Cross River North controversy continues as INEC issues Jarigbe Certificate of Return

The member representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, has promised his constituents a senatorial district of their dreams devoid of personal or family dynasties.

Jarigbe stated this in a terse statement made available to reporters in Calabar shortly after INEC had issued a Certificate of Return to him in Abuja on Monday, following an Abuja Appeal Court’s judgement declaring him as the duly nominated candidate of the PDP and the rightful winner of the election and ordered the withdrawal of the one earlier issued to Dr Stephen Odey.

In its unanimous judgment on December 17, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the trial court that the primaries which produced Jarigbe were conducted with the correct and authentic list of delegates and that Hon Jarigbe, having scored the highest number of valid votes in the primary election, is the validly nominated candidate of the PDP.

The judgement comes six days after Dr Stephen Odey was sworn in by the Clerk of the Senate, Ibrahim El-Ladan, and barely two weeks after the same Commission issued a Certificate of Return to him.

Senator-Elect Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe is expected to be sworn-in on January 2021

According to Jarigbe, ‘unlike those who were coerced by their boss to run for the Cross River North bye-election, I came for the good people of Cross River North.

‘I’m motivated that they believe in me and find me worthy to reclaim the lost glory of our region. Like I have always said, Cross River North and her people remain my topmost priority.

‘Together we shall build the Cross River North of our dreams and not personal or family dynasties. We shall build reliable institutions for the benefit and prosperity of all.’

Hailing the Appeal Court judgement and subsequent issuance of Certificate of Return to Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as Senator-elect by INEC, some Cross River state PDP stakeholders have described it as a judgement of ‘equity and justice to the people of Ogoja.’

Commending the ruling, the Coordinator of Movement for the Restoration of Cross River PDP, (MFTROCR), Raymond Takom, said the turn around of events and eventual issuance of CoR to Hon Jarigbe Agom by INEC is a demonstration of the popular support he enjoys among his people and a reflection of the fight for equity and fairness the Ogoja people have been yearning for.

Takon said: ‘The Appeal Court ruling has restored total confidence in the Judiciary and their commitment to upholdin’ democratic tenets which is the voice of the people. We all want a man who has the people mandate and not a crony.

“We equally commend INEC for acting swiftly by honouring the Appeal ruling. It shows democracy is at work and we shall stop at nothing to protect the mandate to any level.’

In an emotion-laden tone, a member of the State PDP Caretaker Committee, who doesn’t want his name in print, expressed happiness that he is alive to see an Ogoja son become a senator after decades of denial by their brothers in the northern senatorial district.

He said: ‘We are very grateful to Appeal Court and INEC as well as all good people of the north who have fought this battle to this level. It is the Lord’s doing and we plead with all to join hands and end the fight.

‘We are all form one stock in old Ogoja and now is the time to queue behind Ogoja man to at least test the Senate seat as every local government in the north has their turn. So, we are waiting for the inauguration.’

According to him, now is the auspicious time for all to close ranks and move PDP forward rather dissipating energy in several court cases that would weaken the party in the long run.



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