Winners and losers have emerged from the National Assembly primaries conducted by political parties in Cross River state. Some aspirants even fell by the wayside before the primaries were conducted due to intrigues, imposition, disqualification, lack of internal democracy and other undemocratic tendencies that characterized the primaries of some of the leading political parties.
One of the winners is Dr Alex Egbona who got the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was massively nominated as candidate of the party for the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency seat in the National Assembly.
Reacting to his victory after the party primaries on Wednesday, Egbona said: "With this mandate, we are half way through in our effort to redesign the architecture of people-oriented legislative business in our federal constituency. We will win the general election so that our people can celebrate freedom. Thank you for trusting me with your votes."
Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo was handed the PDP ticket to vie for the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency seat in the National Assembly. Rt Hon Daniel Asuquo, popularly called Dansuki won the ticket of PDP to contest for the Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives. He is going for a third term.
Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),
Senator Ndoma Egba got the APC ticket for the Central Senatorial District.
Senator Rose Oko got the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for the Northern Senatorial District unopposed, while Jarigbe Agom also got the House of Reps PDP ticket for the Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency unopposed.
A former State Security Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade, Jude Ngaji, won the APC ticket for Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency. He will face Agom in the field.
In the APC Northern Senatorial primary, Wabili Nyam clinched the party's ticket. Nyiam will square up with Oko.
Ntufam Sandy Ojang Onor, an associate professor and former chairman of Etung Local Government who served as commissioner under Liyel Imoke, was declared winner of the PDP primary election for the Central Senatorial district. It was held on Wednesday in Ikom council hall, Ikom local government area of Cross River State. Onor, popularly called the caterpillar by his teeming supporters, will face Ndoma-Egba in the field.
The good side of Onor is his grassroots influence and high level of integrity and intelligence. On the other hand, Ndoma-Egba is equally experienced in legislative business. He is a celebrated lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He has been in the senate for 12 years and before his exit from that office, he served as Senate leader. This is one election that promises to be very tough.
Bassey Ewa who is currently representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, lost out to Onor. Ewa was
aspiring to occupy a seat in the Senate.
Onor got 542 votes to defeat four other aspirants, Mrs Blessing Egbara (2 votes), Dr. Walter Ajogbor (21 votes), Dodoye Arikpo (1 vote), and Wilfred Usani (3 votes).
Before the Central Senatorial primary of the PDP was conducted, there was disenchantment over the manner the final five aspirants emerged. Leading aspirants such as business mogul, Chris Agara and Dr. Godwin Ettah were screened out in controversial circumstances and the victims have threatened mass defections if the issue was not revisited.
The affected aspirants decried their disqualification and described the party's primaries as false and black market illegality.
According to a statement, “the Chris Agara Senate 2019 Campaign Organisation hereby rejects in its entirety the events preparatory to the false primaries for Cross River Central Senatorial District. Unfortunately these events continue to remind us of the grave price PDP paid in 2015 as a consequence of this self-same impunity, denial of the right to fair contest and conferment of black market illegality on already cleared aspirants.”
Three party leaders were further accused of “clandestinely executing the 'automatic ticket' conspiracy in total disregard to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
In the Southern Senatorial District, Senator Gershom Bassey is believed to have won the ticket of the PDP, though there are contentions as to when the primary actually held. Prince Bassey Otu
got the ticket of the APC in the southern senatorial district. If Bassey remains as the party's flagbearer, he will have to contend with Otu who is believed to be much more popular and with a stronger power base.
Essien Ayi clinched the ticket of PDP for Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives at the expense of Saviour Nyong. Ayi is going for the fourth term in the House of Representatives, having won for the first time in 2003.
There was expectation in some quarters that Nyong was going to halt Ayi's unbroken reign in the House but that was not to be.
Legor Idagbo, the incumbent member of the House of Representatives, was cleared as sole candidate of PDP for Bekwara/Obudu/Obanliku Federal Constituency.
There may be massive litigations in the days ahead following the barefaced imposition of aspirants and last minute disqualification of some aspirants by the political parties. Besides, there were widespread reports about sensitive electoral materials such as result sheets and ballot papers being hijacked and diverted after which results were cooked up and winners announced.
In some instances, there were no elections but a semblance of it. Some aspirants did not even know the venue the primaries were held, only to hear that their opponents were announced as winners.
Some aggrieved losers in the PDP said they were deceived to buy nomination forms with millions of naira only to be disqualified over flimsy reasons. Some of them have vowed to seek redress in court