All may not have been heard about the Cross River North senatorial by-election which INEC, through its Collation Officer, Prof. Ameh Akoh, of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, said was won by Dr Stephen Odey, as the campaign council of Rt. Hon. Jarigbe Agom has rejected the announcement.
Prof Okoh had, Sunday morning, declared that Dr Odey, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled 129, 207 to defeat his closest rival, Barr Joe Agi of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who he said scored 19, 165 votes.
He also announced that Mr Gregory Agam of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, scored 388 while six other contestants from other political parties scored far less.
“The PDP candidate, having scored the highest number of votes cast is hereby declared the winner in line with electoral guidelines,” the Collation Officer had declared.
However, the announcement has not gone down well with Hon Jarigbe’s group .A press release signed by the Director-General Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe Campaign Council, Venatius Ikem, Esq, said read in part: “The campaign council of Rt. Hon. Jarigbe Agom requests all our well wishers and teaming supporters to remain calm and await further pronouncement from INEC headquarters Abuja.
“We are not unaware of the rumor of financial pressure that came from Government House Calabar to bear on the processes leading to, during and after the elections. At the closure of the elections it was clear from all documents made available, that INEC had not reflected the decision of the High Court with respect to the candidature of Rt. Hon. Jarigbe Agom.
“We are therefore surprised that the returning officer, unilaterally and without justification imported a name of a purported candidate of PDP as the winner of the Northern Senatorial by election of Cross River State, even when INEC had not declared anyone candidate, prior to the election.
“We are aware of a similar situation in Imo north senatorial district bye election where the issue of candidature is still in court, INEC Declared the party winner pending the determination of the court cases.
“Once again, we implore all our supporters, to remain law abiding as we are resolved to follow all legitimate processes to redress this contrived injustice, which, to us is at best, a mere ego massage.”
Recall that there were two conflicting court rulings in favour of both Dr Stephen Odey and Rt Hon Jarigbe Jarigbe as regards the PDP candidate.
While the Federal High Court in Calabar on Thursday, in a suit with number FHC/CA/CS/87/2020, presided over by Justice Simon A. Amobeda, said Dr Stephen Odey remained PDP candidate for the election, another ruling from the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in suit No. CV/77/2020, and presided over by Justice Binta Mohammed, same Thursday, declared Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as the duly elected candidate of the party.