There was a mild drama in Cross River state as the All Progressive Congress has submitted parallel list ahead of the March 28 Local Government polls.
Seven political parties are participating in a council election in the state.
The Chairman of Cross River State Independence Electoral Commission (CROSIEC) Dr Mike Usshie disclosed this to newsmen in Calabar on Wednesday.
He said that the election will surely hold on March 28 and listed the names of the political parties to include APC, PDP, SDP, YPP, NNPP, Labour Party and APGA.
“We have collected lists from eleven political parties before the deregistration by INEC and after the deregistration, we have just seven, including APC, PDP, SDP, YPP, NNPP, Labour Party, APGA, these are the parties that will appear in our ballot papers.
“And not just that but, essentially if you don’t fill candidates, we will not put your party, we are not bound because you must have a basis to go to court, to say you were excluded.”
Ushie said, “We issued a notice of election, we issued the time table, we commenced the long-awaited election process, we followed it item by item without skipping any which is an indication that we are ready to conduct the election come March 28th.
“The election is visible, is realisable and it will hold and we have commenced a lot of activities in preparation for the exercise. We had had meetings with political parties and stakeholders, we have gone ahead to advertise for the Adhoc staff which hasn’t been concluded.”
“We also allow parties to do their internal party politics and then give us lists of candidates which ended on the 20th January. We also closed the collection of lists from the candidate, now we are on the party nomination, we are on course, after nominations, we shall do a minor screening and the next is the validation of documents of the candidates and meeting with the political parties,” he stated.
On the submission of two lists by APC, the Chairman said it was disheartening and regrettable to observe that the party submitted two lists from two factions of the APC.
He said ‘it was an internal party problem which of course, the commission doesn’t have to go into it but as a commission, the two factions have been coming during meetings with political parties, APC always come with two Chairmen, two Secretaries, two these two that, so what the commission did, we advise them to put their house together because this action has consequences.
“As at last week, the two factions submitted the two lists at the close of the submission of names, the next day, I invited the two factions, these are the minute of the meeting (he displaced), the two factions signed the attendance, we gave them the last chance, go and harmonize your lists and bring, that couldn’t work, so we still have two lists with us.
“As a law-abiding commission, what we are doing is that each faction is coming with judgment, so our legal team is working on that and we will make a decision which we can defend in a court of law. We don’t want to make a decision because I know this chairman or not, we will take a verifiable position, our legal team is still on that.”
On the cost of form, he said, “We had issues with political parties over the cost of form, we have reduced the money for Chairmen, it was N800, 000, we have reduced it to N600, 000, for counsellor, it has been reducing from N370, 000 to N270, 000.”
The CROSIEC Chairman further said “We have commenced the procurement of materials. INEC has graciously approved and issued us voter’s register. I get worried when people said we have our own register, they can verify from INEC if CROSIEC collected register from them or not, people are entitled to their own opinion.”