By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—CONTROVERSY has continued to trail the local government congresses conducted by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as chieftains of the party in Imo State, yesterday, warned that mass defection looms in the state chapter of the party if the contending issues are not addressed.
According to the chieftains of the party, unless the National Working Committee, NWC, comes up with a solution to the controversy that marred the last congress in Orlu zone, the dream of taking over power from All Progressives Congress, APC, in Imo state will not be feasible.
The aggrieved leaders, who noted that the development could lead to mass defection of party members to the ruling APC in the state, stressed that the congress in Orlu was reportedly marred by heavy shootout and snatching of result sheets with eight out of the 12 local governments in the zone unable to conclude the exercise.
Meanwhile, leaders of the party in the zone were said to have relocated to Abuja, asking the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sherif, to ensure completion of the congress in the affected eight local government areas.
Mr. Nnaemeka Ibe and Chief Christian Izuogu, in their separate reactions yesterday, fingered a serving senator from the state in the crisis.
However, a member of the House of Representatives, who would not have his name in print, said the congress in the zone and other parts of the state, on Sunday, was marred by controversy following a heavy shootout during the distribution of electoral materials.
According to him, it all started with a stakeholders meeting during which the chairman of the state caretaker committee, Sergeant Awuse, reeled out guidelines to ensure a generally-accepted congress.
Leaders and congress committees were raised in the various local governments to ensure a smooth process and prevent any attempt to hijack materials and write results.
Following this order, nomination forms were distributed and various wards asked to proceed to their areas for the congress.
However, the distribution of results sheets which was slated later in the day turned violent when it came to the turn of the 12 local governments areas of the Imo West Senatorial constituency to collect theirs.