A governorship aspirant in Cross River State, under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Barr Venatius Ikem, has denied an allegation credited to the State government that he sponsored thugs to disrupt the recently held Obudu state constituency by-election.
In a statement personally signed by him, Ikem said the allegation was a ploy by Governor Ben Ayade-led administration to have him arrested for no justifiable reason, saying that few days to the by-election, the government had made several unsuccessful attempts to arrest him but failed in the plan.
The release read in art: “my attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by some
members of the Cross River State Exco accusing me and Hon Paul Adah of importing thugs to disrupt and unleash violence during the just concluded by-election in Obudu. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this.
“At all material times, I did not and will never get involved in any violent or cult activities for the purpose of winning elections. I remain fully committed to the ideals of democracy, freedom of expression and the right to freedom of association.
“The action of the State Exco by addressing a press conference was designed simply to distort the facts of the just concluded bye-elections and give credence to the desperate and unfortunate plot by the state governor to have me arrested at all cost and for no just cause.
“It is public knowledge that the government of Sen Ayade, during the week of the bye-election, made several efforts to obtain a warrant for my arrest without success. Two ex parte applications, made to a magistrate court by the State Attorney General within one week, were all rejected. An application/request for my arrest made to the Commissioner of Police Cross River State during the period was equally turned down.”
Ikem said “the current accusation levelled against my person by some members of the State Exco, led by the Attorney General and the Commissioner for Information, through their so called world press conference, is simply part of the desperate attempts by the state government to find a reason and a justification for my arrest. The Exco members are simply doing the bidding of their master, the Governor.
“It is on record that several attempts have been made on my life since the PDP primaries in 2014 and the period following my defection to the APC and my declaration to vie for the governorship of the state. In fact, my declaration at the ward and local government were disrupted by thugs ostensibly sponsored by the state government. Unfortunately, some of the main actors fingered in the various attacks on my person and activities have since been given state government appointments.”