By Okoi Obonla Obla

It is amusing that the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP and the Government of Cross River State are obsessed with not allowing the All Progressives Congress, APC from participating in the Local Government Elections in the State scheduled for 21/9/2013. The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, Patrick Otu has come under tremendous pressure from the Government of Cross River State and the PDP

not to allow APC to contest the elections.

At least an indication was given to me by Patrick Otu in a telephone chat he had with me four weeks ago, when he pointedly told me ” The Government and the PDP are not disposed to allowing APC to participate in the Local Government Elections, but we (CROSIEC) want APC to contest”.

I was stunned when Patrick Otu said this to me. I shuddered and held my breath at this startling revelations made by Patrick Otu, who was brutally frank about the pressure that was been exerting on him to compromise him so that PDP will have a field day in the elections. Why is PDP afraid of
elections? I have this impression that PDP has a morbid fear for elections.

This is why the culture of imposition of candidates in the PDP has become so prevalent so
much so that all the Chairmen and Councillors candidates of the Party for the
scheduled elections were virtually handpicked by Governor Liyel Imoke. This has
caused deep seated disaffection in the Party so much so that a lot of strong and
staunch members of the Party have vowed to get back at the Party by sabotaging it
at the elections. The PDP and the Government are aware of this hence the obsession
to employ illegal and unconstitutional and inferior methods to stop the APC by all
means. Hundreds of thousands of people in the State that have become disillusioned
by the culture of impunity in the PDP have welcomed enthusiastically the successful
merger of three political parties to form the APC in July. There is now available
to the people of the State a strong and viable platform that is to all intents and
purposes an alternative. The one party dictatorship that has been foisted on the
people of the State since 2003 is on the brink of crumbling. So APC must be stopped
by the use of fascist methods such as compelling Patrick Otu to declare APC
ineligible to participate in the elections. Even when APC filed suits challenging
its disqualification, Patrick Otu hurriedly called a press conference to
pontificate on issues were sub judice without the slightest regard for the sanctity
of the judiciary. What is the difference between Kwara State and the Cross River
State respectively in terms of the applicability of the provisions of the
Electoral Act ? What is the difference between Anambra and Ebonyi States and Cross
River State in the application of the provisions of the Electoral Act ? I asked
these questions, because the that Patrick Otu has premised his reasons for
declaring APC ineligible to participate in the local government elections on the
Electoral Act that equally applies to Kwara, Ebonyi and Anambra States . It
noteworthy that APC has not been disqualified from participating in Local
Government Elections in these States . A lot of concerned and worried people in the
State have bombarded me with these questions. I was unable to readily proffer
answers. I am equally flummoxed and flabbergasted as these people are on the
mindsets of CROSIEC and the apparachiks of the PDP and some hawks in the Government
of Cross River State. How they dare to disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of
voters in the State ,who do not believe in the garrison and jaundiced variant of
democracy of the PDP? How dare want to deny a substantial part of the voting
population ,an opportunity to exercise their right of choice or an alternative
platform? In Kwara State, the APC participated in a rerun election that was
conducted in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, conducted by the Kwara
State Independent Electoral Commission on the 1st September 2013. This was less
than 90 days after the application for the registration of APC was submitted. The
application for the registration of APC was submitted on the 28th June 2013. Also
in Ebonyi State, the local government elections scheduled for this month was
rescheduled due to the court action instituted by APC to December 2013. In Kwara
State, the local government elections previously scheduled for this month was
shifted to October 2013 to accommodate the APC. In Anambra, the local government
elections has also been shifted to accommodate all interests. So why is the
situation in Cross River State different? This is the conundrum. Let me harzard a
guess. The PDP in the State perceives the State as a conquered territory. They see
us as slaves. They look down on Cross Riverians with scorn, contempt and distain.
They are an arrogant lot. They have stolen so much money from the public till and
they feel hip. They have this air of superiority. They relish and feel good that
their impunity will persist unchallenged! One of them boasted the other day that
Cross Riverians are united in poverty so they will continue to vote for the PDP no
matter what!