By Magnus Effiong
All is not well with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state as the national secretariat, Friday, out-rightly rejected what it described as ‘forged’ list of new wards and local government executive committee members in circulation.
On late Thursday, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, had made available to newsmen a list of ward and chapter executives, dated April 27 and purportedly signed by the National Organizing Secretary of the party, Col. Austin Akobundu (rted), but the PDP leadership in Abuja said the list did not emanate from its Wadata Plaza office and therefore threatened to get perpetrators of the said list reprimanded accordingly.
Recall that the national leadership of the party had on April 26, 2020, released a list for ward and local government executive for all the 196 wards and 18 local government councils and directed the State Chairman, Ntufam Edim Inok Edim to inaugurate them in accordance with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
But, the State Chairman, Ntufam Edim, other party officials and members loyal to Governor Ben Ayade rejected the list saying it was not the true representation of congresses conducted in March 2020 and that names therein were not members of PDP.
On early Thursday, Notary Public, Okamiso Ojong Esq, principal partner of Okimaai Ojong and Co inaugurated those whose names appeared in the first list sent by the national body. The Notary Public said the exercise was done in accordance with the provisions of Section 65 of the PDP Constitution as amended in 2017.
Reacting to the said second list in circulation, the national body, through a statement issued by the PDP National Organizing Secretary, Akobundu, dated May 1, 2020 and tilted ‘Disclaimer,’ said it had not sent any other list/document to Cross River state other than the initial list with Ref Number: PDP/DOM/GF.V/Vol.2/20-387B.”
It reads in part: “While we do not want to join issues with the authors of this forged document, the Directorate of Organization and Mobilization of the Peoples Democratic Party wishes to disown this forged document in its entirety and urge all our party members, stakeholders and party faithful to discountenance it.
“We stand by the initial authentic list of the Ward and Local Government executives for all the 196 wards and 18 LGAs of Cross River State as contained in the attached lists of names of Ward and LGA Exco members approved by the National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party, which was done after giving careful consideration to the reports of the Electoral Committee and the Appeal Panel.”
Further discountenancing the second list, the party said: “For the avoidance of doubt, this document in circulation on the social media is forged, as our document has more than ten distinguishing features, which are completely absent in the forged circulating version. Besides, the party’s original document has page numbers for control purposes as in (1 of 217). The forged document does not.”
It disclosed that while the “original party document has reference number as: PDP/DOM/GF.V/Vol.2/20-387B (B Stands For Bulk, since all States get the same letter with same Reference Number), the forged document has PDP/DOM/GF.V/Vol.2/20-377B; (387B NOT 377B).
“In the arrangements of Local Government Areas: the Original Party Document begins with OBUBRA LGA and OSOPANG II Ward, while the forged document begins with Abi LGA and ITIGIDI Ward,” it maintained, and explained that other security features will not be disclosed for forensic purposes.
“This despicable act will be properly investigated and the perpetrators reprimanded,” the statement stated.
The development may have deepened the face-off between the National Assembly members, stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) from Cross River state in one hand and Gov Ben Ayade plus the State PDP executive on the other hand.