Cross River LG Polls : How PDP Deployed PONZI-Like Gimmicks To Cashout From Aspirants

Barr. Venatius Ikem, Cross River State PDP Chairman 

With the postponement of the proposed Local government election in Cross River State from the second quarter of 2023 to October, the question of what becomes of aspirants who had bought forms from the main opposition People's Democratic Party, PDP, which incidentally was the only political party in the state selling forms for the election is dominating political discurse in the state. 

While some are expressing hope of recouping their funds, alot of people have given up saying that like a PONZI scheme, it may be near impossible for them to have a refund from the party. The inability of the party to react to the postponement and address the issue surrounding the funds paid by aspirants for intent and nomination forms for the botched polls may be sending a signal that no hope for refunds.

But did the postponement happened unexpectedly for the PDP? Going by the antecedents of most elections conducted by CROSIEC, it doesn't seem so. 

It does seems as PDP State Working Committee knew all along that the LG election would not hold as scheduled but they wanted to cash out as quickly as possible from the opportunity before it becomes too late. If that's not the case, why were they so much in a hurry to sale forms after vowing to participate in the election only if they're assured that BVAS would be deployed by CROSIEC? 


Immediately they released the Statement that would only participate if BVAS is deployed, they didn't wait for the response of the election umpire, they quickly commenced sales of forms. They kept using BVAS as a reason to motivated a lot of young people to buy forms.

 But maybe, the aspirants were not smart enough because if they were, they would have asked their State Chairman said his party would only participate in the LG polls on the condition that BVAS is used whether he had any assurances or court order mandating it deployment in the polls. 

It seems to me that, the PDP excos were not interested in the election but in making money from aspirants. All the agitations and noise around BVAS was a well planned gimmick in  hoodwinking innocent aspirants to part ways with their hard earned resources and nothing more. 

Their strategy was like a PONZI. PONZI operators always know that their scheme is not sustainable, so to convince you, they allow you make small money in the first or second investment to convince you to invest more. Most times, some people would invest all they made in their first and second attempt hoping to make more money and that would be the end of the gist. Seemingly, PDP excos knew the election would not hold and even in the unlikely event that it held, the possibility of deploying BVAS was almost next to zero. 

But to make aspirants subscribe to their PONZI-like forms selling, they created impression that section 150 (1) of the Electoral Act mandates even SIEC  to use BVAS to conduct LG polls. But the said section only said procedures for the conduct of Abuja Area council elections shall be the same as the procedures for conducting LG elections by SIECs. In section 98 of the Electoral Act, the procedures were clearly defined and there was no mention of BVAS there. But the excos never asked the aspirants to read section 98.

They were also making reference to the Ebonyi LG poll crisis were a High Court nullified the elections. They made it look like the election was nullified because Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission didn't use BVAS during the election. But that was another gimmick to persuade people to buy forms because like PONZI operators, they preferred to use half-truth to achieve their aim.

The crisis in Ebonyi was on two grounds; the decision of the State House Assembly to hurriedly amend the LG Establishment Act to reduce tenure of office for local government officials from three years to two years and the inability of the commission to publish guidelines for the election as expected by law. There was nothing about section 150 as reported by Section of the media and propagated by PDP excos and its agents in Cross River State.

The argument of those who went to court was that, even though it's within the powers of Ebonyi State Assembly to amend the law, law does not work in retrospect as the council officials that the new election was held to replace took oath of office for three and not two years. Also, they argued that it was illegal for the commission to hold election without publishing guidelines for the said election within a period of time as demanded by law. The court agreed with both issues and nullified the election.

But then, those who won the election got an order from another court mandating the Governor to swear them in and the Governor obliged. As we speak, they're in office. PDP excos also didn't tell aspirants this. 

Like PONZI, they kept hoarding the information that would have helped aspirants make informed decisions from them and only promote those that could help them make more money by selling of forms.

Will this 'PONZI' be different from others with the party refunding investment of aspirants? Only time shall tell, but for now, we can only sympathize with the innocent people especially, the young ones.

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