Plans by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Cross River State, to pick a consensus candidate out of the 22 governorship aspirants has hit the rock as 10 of the aspirants have each paid N13 million to purchase forms to contest the party’s primaries.
The aspirants, who are mostly Governor Liyel Imoke’s aides and close political associates, include Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, Mr. Legor Idagbo, Mr. Peter Oti, Professor Ben Ayade, Mr. Larry Odey, Mr. Fidel Ugbo, Mr. Emmanuel Ibeshi, Mr. Mike Ania and Mr. Gody Jedy Agba.
Among the 10 who bought the forms, Mr. Agi, SAN, who returned his completed nomination form to the party’s secretariat yesterday, said that he was sure of succeeding Imoke in spite of claims that the governor had anointed his Commissioner for Works, Mr. Idagbo, to succeed him in 2015.
He said he submitted the completed form to the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Mustapha, who personally received it from him, saying: “It will interest you to know that I am the first person in Cross River State to submit the completed form and the National Organising Secretary of the party encouraged me and he spoke well and I appreciate his interest in personally receiving my nomination form.”
Agi dismissed insinuations that he ought not to have bought the form since he was not among the five aspirants that the state caucus of the party shortlisted as having performed well during the tour by aspirants round the local government areas to present their blueprints and manifestoes to the party’s stakeholders and elders.
He said: “I bought the form because I am a lawyer and I believe in the rule of law and I know that there is no provision in the constitution of the PDP forbidding any member of the party from vying for any office he is qualified to run for.”