By Jeremiah Urowayino
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Delta State have been assured of a free contest and level playing ground for all aspirants in the 2023 general election.
Commissioner for Information in the state, Charles Aniagwu disclosed this at a news conference in Asaba as part of the resolutions reached at the stakeholders meeting on Tuesday in Asaba.
Aniagwu disclosed that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the State Party Chairman, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso urged contestants to continue to ensure they play by rules and avoid acts tantamount to undermining the existing peace in the state.
They reminded the contestants that they were all members of the same political family in the PDP and urged them to avoid acts that could bring disunity to the party.
He reiterated that the party had resolved to conduct free, fair, and credible primaries for all elective positions, stressing that there would be no imposition of any candidate.
According to him, “Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the State party Chairman Olorogun Kingsley Esiso urged contestants to play by the rules and be fair in their campaigns and to respect the fact that we have a peaceful state.
“The political class and our brothers and sisters have given us the privilege of serving them do deserve the sustenance of this peace.
“The meeting urged all persons participating in the ongoing electioneering process to as a matter of duty, responsibility, and respect for the electorate ensure that they do not engage in actions that are capable of undermining the peace that we enjoy today in the state.
“The governor and Chairman of the party also assured that there will be a level playing field for all aspirants
“As a government in Delta, we will not engage in acts that will not inspire confidence on the part of our people.
“Everybody contesting will be given a level playing field and nobody will be witch-hunted, nobody will be imposed on anybody in all the elective positions.
“They have assured that they will not be a party to the imposition of any candidate,” he said.
Aniagwu dismissed online reports on former Governor James Ibori walking out of the meeting, saying that it was false and an unprofessional report.
He said that Chief Ibori duly addressed the meeting and commended the governor and the party, subscribing to the fact that it is important for everybody to maintain the existing peace.
“Chief Ibori addressed the audience and because he had a flight to catch, he took permission from the governor to travel.
“He left having secured the permission of the governor and it is very uncharitable and unprofessional for anybody to say that he stormed out of the meeting.”
The Commissioner officially confirmed the resignation of nine Commissioners and other top government officials ahead of the 2023 general election.
Aniagwu said the officials resigned to run for various offices in the forthcoming general election, adding that their resignation was in compliance with Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
He said: “The electioneering process has begun with the release of the timetable by INEC and with the operationalization of the Electoral Act, 2022, and this calls for a whole lot of engagements.
“For us as a state, we are very much determined to observe and indeed work according to the tenets of the Electoral Act.
“More specifically, we are very much determined to give effect to Section 84(12) which provides that those who are appointees of government who intend to take part in the electioneering process starting from the party primaries will have to give way by resigning their appointments.
“On account of that, a number of members of the State Executive Council who want to pursue their political careers through some elective positions have also put in their resignations.
“I can confirm to you that no fewer than nine of the Commissioners would be taking part in the 2023 general elections and that means that nine of them will no longer be part of our meetings as members of the state executive council.
“There other persons who have put in their resignations because they are statutory delegates and that is to tell you the extent to which we are giving effect to the provision of that law.”