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25 ACN CANDIDATES HEAD FOR TRIBUNAL IN C' RIVER

By NBF News
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No fewer than 25 candidates of the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) in Cross River State have filed petitions at the election petitions tribunal sitting in Calabar, the state capital.

Giving details in an interview with Daily Sun in Calabar, the state Chairman of ACN, Cletus Obun, said the three senatorial candidates of the party in the elections including Prof. Eyo Nyong, for the south senatorial district; Mr. Patrick Iwara, central senatorial district and Mr. Patrick Agbe, Cross River North, have dragged before the tribunal the PDP candidates Prince Bassey Otu, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) and Prof. Ben Ayade for the southern, central and northern senatorial districts respectively.

He claimed that the party had an overwhelming evidence to prove their matter that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had engaged in electoral fraud contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act.

According to him, six out of the eight candidates who contested the House of Representatives election had petitioned the tribunal contesting the victory of the PDP in the election, while the party was also challenging the House of Assembly results as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He said over 70 per cent of the election results were not signed by the party agents, which according to them was an indication that something went wrong, adding, 'the fact that an agent did not sign the results contrary to the stipulation in the Electoral Act should be investigated.

'Besides, the-vote-for-money was very common in the election and that the PDP budgeted money to buy some of the opposition parties' agents,' adding that, 'funds were distributed in an unprecedented manner, votes were acquired, the secrecy of the voting was not there, the voters were not protected,' he alleged.

On the issue of their candidates being on wanted list, the state chairman said its members were still being trailed by the police on trump-up allegations by the PDP and specifically accused the security operatives of collaborating with PDP to ensure that these candidates were kept in the cooler to forestall their going to the tribunal on time.

Obun said the three party's candidates are Mr. Godwin Bessong, who contested the House of Assembly election for Boki 1 State Constituency; Mr. Eno Ofem, for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency for House of Representatives and Mrs. Esther Ayomobi, a serving member of the state House of Assembly.

'They are on the wanted list of the police under the trump-up charges from the PDP,' he claimed, pointing out that the police started hunting for the candidates when they took their petitions to the tribunal.

He called on Governor Liyel Imoke, as the chief security officer of the state, not to allow the harassment of innocent people degenerate to a communal crisis.

But reacting to the allegation, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Etim Dickson, said he was not aware if some ACN members had been declared wanted since he had no signal to that effect on his table.

Dickson, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who said he would find out, however, added that it was possible that the party was merely speculating.