APC Group Accuses Gov Ayade Of Imposing PDP Member As Party’s Guber Running Mate
The All Progressives Congress, APC, risks not fielding candidate for Cross River State governorship election in 2023 following a petition to the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, accusing the state governor, Ben Ayade, of imposing a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the party’s governorship running mate.
According to the petitioner, Cross River State Council For Good Governance, CRSCGG, Ayade has imposed Peter Odey as the APC deputy governorship candidate knowing full well he is not a member of the party.
In a petition signed by the chairman of CRSCGG, James Udoh and Secretary, Emmanuel Akpan, the group described Odey as an acolyte of the state governor.
The petition was followed with a court affidavit sworn at the Federal High Court, Abuja by Ekanem Bassey Asoquo. The sworn affidavit states, “Peter Odey Agbe is a registered member of the PDP and was hitherto sponsored by the PDP to contest election in the State House of Assembly”.
The group alleged that Odey was issued a certificate of return having won the election to represent his state constituency in the current Assembly.
The member of the state assembly is one of the members that were sacked in March 2022 for defecting to the APC from the PDP. Although the case is on appeal, the defectors deposed to an affidavit that they were not members of the PDP and defected from the party without joining the APC.
But Justice Taiwo Taiwo who presided over the case at the Federal High Court in Abuja noted that the Defendants, by their own admission, confirmed that they actually dumped the political party that sponsored their election.
“Just like football, they appeared to have kicked the ball over the bar and the keeper cannot catch anything”, Justice Taiwo held, adding that PDP was the winner of the seats.
The CRSCGG said it conducted checks on the APC membership register of Odey’s ward, which showed he was still a member of the PDP as at the time of the petition.
The petitioners alleged that the name of Odey “is not found in the APC register and yet, his name was imposed on the governorship candidate, Bassey Otu as his running mate.”
The petitioners noted that, “it is a fact that even when the APC caretaker committee extended the registration exercise to all interested and intending members, Peter Odey never registered or revalidated his membership of the APC”, thus retaining his membership of the PDP.
Consequently, the petitioners asked the national chairman of the APC “whether having regards to the express provisions of section 29 (1)and section 84 of the new electoral act and article 2 , 7(iv),(iv) (viii)(ix)(xii) and (xiii), 9 and 31 of the APC constitution, the defendant can validly jettison the interest of other eligible members to contest in the selected primaries by imposing on the party for election in the forthcoming elections, as a way to compensate them for alleged membership of the PDP by ignoring members of APC by way of automatic ticket and whether by the APC constitution that Peter Ode Agbe is a member of the APC. ”
The group alleged that because of the overarching influence and power of Ayade, the APC governorship candidate, Prince Bassey Otu, is helpless in the matter.
The group noted that the development could spell doom for the party going by extant laws.
Section 176 and 186 of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that governors and deputy governors run as a joint ticket.
When contacted, the spokesman of the APC in Cross River State, Raja Erasmus, said he was bereaved and could not comment as he did not have details of the matter.