By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—After four previous cancellations over disagreement among major stakeholders, the rescheduled Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ward congresses in Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State, weekend, also ended in a deadlock.
Okpokwu is the home town of Mr. Abba Moro, Minister of Interior, and Mr. Agbo Emmanuel, state Chairman of PDP, who had been locked in a supremacy battle with the Minister and other bigwigs of the party in the area.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the crisis rocking Okpokwu PDP stemmed from the state chairman of the party’s insistence that only 600 party members from each ward would be allowed to vote at the party’s aborted congresses contrary to PDP guidelines, which allow all card-carrying members of the party to exercise their franchise in the process.
The decision sparked angry reactions from leading members of the party in the area, including Moro, Juliana Obeta, George Okoh, Obande Obeya, Theresa Ikwue, current and past lawmakers and other notable politicians from the area, who resisted the plot and vowed that the party guidelines must be followed to the letter.
The development forced another cancellation of the congresses after several hours of negotiations and persuasions, when it became obvious that the state party chairman was not ready to play by the party’s rules and allow a free and fair congress in the area.
Meanwhile, when it became obvious that parties were not ready to shift ground, all the materials meant for the conduct of the exercise were lodged for safekeeping at the Okpoga Police Divisional Headquarters.
When contacted on the development, Moro said: “You can see that PDP members in Okpokwu council trooped out in their numbers to exercise their franchise but some persons were determined not to allow them do so. Is that fair? Is that the meaning of democracy?”