By Dirisu Yakubu & Alice Ekpang – Abuja
A youth group of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Cross Rivers state chapter, on Wednesday, besieged the party’s national secretariat, Abuja in protest against what they called the imposition of local government chairmen and vice-chairmen by the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade.
The group under the auspices of Yala Political Development Forum led by the President, Ogar Joseph Odey accused the governor of handpicking the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the local governments without resorting to the constitutional mode of conducting primary elections, adding that if valid primaries were not conducted across the state; they would be left with no option but to quit the PDP for good.
Bearing various placards with the inscriptions, “Ayade, let the people choose their leaders; “Secondus, say no to impunity; “Imposition is demonic” and “Emperor Ayade must leave Yala alone,” the group said the level of nepotism brought to the fore in the emergence of the council chairs and their deputies was unheard of in the history of the state.
Addressing newsmen, Odey listed the demands of the forum to include an outright cancellation “of that sham primary election and that a proper primary should be conducted. All aspirants should be given equal opportunity to contest and whoever emerges winner (s) shall have our full support. The party should uphold the existing zoning arrangement in the state.”
On how the new council chairs emerged, Mr. Odey said, “Governor Ayade without recourse to the people, sat down and selected his cronies undemocratically which was confirmed and reaffirmed by his returning officers.”
Receiving the protesters on behalf of the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus; national vice-chairman (North-Central) of the party, Theophilus Bakashan promised to brief Secondus on his return from “an important assignment for the party,” even as he urged the youths to remain peaceful and orderly in their conduct.