...Caution party against self destruct, impeding implosion
By Steve Oko
Leading governorship and other aspirants of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Abia State, have warned the state leadership of the party not to take them for granted.
The aspirants also warned the party leadership to be careful not to take actions capable of consuming the party ahead of the 2023 elections.
This is coming on the heels of the controversy over the conduct of the three-man delegate congress.
The aspirants in a press conference accused “a segment of the party leadership” of an attempt to manipulate the congress in favour of ‘an anointed governorship aspirant’, warning that the action could lead to avoidable implosion of the party.
Some of the signatories to the statement include: Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe ( governorship aspirant); Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu ( governorship aspirant); former Chairman of PDP, Senator Emma Nwaka (governorship aspirant); and member representing Ukwa East and South federal constituency, Hon Uzoma Nkem Abonta (House of Representatives spirant).
Others are son of former Deputy Governor, and governorship aspirant, Enyinna Nwafor; former Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Dr. Sampson Orji ( governorship aspirant);
Chief Ncheta Omerekpe ( governorship aspirant); Dr Chima Anyaso (gubernatorial aspirant); and Secretary of PDP in the state, David Iro.
Text of the conference made available to Vanguard in Umuahia read in part:”It is no longer news that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abia State Chapter, has been grappling with self inflicted problems that could lead to a major destructive implosion.
“At the centre of the vexed issues is the obvious manipulation by a tiny segment of the State Executive Committee of the party to yield to plots at subverting the democratic process, which is geared towards achieving a predetermined goal of imposition at all levels.
“We are therefore, here in our party’s Abuja National headquarters to alert the party and the Nigerian public of this ugly development, which if not stopped could spell doom for the party ahead of the 2023 general election not only in Abia State but in the South East as a whole.
“Taking our people for granted by subverting their wish and aspiration with a blatant concoctment of what never happened is the height of impunity that we all must resist, particularly the National Working Committee (NWC) of our great party.”
The aspirants insisted that contrary to lies and claims by a segment of the party’s leadership, no three-man delegate election held in the state.
“There was not and has never been any Ward Congress to elect the 3-man Adhoc delegates in Abia State. The congress, earlier scheduled to hold on 30th April, 2022 due to a court order could not hold and was re-scheduled to hold on May 4th 2022.
“It also failed to hold on that date because of a public holiday declared in Abia State and since then none has been held, neiher has there been any communication for another congress by PDP National Headquarters.
“This can be verified vide an official letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that confirmed the last official communication between it and PDP to the effect that no congresses to elect the 3-man Ad-hoc delegates for the party primary elections has held up till today.
“We heard via rumours that there is a list of delegates flying around and in the custody of the NWC purporting it to have been a product of a congress held on 6th May 2022.
It is preposterous that what is being bandied as a list emanated from an imaginary congress conducted vide a letter of notice to the Abia State resident electoral commissioner signed by the Abia State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Allwell Asiforo Okere.
“The implication being that the functions of NEC and NWC was performed by a State Chairman of the party and NOT the National Chairman and Secretary.
“Our great party, should therefore disregard any of such list especially now that INEC has come forward to clarify that it neither received any communication from the PDP National Chairman and the National Secretary to participate nor did it monitor any such exercise as required by both the INEC Guidelines for Political Parties Section 1.2 which stipulates a mandatory 7-day notice to INEC and Section 82(5) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“The National Legal adviser, we believe, knows the implications of going ahead to use such legally unknown delegates in the primary elections and should advise the NWC accordingly, unless the party wants to enjoy the unenviable luxury of walking towards self destruction.
“Note: that Mr Asiforo Okere in writing and sending such notice, clearly overreached himself and by doing so flagrantly ran foul of the extant laws both that of the PDP and the Electoral Act. The Act provides for the channels of communication between the political parties and the INEC.
“The commission as the Electoral Act provides, relates only with the National Executives of political parties. Therefore communications for the purposes of congresses and convention must be through the National Chairman and the National Secretary. Assuming without conceding that a congress held on the 6th of May, 2022, where did the Abia State Chairman of PDP derive his powers to solely conduct a party congress and even write to invite the State Resident electoral commissioner for the same purposes?
“It will be imprudent for the NWC to be seen to have allowed its powers to be so usurped knowing the dire consequences of such action on the electoral process and the quest to enhance the fortunes of the party in the 2023 General elections.
On the way forward, the aspirants, urged the national leadership of the party to jettison three-man delegates and use only statutory delegates in conducting its primaries in Abia.
“We therefore urge the NWC of our great party to use ONLY STATUTORY ( AUTOMATIC) delegates for the forthcoming primaries to avoid a looming disaster for all our aspirants at all levels in Abia State.
“While doing this we also wish to let the NWC know that we have also heard of plans to doctor the authentic Statutory Delegate list.
“We know who the statutory delegates are and have therefore as a matter of urgency applied for the Certified True Copy of the list from the National Organizing Secretary of the party and from INEC.”