Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
As the race for the Cross River North Senatorial seat hots up, the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state has said the party has only four aspirants.
This statement follows the official announcement by the National Assembly last week declaring the seat of late Senator Rose Oko who died in a London hospital vacant.
The party’s Vice Chairman for Northern Cross River zone, Dr. Valentine Eneji who revealed this to TNN over the telephone expressed optimism that the party will present the best candidate who had the interest of the people at heart immediately the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, releases the time for the by-election.
He described the situation of those who are going about campaigning without his consent as that of those who wanted to write WAEC without registering under a school or principal who would present them to WAEC for the exam. He said they were doing so at their own peril.
“We are very prepared with aspirants coming up. But we are going to look at the best that can win election, not just winning the election for winning sake but who becomes the flag bearer of the party that would also be a good lawmaker. So far, I am very convinced and I know of just four persons that have spoken to me as the zonal chairman of APC in the zone where they are supposed to run the election.
“They are Chief Wabily Nyiam, Mr. Odo Ochicha, Barr. Fidelis Egoro, and Prof Zana Akpagu and I called their names according to how they came. I am also aware and I’ve been told that some people are campaigning already and it is so unfortunate. The principal of a school is not the one who conducts the final WAEC and NECO exam for the students, but he does the role of registering the students for the exam and saying this one is qualified and the other one is not qualified for the exam. So if the principal does not know you, it becomes difficult for you to write the exam.
“So the other groups are still on their own for now. They are doing it at their own peril and, maybe at the appropriate time they can come and tell us that they are aspirants and the party will confirm them as aspirants”, the vice chairman explained.
On the level of preparedness, he said “I can assure you that every mechanism has been put to place and we are working assiduously together. All these while, we were waiting for the INEC to declare the seat vacant. So we are working seriously and will key in following the release of time table by the INEC”
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye, had on May 21, 2020 announced plans to conduct a nine-day by-election across seven states of the federation including Cross River Northern senatorial zone.