By Emeka Mamah & Clifford Ndujihe
The Enugu PDP governorship primary election held on Monday, December 8, 2014 ended in crisis as the aspirants strongly disagreed with the Electoral Panel from the party’s National Secretariat over the list of delegates used for the exercise.
The disagreement forced some of the aspirants to hold parallel primaries which produced three candidates.
The governorship candidates laying claims to the PDP ticket are Senator Ayogu Eze, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Professor Onyeke O. Onyeke, all from Enugu North senatorial zone where the governorship slot had been zoned by the party.
The disagreement that led to the disintegration of the aspirants on the day of the primaries was said to have been caused by the PDP Governorship Primaries Electoral Panel for the state headed by a Bayelsa Monarch, King Asara A. Asara.
Other members of the panel were Ukpai Ukairo (secretary), Saratu Umar, Engr Alamu Adeyemi and Ikeje Asogwa.
The party had before the governorship primaries conducted the State House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial primaries using the list of delegates elected at the November 1, 2014 ward congresses in the state. Although, there were parallel primaries in some of the constituencies, the exercise was conducted with the list of authentic delegates duly certified by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Governor Sullivan Chime had assured party stakeholders at a meeting he summoned before the primaries began that only the delegates “approved by the Abuja Court” would participate in the primaries hence in most of the constituencies, the list of delegates contained in the Certified True Copy obtained from the court was used for the primaries.
But when the Governorship Electoral Panel arrived in Enugu for the primaries on Monday, the aspirants were shocked to hear the declaration by its chairman that another list of delegates were handed over to them by the National Secretariat for the governorship primaries.
Asara had on arrival in Enugu summoned all the governorship aspirants to a pre-primary briefing at the Allens Hotel, Independence Layout, Enugu. Aspirants present at the conference hall of the hotel were Senator Ayogu Eze, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Hon. Eugene Odo, Chief Anayo Onwuegbu, Chief Sam Onyishi, Mr. Chinedu Onu and Prof Onyeke O. Onyeke.
While the meeting was holding at the Allens Hotel, accreditation of delegates was in progress at the Okpara Square while those accredited were being conveyed to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium for the primaries. Majority of those present at the venue were officials of the state government and a few of the elected delegates.
When the authentic delegates arrived at the accreditation venue, gun-wielding security operatives at the entrance of Okpara Square drove them away and some of them who found their way to the accreditation table were told that their names were not on the delegates’ list.
Consequently, they relocated to Filbon Hotel, New Haven to decide on the next line of action.
Asara informed the aspirants that the panel was in the state to conduct a transparent primaries and assured them that the panel would not be biased.
However, when the aspirants asked Asara to let them see the copy of the list of delegates they intended to use for the primaries, he told them that the list of delegates given to him from the PDP National Secretariat Abuja was different from the Federal High Court-Certified True Copy, which was shown to him at the meeting by Senator Eze.
King Asara insisted that the panel would not disclose the list of delegates to the aspirants at the meeting as it had no mandate to do so before the exercise.The statement that heightened suspicion among the aspirants that the panel was not in the state to conduct a free and fair primaries.