Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State, Venatius Ikem has explained why critical party stakeholders in the state did not attend Monday’s unveiling of Lady Emana Duke Ambrose-Amawhe as the party’s running mate to Senator Sandy Onor.
Ikem appeared on Let’s Talk Nigeria, a private radio, Sparkling FM programme on Wednesday morning.
Since the unveiling of Emana, a former Channels TV broadcaster, there has been mounting criticisms from different quarters and suspicion by PDP supporters and analysts over the absence of former Governors Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke, serving and former PDP National Assembly members, etc at the unveiling.
They described their absence at the unveiling as a snub on the party leadership indicative that the choice of Emana may not be welcoming.
This may have added credence to prior protests by some youths from three local government areas in the Southern District who claimed that Emana’s choice was an imposition.
Ikem explained, “In PDP we have tried our best to democratise processes, which reason we had to invite party elders to handle the selection of the running mate.
“The selection process went late into the night last Saturday. We had invited expanded members of the party caucus, which included all former governors, members of the National Assembly in the state, former chairmen, and such stalwarts to screen the three nominees we presented.
“They all were present and took time to analyse all possible areas of conflict.
“I am happy to say that over 90 percent of members of the caucus went for Emana. Before arriving at this choice, it was way into the night of Sunday, and our Governorship candidate, Prof Sandy Onor needed to return to Abuja Monday to present the choice to national headquarters in keeping with party rules. So we had to hurry.
“Our candidate needed too to formally unveil his running mate in Calabar on Monday morning before doing so in Abuja.”
Ikem added that the elders of the party could not, therefore, attend the next morning’s unveiling due to fatigue.