One person was shot on Monday at the Peoples Democratic Party secretariat in Calabar, Cross River State during a protest over the party’s decision to give automatic tickets to members of the National Assembly.
It was not clear if the person was shot by security operatives who were all over the secretariat but it was learnt that policemen were trying to control the crowd when the shot was heard.
An eyewitness, Emmanuel Luke, said the injured person, who was among the protesters, was immediately taken by another demonstrator to the hospital for treatment.
As part of the protest, 15 PDP aspirants submitted a petition through the state chapter to the national leadership, rejecting the decision to give automatic tickets to serving National Assembly members.
The aggrieved aspirants said the PDP would be heading for mass failure in the 2019 general elections if the position was maintained.
Placard-carrying youths, as well as National Assembly aspirants at the party secretariat in Calabar, said they were going to resist the decision of the party.
Some of the placards read, “We reject imposition of candidates,” “Automatic tickets will kill PDP in Cross River,” “Farewell to PDP in Cross River,” “Danger awaits Cross River PDP”, among others.
Addressing reporters, a senatorial aspirant for the Southern Senatorial District and former chairman of the party in the state, Chief Ekpo Okon, said they (other aspirants) would be forced to seek other alternatives if the decision was not reversed.
Okon, who was flanked by other National Assembly aspirants, said, “We are members of the PDP. Even the name of the party is anchored on the people and democracy and therefore we will stand firmly against it (automatic tickets). We will not blink and allow this to go on unchallenged.
“Now, the process has started. We paid our nomination forms and paid all fees required only for us to be called and told that the National Working Committee of our party has taken a position to direct that all incumbent members of the National Assembly should be returned unopposed.”
He added, “That means even if we go through the congresses, we do not stand any chance because they would send the names they have decided to send.
“It does not even end at that. They pretended as if we were going to have congress to elect ad-hoc delegates. Meanwhile, they did not do any congress anywhere in the 196 wards of Cross River State but went ahead to compile lists of delegates to support that charade. The truth of the matter is that it is unfortunate because it means that the PDP, as a party, has learnt nothing.”
National Assembly aspirants who were with Okon included Emil Inyang, Edward Ogon, Saviour Nyong, Don Claimz Enahme and Dr Godwin Amanke.