THREE of the governorship aspirants in Cross Rivers State have jointly kicked against the process that produced Senator John Uwa Enoh as the party candidate.
Addressing newsmen at the party national secretariat, the trio of former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, John Upan Odey and Prof. Nyong Eyo claimed the process was manipulated as no election took place in the two senatorial zones, out of three in Cross Rivers State.
Odey who spoke with newsmen at the joint media briefing pointed fingers of scorn at the National Vice Chairman, south- south, Honourable Hillard Eta, for manipulating the process in favour of his anointed candidate, Senator Enoh.
The aspirants further alleged that Honourable Eta told stakeholders in the party on the eve of the primary that Senator Enoh was the anointed candidate of the Presidency.
He said: “Our primaries was scheduled to hold on Monday this week. Events leading to that primaries is the reason why we are here today to register a strong denouncement about what happened in the State.
“A day before the primary was to hold, the Vice Chairman, South-South of the party, Hilliard Eta came to the State and called a meeting of stakeholders. Before that, he invited the committee to his house and told them that the Presidency and indeed the leadership of the party has anointed one us and should be returned.
“We were disturbed about that and in the day of the stakeholders meeting we asked him if it was true that he was supporting one candidate. He said he had a right to choose one aspirant over others and we felt there was something fundamentally wrong with that for a leader of a party to take sides in the middle of a contest.
“Arrangement was made for all aspirants to go and inspect the materials which were done and agreement reached for the materials to be moved that night to the various Senatorial zones and local government and to be kept in the police stations in the various places.
“But shortly after, different people came and collected those materials for the various local government areas and incidentally, they were representatives of one of the aspirants, Senator John Uwa Enoh.
“Apart from the materials for Calabar area that were kept in the police station till the next day, other materials were taken to an unknown area. In northern Cross River where I was waiting to vote, the materials never got there. Northern Cross River has five Local Government with 53 wards and in all these wards, there was no single election that day.
“We complained about this and later that night, they took ballot papers to the home of one of the key supporters of Senator John Uwa Enoh in Obudu, where they kept those materials and brought people to thumbprint. What I am saying is that in five Local Government, without contradiction, no election was held.
“In Central Cross River and the South, the materials were just carted away and results fabricated. In the few wards where the semblance of an election was going on, very few numbers of ballot papers were allotted there because some of us had strength there.
“What we are saying is that the whole process was a fabrication, it was hijacked and we are saying that the right thing should be done in a party like the APC. Before now, three of us were opponents, but right now, we are standing together to fight a joint evil.
The aspirants called on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led executive to address their petition, as they warned that the primary they insisted was manipulated could undermine the fortune of the party.
“We had this same problem earlier in the year when certain people tried to hijack the state congress leading to the issue of two state executive.
“We have again found ourselves in a similar situation where one person is again trying to take over the whole party.
“The APC in Cross River State is such a big party that no one should take and put in his pocket. I am from Northern Cross River and my brothers here are from Southern Cross River, while the other person involved is from Central.
“We represent two out of three Senatorial districts and so, we can say that majority of Cross Rivers State is standing here. One person cannot hijack what is meant for all of us.
“We are here to say that the collision that has happened between the National Vice Chairman, South-South and Senator John Owan Enoh is threatening to derail the possibility of the APC doing well in the governorship and presidential election next. We are here today to register our protest.
“Outside our own group, there is also a parallel group that purports that Minister of Niger Delta is the candidate of the party.
All these confusion we are getting from Cross River State is from one Senatorial zone, the two of them laying claim to the candidacy of the party are from the same Senatorial zone. So, we want the right thing to be done so that we can have peace. We are tired of the same people bringing confusion to the party in the State.
“We are going to submit a formal petition and if the leadership refuses to listen to us, our supporters will not be encouraged to work for this party. Let me add that in a whole senatorial zone, there was no election and that is where the current Governor comes from.
“So, we are in a situation where the party is not being helped with the activities going on in the State. You become uncompetitive if a party is chased out of a whole senatorial district and this is what is happening because the members in that zone did not participate in the voting on that day.
“The guidelines say that in every ward, there should be a committee which should be swapped. But in our own case, nothing like that was done. Materials were just handed out to individuals. In other words, we are saying that the primary should be cancelled and a new date set for another exercise in the state.”