By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The National Working Committee, NWC, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has absorbed the party of any wrong doing in the conduct of the party’s primary election in the Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan made the clarification at a press conference he addressed on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Ologbondiyan, at conference, categorically 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 explained that ordinarily, the NWC should, ordinarily, not have honoured such a “reckless and irresponsible allegation” with a response.
Ologbondiyan said that being a responsive leadership, Prince 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.
According, “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.
The National Publicity Secretary explained that the report also contained the accreditation of agents of the aspirants, one of whom represented Jarigbe.
His words, “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.
According to him, “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.