By Peter Duru
MAKURDIâ€”The National Auditor of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Samuel Ortom, has declared that the party adhered strictly to the principles of fairness and due process in the selection of Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the partyâ€™s flag bearer in the forthcoming 2010 gubernatorial elections in Anambra State.
Ortom spoke against the backdrop of resentments expressed by some members of the party in the state who are insisting that they were unfairly treated by the party in coming out with Prof. Soludo as choice.
He maintained that the leadership of the party adhered to the provisions of the partyâ€™s constitution before coming out with the choice, stressing that the PDP would never contravene its principles of fairness in the election of the partyâ€™s flag bearers in any election.
According to the PDP chieftain, â€œWe are running a government of due process and rule of law and the fact remains that in the Anambra case, we adhered strictly to that.
â€œBut you will appreciate the fact that as a party that believes in the rule of law and due process, we were boxed into a corner in that case, but we had a caveat in our constitution which provides that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party has the final say on issues that concern who becomes a candidate of the party in an election,â€ he said.
Ortem stressed that the party had gone into the process of electing delegates to elect a candidate for Anambra election in 2010 but the process was thwarted as a result of court injunctions and orders from stakeholders of the party from the state.
According to him, â€œWe could not discharge this function and we ran out of time hence we were faced with the choice of either producing our candidate or forfeiting running for the seat.â€
Ortom stressed that the situation forced the party to fall back to the provisions of the Partyâ€™s constitution which vested the National Executive Committee of the Party with the final say as to who become the partyâ€™s flag bearer in a given election.
He stressed: â€œIt is also provided in our partyâ€™s constitution that the National Working Committee of the party has a constitutional right to act on behalf of the partyâ€™s NEC in the matter. That was the provision we relied on to produce our candidate instead of not providing a candidate at all; that is why we insist that due process was strictly adhered to in the process of producing our candidate for the election,â€ Ortom declared.
While debunking insinuations that the party might offer automatic tickets to its serving governors or other members of the party, the former Chairman of the PDP in Benue State maintained that no serving governor or legislator would be availed an automatic ticket.
He noted that â€œEven in Benue State, where our Governor has done so well and everyone agreed that he has done so well and should not be rivaled because we want him back in 2011, we will still go through the normal formalities of congresses to endorse him; you will agree with me that the process wll not amount to an automatic ticketâ€, the PDP National Executive said.