By Anayo Okoli & Eric Ugbor
UMUAHIA—PROTESTS and condemnations have continued to trail last weekend’s councillorship primary elections conducted by the Abia State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to produce the party’s candidates for the December 17 Council elections in Abia State.
Reports from across the state indicate that contrary to the party’s promise of free, transparent and fair exercise, the party is still imposing candidates, which some stakeholders and party members are now protesting.
Vanguard learned that in some areas, the primaries were conducted in the premises of party influential members instead of approved public places.
Consequently, yesterday, hundreds of PDP members from Osisioma local government Area in Abia state staged a protest at the state headquarters of the party in Umuahia where they protested the cancellation of the exercise at eighteen wards of the council.
This came as the state chairman of the party, Chief Johnson Onuigbo inaugurated a seven man member of the PDP appeal panel to look into various petitions that have arisen against the exercise conducted last week. There were complaints from many areas of the council.
The protesters from Osisioma carried placards with various inscriptions such as “release our results now; nobody should impose a candidate on us; leave our local government area alone; enough of candidate imposition in Osisioma” among others.
A former chief whip of the Abia State of House of Assembly, Hon Ikechukwu Nwabeke also condemned the cancellation of the exercise in Osisioma local government, saying that the party has no justifiable reason to cancel the primaries.
Nwabeke, a chairmanship aspirant while briefing journalists in the company of five other chairmanship aspirants accused the leadership of the party at the state level of compromising and showing glaring support for a particular candidate who has been rejected by the people.
Also a councillorship aspirant, Mr. Egbu Gospel Mbakwe who contested at ward 10 of the local government Area told journalists at the PDP Headquarters that both accreditation and conduct of the election was peaceful without any crisis in the council and wondered why the party decided to cancel the exercise.
He said “there was no crisis in Osisioma. The exercise went peacefully in the 18 wards of the council but we were surprised that the party decided to cancel the election without any reason.
“We want the Governor to instruct the party to release the results of the party primaries in Osisioma. Osisioma is not for sale. Tell some of our leaders to leave us alone and allow the wishes of the people to prevail at the Grassroots level”.
Meanwhile, the state PDP chairman chief Johnson Onuigbo while inaugurating the seven member Appeal committee headed by Barrister Ukpai Ukairo charged them to look into all the petitions and complaints and submit their report before or on Friday this week.