C’river North Senate Bye-election: Group Petitions Inec Chair, Alleges Staff Involvement In N100m Bribery Scandal
A Group under the aegis of Cross River League for Good Governance (CRLGG) has petitioned Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accusing its officers of involvement in N100 million bribe to compromise the forthcoming December 5, 2020 Cross River North Senatorial bye-election.
In a petition to the Acting Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) dated November 28, 2020 signed by CRLGG President, Godwin Odu and Secretary, Effiong Bassey.
The group, which introduced itself as a non-governmental organisation established to fight corruption, nepotism, injustice and unfairness stated they have “obtained unassailable evidence against some INEC staff who by their activities have resolved to rig Saturday, November 5 bye-election in favour of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group called for investigation of the following INEC staff for compromise following their suspicious activities and relationship with Peoples Democratic Party officials suspected to have been delegated by Governor Ben Ayade:
Barr. Jacob Akpong HoD, legal, Barr. Samuel Odoh (Legal department, Ukwani Uffia (Operations department and Moses Irem, HoD Training unit.
The statement in quotes:
“Sir, our men on ground in Cross River State have obtained unassailable evidence against the following INEC staff in Cross River State; namely;
“1. Barrister Jacob Akpong (HOD Legal)
2. Barrister Samuel Odoh (legal Department)
3. Ukwani Uffia (operation Department)
4. Moses Irem (HOD Training Unit)
“Our investigations and CCTV Cameras in Pearl Suit, Transcorp Hilton and Pyramid Hotel showed that these staff drove to Pearl Suite hotel in Calabar and held a meeting with the officers of Cross river state government on the 24thand 25thNovember, 2020 at night and it was agreed that 80% of the adhoc staff to be shortlisted should be from the PDP sympathisers.
“Further, Barrister Samuel went into the training hall of the adhoc staff with the aid of a PDP chieftain to look around and force our persons they perceive as not willing to support them. He summoned people to his office and said they had breached the oath and so should leave the training venue.
“In Transcorp Hilton, Ghana-must-go bags were loaded into barrister Jacob’s car for all of them to share and Moses Irem collected their own in the Pyramid Hotel. An informant told us that close N100 million (One Hundred Million Naira only) was given and that the sharing should reach the resident Electoral Commission, the administration secretary and head of operations.
“Sir, if these staff are allowed to participate in this elections then the impartiality of INEC will become a laughing stock
“We urge you to invite them and question them and you will know that they should not be in INEC.”
The Senate seat for Cross River North became vacant after the passing of Senator Rose Okoh who died in the month of March, 2020, thereby creating a lot of interest from various political parties in the State.
The public will be on the lookout to know how Nigeria's electoral umpire manages the said allegation.
While there are other political parties that fielded candidates for the same senatorial position, APC and PDP have always played out the frontline contestants.
The agelong battle between the two frontline parties have in some occasions stirred wanton violence in the state.
Therefore timely intervention of the INEC leadership might salvage the situation.