Gov. Imoke ignores court order, swears in sacked PDP chairmen-elect

by Oke Efagene


Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke, may have defied the High Court ruling on the September 21 Local Government Council elections, as he went ahead to swear-in 17 chairmen, including the 3 PDP candidates whose elections were nullified and disqualified by the court.

The controversial chairmen include: Emma Ugbe –Obudu, Mike Asibe- Yala and Jeremiah Ashua Obanliku council areas.

Out of 18 councils, 17 were sworn-in excluding Bakassi chairman for constitutional reasons, based on lack of proper re-location of the displaced residents of the area and absence of a defined geographical location as provided by the constitution.

Leadership reports:

The election of the chairmen of Obanliku, Obudu and Yakurr local government area were nullified by the Calabar High for failing to file LGE0001A and LGE002 forms of their nominations before June 17, 2013, which was the deadline fixed by the State Independent Electoral Commission {CROSIEC}.

The affected chairmen were dragged to court by the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) and the National Conscience Party (NCP) which claimed that the PDP candidates breached the state Electoral Act.

The presiding judge, Justice Michael Edem upheld the prayers of the plaintiff and ruled that the PDP candidates were ineligible to contest the elections, except subsequent council polls.

After examination of the petitioned filed by the plaintiffs, the Court held that PDP did not comply with the nomination papers of the affected chairmen within the stipulated period and declared the council elections in the three local government councils null and void.

Justice Edem also dismissed objections raised by the state Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) and PDP.
Governor Imoke, who performed the swearing-in of the council chairmen did not comment on the issue, but rather advised the new council chairmen to avoid mistakes of their predecessors.

The governor said, “Your successful campaign and elections are a testament of the confidence reposed in you and the PDP by the people of Cross River that we can transform the state.

He urged them to emulate the initiatives, transparency and hard work of their predecessors to justify the mandate given to them.

He further charged them to embark on projects that would be beneficial to the people, warning that any council chairman who failed to reside within the council area would be sanctioned.

But counsel to PPA and NCP, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla said the governor violated the law by swearing-in the affected chairmen, and accused the governor of lawlessness.

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