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A group under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Obubra Local Government in Cross Rivers State has petitioned the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, the party and other organs of the party to immediately prevail on Hon. Friday Gabriel Okpechi, a PDP candidate in the Obubra/Etung Federal House of Representatives in the forthcoming general election to resign, or the party will risk no representation in the green chamber of the National Assembly.
The request was contained in the statement titled ‘Request for the Immediate Resignation of Mr. Friday Gabriel Okpechi as PDP Candidate in the Obubra/Etung Federal House of Representatives Election’, and made available THISDAY.
The statement dated January 24th, 2023 directed to the National Chairman of PDP and signed by 10 executive committee members of the group stated: “We have chosen to make our letter public for your urgent attention. Our collective objective is to use this medium to warn you and the party of the impending danger and doom our great party will face in the coming general elections if Mr. Friday Gabriel Okpechi is allowed to represent the party in the election slated for the 25th day of February 2023.”
Okpechi is currently standing trial in Chief Magistrate Court, Obubra for having and making use of a forged First School Leaving Certificate and this is one of the documents he presented for clearance to contest in the concluded party primaries which he won.
According to the statement, “Okpechi had during his clearance for the party primaries that held on 23rd May 2022 allegedly presented forged documents, and also allegedly lied on oath, and these allegations, if proven to be true, are infringements on the provisions of the Electoral Act,2022 which if not duly investigated may cost our party the seat of the member representative Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency in the coming election.
“As we speak, all three documents he submitted to our party for his clearance have been taken up by the opposition party who have already charged him to court for forgery and perjury. The certified true copies of documents as submitted to our party have all been applied for and received by the lawyers of the APC from INEC. The documents are widely shared on social media. This is no longer a hidden matter; it is public knowledge,” James Abeng, the leader of the group stated.
“While his certificate shows that he sat for the First School Leaving Certificate in 1988, a confirmation letter and list of candidates that sat for the exams from his locality by the Ministry of Education Cross River State clearly show that he did not sit for that exam that year, the previous year or the year after,1987,1988 or 1989. We enclose a copy of the letter and list of candidates that sat for the exam between 1987 and 1989.”
Florence Okpechi, a member of the Group said, “We are also in receipt of the documents he submitted to the independent national electoral commission (INEC) in 2015 when he contested and won the election as a member of the Cross River State House of Assembly and are shocked to see that it was this same alleged forged first school leaving certificate and affidavit of birth he used.”
Ms. Okpechi said, “These allegations of facts are not hidden and the opposition parties are patiently waiting for our great party to field Mr. Friday Okpechi in the forthcoming election so he can be disqualified by the court to the detriment of the party, should our party win the election. We have also been in attendance during the hearing of the matter in court. We are not confident from all we have heard during the cross-examinations that the future bodes well for our party.
We have worked too hard to lose out at this point and therefore urge you to intervene immediately and ensure that a solution permissible under the new electoral act is provided otherwise our people would have lost out even before a ballot is cast,” she said.