Chairman, Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC, Patrick Otu, has reacted swiftly to an allegation contained in an online publication that he was being pressurized by the PDP and the Cross Rover State Government to exclude the All Progressive Congress, APC, from the local council polls in the state scheduled for Saturday, September 12, 2013.
In the report, an APC chieftain in the state is reported to have alleged that, the CROSIEC helmsman revealed that though CROSIEC wants the APC to contest the election, “PDP is averse to that”. The report went on to say that Out urged the APC “to write to CROSIEC to extend the time for the election, with the rider that, if such a letter is received, CROSIEC “would surely extend the time”. Particularly, the report further said that it was on the strength of the foregoing that the Minority Leader in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Alex Irek, “wrote a letter to the National Secretary of APC, Tijani Musa Tsimah, impressing on him the need for the party to write CROSIEC”
The letter from APC to CROSIEC, dated August, 23, 2013, is specifically said to have requested for “extension of time for the council polls in the state by three months in view of the registration of APC on July 31, 2013, by the INEC, to enable APC commence processes to nominate its candidates for election”.
Furthermore, two court cases, one in the High Court, Calabar and another in the Federal High Court, also in Calabar, are challenging the decision of CROSIEC to bar APC from contesting the election.
Responding to the report and the allegations leveled against him, the CROSIEC boss told calitown.com this morning that he was “surprised at the vaulting ambition of those behind the malicious publication” and considered the report as “an allegation that is unfounded”. While he was clear on his decision “not to join issues with those behind the publication”, he was however quick to point out that, “so that records are set straight, it became necessary to say that his “commitment to conducting a credible election will suffer no distractions”.
Otu went on to say that, “nobody as experienced and knowledgeable in character and learning will condescend to such a level as alleged. He was quick to advise that “…attempts at character assassination are not in the best interest of the people behind the report”.
On the LG polls to be conducted this Saturday, September 21, 2013, Otu informed that his organization was ready to deliver a credible election where “every vote will count”. He therefore urged Cross Riverians to conduct themselves peacefully and be law abiding at such a critical period.
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