Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, under the aegis of the Yala Political Development Forum of Cross River State, have urged the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, to caution Governor Ben Ayade.
Members of the group made the appeal when they marched on the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday, to protest the alleged imposition of candidates in local government areas of the state.
The protesters, who are mainly chairmanship and vice-chairmanship aspirants seeking to fly the PDP flag in the coming local government council elections in the state, carried placards and chanted war songs to press home their demands.
Some of the placards read, ‘Secondus, call Ayade to order,’ ‘Cross River is not Obudu LGA,’ ‘Ayade, let the people choose their leaders,’ and ‘We say no to imposition of leaders.’
They alleged, among other things, that the governor, who hails from Obudu LGA, imposed his kinsmen as chairmen and vice-chairmen of other LGAs in the state.
Secretary of the group, Mr. Simon Okwori, said, “It has not been worse than this, that even our chief in Yala LGA would come outside to place a charm in the local government that elections will never be held as a result of imposition.
“It is very surprising that Ayade single-handedly picked and imposed some of his cronies and stooges across the state against the democratic tenets of our great party. There is a need for justice and a level playing field for all the aspirants as witnessed in the PDP primaries in the past.
“We hereby call on the leadership of our great party to adopt transparent primaries in the state to guarantee fair play and ensure the emergence of credible candidates for the party. Anything short of this is a direct invitation of anarchy, which poses a huge threat to our great party and democracy.”
The group’s President, Mr Ogar Odey, later presented a petition to the PDP National Vice-Chairman (North Central), Theophilus Bakashan, who received it on behalf of Secondus.
In response, Bakashan assured the group that the party leadership would look into their grievances and ensure justice prevails, while charging its members to shun violence and remain committed to the party.
When contacted, Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita, said, “The truth is, there was no imposition of any kind. Affirmative congresses were held across the local government areas.
“The claim that he imposed his kinsman is not only stupid but also ludicrous. Yala and Obudu, where the governor hails from, neither have linguistic nor cultural affinities.
“They speak different languages and their names are distinct from one another. So, how is it possible to bring or impose someone from Obudu? This is balderdash.”