The Director-General of Cross River State Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Mr. Alphonsus Eba has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for issuing Certificate of Return to Hon. Jarigbe Jarigbe as winner of the Cross River North Senatorial Bye Election held on December 5, 2020.
INEC had initially issued Certificate of Return to Senator Stephen Odey and he was subsequently sworn-in the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
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However, following the judgement of the Supreme Court, the electoral body revoke the certificate from Odey and issued it to Jarigbe.
While addressing newsmen in Abuja, Eba stated that the electoral umpire did not wait for the exhaustion of the right of appeal before issuing certificate of return to Jarigbe.
Eba, who is also aspiring to be the next Chairman of Cross River State PDP, said the electoral body ought not to have issued a certificate of return to Jarigbe since the issue of jurisdiction of the court was being challenged.
According to him, internal matters of a political party are outside the jurisdiction of the Court except when a breach of the fundamental rights of a member or aspirant occurs which he noted was not the case before the court.
“There is one big man once you cross the river to the other state, Rivers State, I am sure, we call him the Governor-General of PDP.
”He is very respected and dogged governor of the state, I am sure he has some scores to settle with the governor of the state.
”In politics, I think like a man who wants the party to be united, he must see to the unity of the party because Cross River is a sovereign state like Rivers state and we expect that he should not stoke the fire in the state because he is one man whom we respect very much in PDP as our leader because he has fought a lot of battles for us.
”Recently, he was in Edo state to help us get that very big victory, so, he is highly respected. We call on him to sheathe his sword. This is not the time for settlement of scores in Cross River state”, Eba said.
On the judgement of the Supreme court, he said the apex court, in its judgement delivered on January 6, 2021 in the appeal brought before it by the PDP and Col. Austin Akobundu did not go into the merit of appeal.
He explained that the Supreme Court only dismissed the appeal on the basis of the preliminary objections raised by Hon Jarigbe, who is the first respondent in the appeal, adding that the real issue is currently before the Calabar Division of the Federal High Court.
He stated that PDP remain a strong united front in the state and that most of the decisions reached are by consensus of all members.