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Cross River senatorial by-election: Wike fingered in crisis as Olanipekun slams INEC


Oba Darasimi

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Wole Olanipekun, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC of mischief in court cases on the just concluded by-election for Cross River North senatorial district.

This came as some members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have accused Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in the crisis that engulfed the party in their state.

INEC, who had declared Senator Stephen Odeh of the PDP winner of the December 5 senatorial by-election issued him Certificate of Return.

However, INEC based on a court judgment which purportedly declared Hon. Jarigbe Jarigbe as the lawful candidate, issued another Certificate of Return to Jarigbe.

Prior to the delivery of the judgment late December, Olanipekun had in the letter dated December 21 and addressed to the INEC boss, “Protest the way and manner INEC attended to suit CV/77/2020”, which involved one Chief John Alaga, Jarigbe and INEC.

According to him, the suit filed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was a deliberate attempt to “scheme out Odeh and the PDP by not joining them as parties in the suit”.

He explained that INEC who was a defendant in the suit acted mischievously when it failed to draw the attention of Odeh and PDP to the suit knowing fully well that Jarigbe and Odeh have filed several suits on the authentic candidate of the party, wherein judgment was in the favour of Odeh.

He specifically berated INEC for concealing from the FCT High Court other cases relating to the one before the court wherein they are a party.

Olanipekun also accused INEC of not disclosing to the FCT Court that Odeh’s nomination form was duly signed by the National Chairman and Secretary respectively of the PDP.

Olanipekun further argued that the suit was faulty abi nitio as it was filed more than 14 days after the PDP held its primary election to select its candidate for the election, adding that Jarigbe did not participate in the said primary election and as such cannot challenge its outcome.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor Wike has been accused of stoking the fire of crisis in the Cross River State chapter of the PDP.

Director-General of the Cross River Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Alphonsus Eba, said Wike is causing crisis in their domain because he has a score to settle with Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River.

“There is one big man once you cross the river to the other state, Rivers. I am sure we call him the Governor-General of PDP. He is a very respected and dogged governor of the state, I am sure he has some score to settle with the governor of (my) state.

“In politics, I think like a man who wants the party to be united, he must see to the unity of the party because Cross River is a sovereign state like Rivers state and we expect that he should not stoke the fire in the state because he is one man whom we respect very much in PDP as our leader; because he has fought a lot of battles for us.

“Recently, he was in Edo state to help us get that very big victory; so, he is highly respected. We call on him to sheathe his sword. This is not the time for settlement of scores in Cross River state.”

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