May 7, 2022

Panel upholds Anambra National Assembly primary elections

Akin Fadeyi Foundation kicks off ‘What Women Can Do’ competition

….  Calls for sanction of Administrative Secretary

By Lawani Mikairu

The three-man ad-hoc Ward Congresses Electoral Appeal Panel set up by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to look into the Anambra State’s National Assembly Primary has upheld the election held on May 1, 2022.

The panel composed of Dr. Alfred Isename; Chairman, Alhaji Rukkayat Ibrahim, Secretary and Dr. Leonard Ananomo as member also called for sanction of Hon. Casmir Ajulu, the Administrative Secretary of PDP in Anambra State, saying he was not neutral in the entire exercise, contrary to the dictate of his office.

A document jointly signed by the trio and addressed to the NWC of PDP in Abuja, dated May 6, 2022 , insisted that the National Assembly primary elections in the state went ahead as planned.

The panel in its findings stated that the major crux of the appellants’ petition was that the three ad-hoc delegates election did not take place because the stakeholders could not sight the original sheets.

But, noted that after it perused the constitution of the PDP (2017 as amended) and the party’s Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections, found no where it was stated that non-availability or non-sighting of the original result sheet by stakeholders at the state secretariat of the party was a ground for obstruction or cancellation of a validly scheduled primary election of PDP.

The panel stated that in the course of oral presentation by Ajulu, it discovered that the administrative secretary of the party did not carry the National Organising Secretary or Director of Organisation of PDP along throughout the of the crisis in the state.

The panel also maintained that Ajulu had no powers to cancel a primary election validly scheduled by the National Working Committee, which he attempted to do through his conduct.

Besides, the party stated that it was not the duty of the administrative secretary to demand sighting of electoral materials, rather, he was expected to assist the electoral officers as deemed necessary.

The panel further expressed surprise that the administrative secretary was the main appellant in the mater, contesting the conduct or otherwise of the three ad-hoc delegates election when he was supposed to be neutrality in the entire exercise.

The report lamented that the embarrassing situation that took place on May 1, 2022 was premeditated, as party stakeholders, ” rather than remained at their various wards to receive the electoral officials and participate in the congresses congregated at the party secretariat in Awka.”

In its report, it also condemned the actions of some senior party members, warning that if not quickly nipped in the bud, it may derail the party in the state.

The report added: “The party members that gathered at the State Secretariat, rather than their wards cannot prove that congresses did not take place when they made themselves unavailable for the congresses, as those who contended that congresses were held gave evidences to prove same.

“There are ample evidences that the three ad-hoc – ward congresses took place in Anambra State on 1st of May, 2022.

“Having painstakingly read through the petitions, listened to oral presentations of all the contending parties, it is the verdict of this Appeal panel to uphold the Report of Jubril Ahmed-led three Ad-Hoc Ward Congresses Electoral Committee that conducted the congresses that took place in 326 Wards in Anambra State on 1st May, 2022.”

In its recommendation, the three-man panel advised the NWC of PDP to review the activities of the party’s administrative secretary, while also urging the NWC to engage professional mediators and conciliators to help reset the Anambra State Chapter of the PDP.