2019: One Shot As PDP Members Protest Imposition Of Candidates In Cross River
A member of the People Democratic Party (PDP) was on Monday shot as protesters numbering over a thousand stormed the party’s secretariat in Cross River State.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Nathaniel, said there was argument between some members of the party during the protest and one unidentified man brought out a locally made pistol and shot the victim.
The protest was led by aspirants and prominent members of the party, including the former state chairman of the party, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, immediate past Special Adviser to Ayade on Security Matters, Mr. Jude Ngaji and the immediate past commissioner for New Cities in Ayade’s government, Mr. George Ekpungu, among others.
Speaking to newsmen, the former Chairman of PDP, Ntufam Ekpo Okon, said “The truth of the matter was that we are very conversant with democratic values; we are conversant with the content of the constitution of our party.
“We have read the guidelines for this primary, the process of nominating party candidates and we did not jump into it, we have paid our dues, now the process has started, they brought in imposition of candidates.
“We bought our nomination forms and paid all fees that were required only for us to be called and told that the National Executive Committee of our party or National Working Committee of our party has taken a position to direct that all incumbent members of the National Assembly should be returned unopposed.
“That means if we go through the congress, we do not have any chance because they will send names that have been chosen. They pretended as if they have conducted congresses to nominate adhoc delegates, meanwhile, they did not do congress anywhere in the 196 wards of Cross River State,” he said.
He said PDP had not learnt any lesson, stressing “One would have expected that PDP would have come out of the situation wiser but if this is what PDP has chosen to do, it is not acceptable, it is not going to go down with us and we will not accept it.
“We members of the party insist that let there be level playing field, we are ready to contest and we want to contest in a level playing field. What they called congresses of Saturday was writing of names, that must be canceled and let us do a democratically conducted congress supervised by INEC.
“Let us ensure that our party members make a choice, look at APC it is doing direct primaries. If I remember, after the 2015 windfall that finished us, the Ekweremadu’s committee recommended direct primaries, we jettisoned all that.
“To day, even the indirect primaries, we can’t open our heart and do the right thing, these days, people holding offices, do not want to be assessed, you force them on the electorate not minding if there is a local understanding in terms of zoning, you don’t care about it, they must go back.
“If this was the case, why don’t you make pronouncement and stop selling forms, you sold form, collected money from us and you turn round and shortchange us, it is not acceptable,” he stated.
Reacting the PDP State Chairman, Ntufam Edim Inuk asked the protesters to present a protest letter for him to forward to the national secretariat rather than disrupting activities in the party secretariat.
“We are only the state chapter, if they are aggrieved and not satisfied, they have right to write a petition to the National Secretariat of the party.
“They can say they are not comfortable with the decision of the party. That instruction did not come from this office, it is from the National and as law abiding citizen, they have to do their protest legally.
”Because anything beyond this, we will think and suspect that it is from the opposition party; if they don’t listen to us, we will think that they are from the other party.
“All the aspirants are my people, you cannot impose candidates on them but the decision of the party is supreme, you cannot go against it and anything you can do is to protest by writing, I am a father of all.”
When DAILY POST contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Ms Irene Ugbo, she confirmed the shooting of one person, adding that policemen were deployed immediately information got to the commissioner of Police.
“Immediately the commissioner of Police got the information, he ordered the men to move to the scene, nobody was arrested but we were told one person was shot,” she added.