Relief has come the way of the Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency in the House of Representatives following the decision of the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to re-examine his disqualification to contest the party primaries for the Cross River North Senatorial bye-election.
The lawmaker had on Monday appealed to National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, to reverse his disqualification to contest the primary following a petition written against him.
After hearing his appeal, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP has directed him and all those that took the PDP to court to withdraw their cases, with an assurance that “the needful would be done.”
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said: “The NWC looked through several issues particularly concerning primaries and congresses.
“The NWC considered issues concerning states where we have bye-elections. Concerning Cross River State, the decision taken by the NWC concerning the Cross River North Senatorial District election and Honourable Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, is that all cases in court should be withdrawn.
“We considered his appeal and you know that the PDP is very procedural. After the withdrawal of suit, the party will do everything that is needful. Jarigbe is not the only member of our party in Cross River state that went to court. There are other cases but because we are being conciliatory, we have directed that those who have matters in court in Cross River should go and withdraw them.”
When asked if the withdrawal of the case would pave way for the aspirant to participate in the primary election, the publicity scribe responded in the affirmative saying, “I can assure you that Honourable Jarigbe will be cleared.”
In a petition he had submitted at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja on Monday, Jarigbe had appealed to the party boss to use his office “to redress and reverse the politically motivated injustice done to me after my clearance.”
He said he had complied with the party guidelines in the purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms and had been duly screened, cleared by the party’s screening committee for the election and consequently, issued a clearance certificate.
He said: “Strangely, however, the appeal panel, ostensibly acting on a script claimed to have received a petition from one Pius Awah and on that basis purportedly disqualified me from contesting the primary election.
“May I quickly add that the ground of my purported disqualification is not only absurd but also a gross violation of both the party’s constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the primary election and a decision taken in bad faith against me.”
He pointed out that whereas going by the party’s constitution, only an aggrieved aspirant can write a petition to the appeal panel, the person that wrote against him was not an aspirant and thus, has no competence to complain about him.
Jarigbe urged the party National Chairman to uphold his clearance by the screening committee, reject and reverse “the malicious, contrived and ultra vires” appeal panel report and to direct the panel to retract the alleged defamation of his person.
The Cross River North Senatorial seat became vacant following the death of Senator Rose Oko on March 23, 2020, in a London hospital, United Kingdom.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has now fixed October 31st as the date for the bye-election.