BY:Nick Nwaneri, Calabar
The Commissioner for Works in Cross River state, Mr.. Dan Osim Asu has disassociated himself from the recently conducted controversial All Progressive Congress (APC) primary of the Boki\Ikom Federal Constituency by the party in Ikom.
Asu who is frontline aspirant in there said if an urgent apology was not tendered to him he will seek legal redress.
The primary was earlier scheduled for Friday last week but could not hold and was rescheduled for Saturday yet it could not hold due to protest by the aspirants over the issue of the delegates list and consensus.
Worried by this development, the Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang in a release said, “arising from the security breach that disrupted Saturday’s Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency Primary Election of the Party, and the aftermath of the meeting with aspirants and His Excellency Sen Prof Ben Ayade towards consensus building; pursuant to the need to comply with S.84 (9) (10) of the electoral act 2022. The Party has directed that primary election has been rescheduled for May 30, 2022 at Ikom Council hall”.
At the meeting with the governor, Asu a one time lawmaker in the state said the governor announced Victor Abang (AKA Mature) as the consensus candidate and he did not say anything even though “there was a protest which Edward Ogon said he was not part of and according to the law if there is no consensus everyone will go to the field. They went to Ikom and wrote something like the result. I was not there but in Calabar yet they wrote the result and put my name there and votes allocated to me. I am extremely angry and bitter about it. Not for a person of my reputation and standing.
“I don’t care how they did it but my grouse is how come I was not there and votes were allocated to me. I reject it in totality. I did not participate in the process; I was not there but in Calabar when it was done. I feel embarrassed that my name was there on the ballot. I reject it. How can you shave a man’s hair in his absence? I have to present my skull for my hair to be shaved. So I reject it in totality and if an apology is not tendered to me I will seek a redress for my fundamental human right. I cannot be conscripted into a process where I was not there physically. I feel very bad about it and may seek a legal redress”.
Asu who is very bitter with the entire process said, “how can you say I participated and lost? There is no way anybody can put me there that I participated and lost when I was not there and my agents were not there. They allocated 24 votes to me and 84 votes to the purported winner. They should have gone ahead and did their allocation or affirmation without putting my name. The governor mentioned him as the consensus candidate and this is somebody who had purportedly stepped down for me on Saturday. I kept quiet and accepted the consensus arrangement by the governor in good faith. I came back to my house in Calabar and kept quiet.
“They should have gone ahead to do their affirmation without putting my name and embarrassing me and since I was not there my name should not have appeared on the result sheet. It’s vote allocation and will not accept my name to be used that way”.
Summary of the APC result sheet as signed by the Chairman of the APC Primary election committee, Mr. Eddy Aati and Secretary Joseph Ohiero scored Victor Abang 84 votes and Dan Osim Asu was given 24 votes.
It will be recalled that five of the aspirants Rt. Hon Jake Otu-Enyia, Two Atu, Cletus Obun, Edward OGON and Victor Abang had on May 28 wrote to the governor saying, “the sole volatile reason for the cancellation and subsequent indefinite postponement of the primaries is the vexatious and dubious alteration of the delegates list. The ancillary reason is the real threat of physical violence. The delegates that emerged from the congresses were replaced by those who did not participate in the said congresses.
“It is the demand of the aspirants that the alterations must be corrected to reflect the true delegates as submitted by the appropriate organs of the party in this case the Ward Chairmen and Chapter Chairmen in conjunction with aspirants or their accredited representatives…Futhermore, the mandate of the committee (the Victor Ndoma-Egba led committee) should include the production of the authentic list of delegates to be used for the conduct of the primaries whenever the party is ready within the lawful time available provided that a consensus was not possible”.
Similarly Ogon wrote to the governor saying, “Your Excellency will recall that the reason why we agreed to resolve this matter today is that you promised to allow us the aspirants agree on a consensus amongst ourselves. We were surprised when you unilaterally chose Victor Abang without giving us an opportunity as agreed. Kindly note, that the Electoral Act is quite clear as to what constitutes consensus. It requires that all the aspirants must agree and sign a letter to the effect that the proposed nominee is a candidate of their choice.
“My request are as follows, that:- You call all the aspirants to choose freely; or a meeting of the Caucus of Ikom and Boki stakeholders should be convened to resolve the matter urgently.
Failing this, we go for indirect primary as stipulated by the law and the APC Constitution. Don’t allow yourself to be ambushed, Your Excellency.
I have not agreed to any concensus arrangement”.