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Opposition party pulls out of Cross River council election

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State has pulled out of the May 30, 2020, local council elections in the state scheduled by the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CROSIEC).

CROSIEC had in a press statement on May 25, 2020, and signed by its Chairman, Dr. Mike Ushie, said: “Notice is hereby given to all citizens of Cross River State that the 2020 local council elections earlier scheduled to take place on March 28, 2020, shall now take place on Saturday, May 30, 2020.

“Accreditation and voting starts 8:00 a.m. on that same day and closes 3:00 p.m. to give room for collation. All movement is restricted except those on essential and election duties. Markets and shops shall remain closed within the period.”

“All voters must adhere strictly to all COVID-19 precautionary measures stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control such as wearing of face masks, washing of hands, use of hand-sanitiser and most importantly, maintaining physical distancing during the voting exercise (and) security agencies are hereby requested to maintain adequate security throughout the period. Voting would take place in all the polling stations, as no loitering would be allowed in such zones.

But the APC in a reaction through a statement by its state Chairman, Sir John Ochala, yesterday, said: “The APC, Cross River State Chapter, will not be part of the charade on Saturday.

“Processes leading to the conduct of this election have been froth with gross irregularities and deliberate subversion of basic constitutional requirements guiding the conduct of the election.

“Giving a two to three days’ notice for the conduct of an election of this magnitude is not only ridiculous but very irresponsible.”

Ochala, who further stated that the APC in the state was in court seeking to compel the state electoral body and Cross River State government to adhere strictly to the dictates of the Constitution/Acts of the National Assembly and the CROSIEC bye-laws, said that the APC would continue to seek redress in a law court until justice prevails.

He said that all APC candidates, party faithful and teeming supporters of the party should remain calm and law-abiding while they go about their lawful duties without let or hindrance.”

It would be recalled that since Governor Ben Ayade came into office five years ago, no council election has been held, as the government relied on heads of local councils running the affairs of councils in the absence of elected council chairmen and councillors.

The state government had on three or more occasions fixed local council elections, which were later rescheduled or cancelled due to one reason or the other.

In view of this, some concerned stakeholders in the state National Assembly, including opposition parties in the likes of the APC and Social Democratic Party in Nigeria (SDP) have severally kicked against the running of local councils without chairmen and councillors.

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