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General Election: Imoke Alleges Political Blackmail Over New REC

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 01, (THEWILL) – Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, Sunday raised the alarm over what he described as the ongoing campaign of calumny against his person by some desperate politicians in the state who, according to him, are facing imminent rejection by the people at the forthcoming general elections.

Imoke, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secreatry, Mr. Christian Ita, described an advertorial published in national dailies by a faceless group seeking the redeployment of the newly-posted Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Sylvester Okey Ezeani, for his alleged closeness to Governor Imoke as one in a litany of lies being peddled against the governor lately.

The statement dismissed the claim of Ezeani's closeness to the governor as false, absurd, nonsensical and the handiwork of depraved minds.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state that Governor Imoke has no relationship, whether filial or social with Ezeani, neither has the governor ever met the INEC Commissioner. As a matter of fact, only last week, INEC had officially written to the governor seeking an appointment for a courtesy call, during which the new Resident Commissioner would be introduced to the governor. The courtesy call is yet to take place,” the statement said.

Continuing, the statement said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River does not need to influence the posting of a “friendly” INEC Commissioner to enhance its electoral fortunes, saying it has always won elections freely and fairly, irrespective of who the INEC Commissioner was.

“As acknowledged by the faceless group, the immediate past REC in the state, Mr. Mike Igini, was not only independent of the Cross River State government, but also ensured free and fair elections in the state. It bears emphasising that Igini conducted several elections in the state which the PDP won convincingly.

“As such, Governor Imoke and the PDP in Cross River State are not bothered about who is deployed to the state as REC. As a matter of fact, PDP as the dominant party in the state that has done a lot for the people is confident of victory in the forthcoming polls should INEC decide to post a member of any opposition party to the state as REC.”

The statement maintained that while the governor is not opposed to the redeployment Ezeani from Cross River, he, however, deplores the resort to cheap blackmail by politicians in the state, saying their actions are meant to undermine the integrity of the electoral body including its chairman, Professor Atahiru Jega.

Governor Imoke therefore urged those desperately clutching at the straws to campaign for the people's votes rather than engage in needless smear campaign.