the national secretariat in which they presented the name of Jarigbe as winner with 381 votes.
“It is instructive to note that the minority report submitted by the two members did not contain the original party result sheets as approved by the Party Electoral guidelines.
“It did not also contain the used and unused ballot papers as required for authentication.
“What is more, the congress purportedly conducted by the two members was done outside the authorised and approved venue for the exercise.
“Moreover, the report of the Appeal Panel indicated that there was no appeal against the report submitted by the Chief Returning Officer.
“The report was accordingly approved by the congress as conducted and the election of Odey, as candidate of our party,’’ he said.
Ologbondiyan explained that the decision of the NWC in accepting the election of Odey was, therefore, completely in compliance with the constitution and the extant guidelines made thereunder.
“The NWC was in no way involved and played no roles, directly or remotely, in the conduct of the election by the committee set up for the purpose.
“It is, thus irresponsible, thoughtless and childish of Jarigbe to point accusing fingers at the NWC for his electoral failure and self-inflicted woe.
“Such is condemnable and completely unacceptable to the national leaders and members of our great party across board.”
The NWC according to Ologbondiyan cautions Jarigbe to desist from such unwarranted attempt to bring PDP to disrepute, adding that the act was frowned at by the constitution of the PDP.(NAN)