By Chuks Okocha
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday asked all its members challenging the outcome of the screening of aspirants to withdraw their lawsuits in court and give the party the opportunity to use its internal mechanism to resolve their complaints.
This was the outcome of the NWC meeting in Abuja where the party considered several appeals, including that of Jarigbe Adam Jerigbe, and all that instituted lawsuits against the party, as it assured them that “the needful would be done”.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “The NWC looked through several issues particularly concerning primaries and congresses. The NWC considered issues concerning states where we have bye-elections. Concerning Cross River State, the decision taken by the NWC concerning the Cross River North Senatorial District election and Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, is that all cases in court should be withdrawn.
“We considered his appeal and you know that the PDP is very procedural. After the withdrawal of the suit, the party will do everything that is needful.
“Jarigbe is not the only member of our party in Cross River State that went to court. There are other cases but because we are being conciliatory, we have directed that those who have matters in court in Cross River should go and withdraw them.”
Asked if the withdrawal of the cases would pave the way for the aspirant to participate in the primary election, the party’s scribe responded in the affirmative saying: “I can assure you that Honourable Jarigbe will be cleared.”
The Cross River North Senatorial seat became vacant following the death of Senator Rose Oko on March 23, 2020 in a London hospital, United Kingdom.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed October 31st for the bye-election.
Jarigbe, a member representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency in the House of Representatives, was disqualified from participating in the primary election on the premise that he instituted a case against the PDP in court. But the lawmaker in an appeal addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, prayed the PDP to “redress and reverse the politically-motivated injustice done to me after my clearance”.
According to him, the screening committee duly cleared him after the purchase and submission of his nomination and expression of interest forms after which he was issued a clearance certificate.
“Strangely, however, the appeal panel, ostensibly acting on a script claimed to have received a petition from one Pius Awah and on that basis, purportedly disqualified me from contesting the primary election.
“May I quickly add that the ground of my purported disqualification is not only absurd but also a gross violation of both the party’s constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the primary election and a decision taken in bad faith against me,” he said in his appeal, arguing that in line with the PDP constitution, “only an aggrieved aspirant can write a petition to the appeal panel,” and Awah is not an aspirant in the election.