By Tunde Opalana
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has refuted the allegation by Hon. Jarigbe-Agom Jarigbe that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) compromised the just concluded primary election to pick PDP’s candidate for the Cross River North Senatorial District, Daily Times gathered.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan at a press briefing in Abuja said such an allegation is reckless and irresponsible.
He said the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, ensured that the five-man electoral panel, with a comprehensive delegates list issued by the party, conducted a credible and acceptable primary election.
According to Ologbondiyan, the NWC upheld the result of the panel as recorded on the party’s authorised ballot papers and announced by the chairman of the election committee.
On behalf of the panel, the NPS said “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, indicated that three aspirants; Hon. Jarigbe and two others were in attendance along with INEC officials and security agencies at the time of the accreditation of delegates.
“The report also contained the accreditation of agents of the aspirants, one of whom represented Hon. Jarigbe.
“However, according to the report, during voting, Hon. Jarigbe and two other aspirants, namely 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 Hon. Jarigbe, an aspirant, Dr. Steve Odey scored 450 votes to defeat Hon. Jarigbe, who scored 90 votes.
“On the 7th of September, the Chief Returning Officer, Hon. Tebite, in returning Dr. Steve Odey as winner, also submitted to the national secretariat, the delegate list used for accreditation, ballot papers, (used and unused); original result sheets, CTC copies of INEC report from Cross River state as well as the police report, as required.
“On the other hand, two members of the committee submitted a minority report to the national secretariat in which they presented the name of Hon. 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 authorized 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 and accordingly approved the congress as conducted and the election of Dr. Steve Odey, as candidate of our party.
“The decision of the NWC in accepting the election of Dr. Steve Odey is therefore completely in compliance with the constitution and the extant guidelines made thereunder”.
From the foregoing, he said, “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 Hon 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, therefore, cautioned Hon. Jarigbe to desist from such an unwarranted attempt to bring our party to disrepute, which is frowned at by the constitution of the PDP.