From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and members of the State Working Committee (SWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are in sharp disagreement over the election of three-man delegates that will elect party candidates in the forthcoming party primaries.
The delegates election which was earlier postponed to Tuesday last week as a result of a court order, could not also hold as a result of last week’s public holidays.
However, party and SWC members said they were alarmed when Ikpeazu was seen in a video addressing some party members at Obingwa Ward 7 claiming that delegates had been elected.
But contrary to the governor’s position, the state secretary of Abia PDP, Mr. David Iro told journalists in Umuahia at the weekend that the election of the three-man delegates was yet to take place in Abia.
“There has never been any delegates conference in the PDP any where in Abia. I can state it categorically that it has not been done,” he said.
Iro, who is a legal practitioner, noted that even the basic preparations for the conduct of the delegates conference, which is fundamental to the conduct of party primaries, has not been done, adding that “a lot of party members are not aware of the true position of things hence the need for him to make the clarifications..
He stated that any person claiming that the delegates conference has been conducted in Abia was only engaging in “political speculation and rumours” as the SWC was not aware and never participated in such exercise.
Explainnig the reason behind the postponement of the delegates conference, the Abia PDP Secretary said that the monitoring team sent from Abuja by the party’s national secretariat was not formally introduced to the SWC and had to return to their base due to the public holidays.
He further stated that both INEC and the police that were supposed to be involved in the exercise could not come due to the public holidays while the list of persons that purchased forms for the delegates election was not made available to the party.
Iro alluded to moves in some quarters to circumvent the election of three-man delegates in order to impose candidates on the party, warning that such action would spell doom for the ruling party in 2023 general election.
“The NWC of our party cannot endorse impunity in Abia because if the right thing is not done, PDP will pay a great price (at the 2023 poll)’, adding that Abia has been a victim of impunity and imposition which has made the state not to move forward like others.
According to him, the right thing to be done is for the delegates conference to be transparent without any manipulation, adding that the delegates conference is a field exercise which cannot be held in secret or in government house.
The Abia PDP scribe acknowledged that the issue of the election of three-man delegates “is already dividing the party” and urged all aspirants and the entire party faithful “to resist impunity and speak against it”.
Police last week sealed off the PDP Secretariat in Umuahia, a move many believed was as a result of the crisis rocking the party in the state.