Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), in Cross River State wants the National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the rejection of Governor Ben Ayade at the Supreme Court by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a pre-election matter brought before the court by a governorship aspirant of the party,Mr.Joe Agi (SAN).
When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday,September 27,this year, the PDP through its counsel, Mr. N. Ibegbulam, denied Ayade and aligned themselves with the submission and prayers of Agi,who is praying the court to declare that Ayade was not qualified to be fielded as candidate of the PDP.
Agi is also praying the court to declare him the rightful candidate of the party who was duly returned at the 2015 governorship election.
Agi who came second to Ayade during the PDP governorship primaries is alleging that Ayade committed perjury by supplying conflicting information about the date of his birth to the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and was therefore not qualified to be enlisted as candidate of the party.
After listening to the arguments of the counsels in the matter including Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who defended Ayade, the Seven-member panel of Supreme Court justices led by Justice Bode-Rhodes Vivour, reserved judgement for December 9,2016.
Reacting to the development the IPAC in the state called on the NJC to probe the rejection of Ayade by the PDP counsel at the supreme court, saying the development was strange.
The call by IPAC was contained in a press statement it issued in Calabar at the weekend.
The statement signed by Paddy Ally and Hon. Baron Eyo, state secretary and chairman of IPAC,respectively read in part: “That IPAC frowns at the drama at the Supreme Court where a Political Party denies it’s member.
“We say this attitude of the PDP as a party is uncultured, undemocratic and selfish.
“That the action of the defence lawyer of a political party denying it’s client at the level it deed is unethical, uncivilised and makes a ridicule of Nigeria’s lawyers and it’s Judicial process and progress. IPAC condemns this in totality and calls on the NJC to investigate the lawyers or lawyers to restor hope of Nigerians on Lawyers.
“IPAC calls on the Supreme Court to take strict disciplinary measures on the action, confession,and atitude of the PDP agreeing through their Lawyer to sponsoring a wrong candidate before the Supreme Court”.
The IPAC stated further:” That the PDP should not be allowed to eat its cake and have it. The PDP should be disqualified.
“IPAC supports true democracy and calls on all Political Parties to respect and ensure internal democracy as a core practice num for Parties across lines.
“IPAC calls on the PDP to ensure the State is not plug into political unrest with it’s recent happenings/drama at the Supreme Court”.
Also reaction to the rally at the airport, Mr. Ray Ugba Murphy, a former PDP Senatorial Aspirant in Northern Senatorial condemed the carrying of a mock coffin at the airport.
Murphy, a former Special Adviser Contact and Strategy to Ayade who reacted through a press statement made available to journalists in Calabar said: “First of all, the problem between Governor Ayade and Joe is a problem within the party. They are both members within the party and not
enemies. They are citizens of the same state, same senatorial
district, members of the same profession, Ben is a lawyer and Joe is a SAN and you see them allow people carry a coffin and right Joe Agi on it, it is very sad. It is to tell you the level which governance has dropped in Cross River.
“A state were someone like Clement Isong was once governor, (Jacob)Esuene was
once governor, a place where intellectually minded and gentlemen are governors and our character has been character of good democratic behavior and suddenly we have our state being plunged into this level of madness.
“Therefore, I as Raymond Ugba Murphy, I do not think that it has reached that level. Every right thinking person should condemn completely and in totality, this whole idea of people carrying coffins in the name of politics”.
Continuing, Murphy said: “It is an inter-party matter and Joe has been exercising his rights as a citizen that he has been cheated and the law has its right to recourse to it. So in my view if this is allowed to continue, it is sliding into anarchy and this is very bad. “The people should hold the governor and his people responsible if anything happens to Joe or to anybody supporting Joe or kicking against the tyranny in Cross River state”.